In this webinar presentation, Missy Longman discusses what it is like to be a caregiver of a child with a disability, the benefits of engaging in self-care as a caregiver, and some forms of self-care which caregivers can engage in to improve their wellbeing.
Missy found out early in her daughter Sienna’s life that she would need open-heart surgery, and after the surgery, a geneticist told Missy that Sienna had Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS). Missy discusses the grief that she and her husband experienced after they got this diagnosis, and the lack of support which existed for parents to deal with post-diagnosis emotions. Eventually, Missy began to notice physical symptoms manifesting out of her stress, but did not initially notice the connection – what she thought was a heart attack was actually a panic attack.
At this point, Missy realized she needed to care for her mental health. She was not a candidate for any mental health medications, so she changed some of her habits. She dropped alcohol and caffeine, started working out, began meditating, and worked on building better sleeping and eating habits. These changes, along with therapy, helped Missy to understand what led to her panic attack, and how to prevent future ones. She refers to this process of self-care as “building your ‘core.’” In physical terms, core strength is the center of our balance and strength for handling complex movements; in mental health, the core is what gives stability to our wellbeing in the face of complex scenarios.
Self-Care Strategies for Families with Children with Disabilities
Initial Air Date: Jan 9, 2019