Authored by Gwen Payne

Dr. Arnold Heller shares the following article to help you determine when you’re experiencing fatigue from caring for your special needs child in Dunwoody, Georgia, and provides a framework you can use to get yourself back on track.

How to Know When You’re Fatigued

Ask yourself these questions to help determine if you’re suffering from parental fatigue:

  • Are you always tired? Balancing your child’s needs, your work needs, and your own needs can put a lot of stress on your body and mind.
  • Are your relationships strained? Consistent stress can make you irritable and less receptive to other adults in your life. You may be less interested in spending time with friends and family or even your romantic partner.
  • Has your parenting suffered? Fatigue can make it difficult to discipline or have fun with your special needs child because you only have energy left for basic tasks.
  • Has your child’s behavior worsened? Your child’s behavior may be changing for the worse if they feel ignored, bored, or frustrated with your lack of energy and enthusiasm or because of inconsistent discipline.

Find a Way to Care for Yourself

Once you’ve determined that you’re experiencing fatigue, you need to find a way to address that fatigue and get back on track for the benefit of your child and yourself. This may involve getting extra help for caregiver duties, such as hiring a babysitter who’s experienced and qualified to work with special needs children, asking family for help, or seeing if your partner can take on a greater share of responsibility for a while. Consider seeing a therapist, so you have a healthy outlet to express your feelings and assess your mental health. Also, explore organizations that may be able to help.

Don’t Neglect Your Personal Goals

Parenting is a full-time job, and caring for a child with special needs is particularly challenging. However, neglecting your own ambitions can cause you to become depressed or resentful over time, which can impact your focus and ability to be an effective caregiver. Look for a way to keep working on your own life goals and balance this effort with the time you spend parenting.

If one of your personal goals is starting a business, consider creating a limited liability company (LLC), which can yield certain benefits related to tax obligations and your levels of personal liability. Be sure to follow the rules for creating a Georgia LLC.

Self-Care and Potentially Negative Outcomes

As you embark on your self-care journey to combat fatigue, be aware of potentially negative consequences. While focusing on your own issues, you may overlook a partner’s lack of contributions, or inversely, place too much stress on them. Or you may be asking your friends and loved ones for too much, placing financial or emotional strain on these relationships. Finally, make sure you aren’t glossing over deeper issues, since anxiety and depression often require professional intervention to treat.

Stay in Touch With How You Feel

By checking yourself for signs of fatigue and being proactive, you can continue to create a great life for your child. Don’t hesitate to recruit professional help if you feel overwhelmed.

Explore Dr. Arnold Heller’s work to learn more about parenting, society, and the world at large.