When “Sad Monster” Attacks

ol sorrowsToday at “Faith and Family Live” an EM named Christine Robinson wrote of her special-needs son, Nathan, who has RAD (reactive-attachment disorder). They’ve had him since he was fifteen months of age, and recently she was told their son may never improve.

She wrote a heartfelt post about her “deep sadness,” a sadness to which many EMs in difficult adoption transitions can relate. Will he always resist my efforts to be affectionate? Will she always be such a non-stop ball of chaotic resistance?

And (here’s the real point) how am I going to survive it? Let me reiterate something I said to Christine: “You are a good mom. You are also feeling overwhelmed. Remember both things can be true at the same time.”

As you seek answers and solutions, be sure that you are tending to your own needs as you tend to those of the rest of your family. I often send up a little SOS to “Our Lady of Sorrows” (left). If you can’t have someone watch your child, call in reinforcements to fill in the other areas: cooking, cleaning, laundry. Even if you have to hire someone, do it.

Yes, you could just let the laundry go … but once you get down to the last pair of socks, you will simply chide yourself for not being a good enough homemaker. Instead, find solutions to give your family and yourselfthe sense of order and structure a happy family needs.

I’ve found a direct correlation between my low moods and the condition of my house. Not sure which is the cause and which is the effect (that is, if the depression makes it hard to clean, or if the dirt summons up the “sad monster”). I DO know that — whatever else is going on in my life — if the kitchen is clean and the floor is vacuumed, everything else seems manageable.

Your “basic minimum standard” may be different (an empty laundry hamper, dinner in the crock). Whatever it is, make sure it’s done!Then sit yourself down, pour yourself a soothing cup of tea, and read a story to your favorite little ball of energy. (Or if he won’t sit still, put on some silly music and dance!)