Growing up, I heard a constant message of 'almost-but-not-quite'. From school to theatre to home, every effort I made failed to meet peoples expectations. My best wasn't good enough.
I developed a very clear understanding of myself as a perpetual slacker/failure/second best. Every aspect of my life was goverened by the assumption that I needed to do *more*. This was reenforced in my adult life by my (ex) husbands treatment of me, the continuous setbacks to any life planning I tried to do, and the living arrangements for my kids.
With the arrival of Mirriam, and the reality of her disabilities, the increased strain on my life has only served to emphasise my idea of myself as incapable of functioning like a real adult. I woke up each morning convinced that no one else would be crying daily, no one else would be subsisting off of McDonalds and tv dinners. I was sure that there were parents out there who could do all the things Miri needed, and I was just to lazy.
So I'm finding it difficult to reconcile my self perception, with the one I hear on a daily basis now. From family, from friends, from general aquantances, to professionals, the general thread is that I'm "coping with things that would make a lesser mortal break". There is a part of my brain that says "No sh*t, idiot. 4 years with a disabled kid with minimal support, plus divorce and moving and new jobs and crisii galore? Heck yeah everyone else would go nuts."... but the majority of my head is convinced that somehow I should be able to juggle 24/7 care and housekeeping and secretarial duties, and family advocacy, and and and and... I've convinced myself that even Rosanne would be a better housekeeper, more stable mother, more loving wife, better girlfriend, than I am.
So the question now is, how to restructure my thinking of myself. Unfortunatly, at this point I am running on negative fuel, and my ability to function is severly impared. Hopefuly some urgent phonecalls in the right places will help. I want more than anything to avoid foster care placement for Miri, but my needs are critical, else I will be unable to care for her. Which, as you might guess, doesn't do anything to undermine my self image as Failure Parent.
There are parent support groups around, although I've been relucatnt to attend. One, because Miri remains undiagnosed, so finding the appropriate support group is problematic. Two, I am afraid of attending and having my failure image supported, by being surrounded by parents who *aren't* falling apart. Although I know this is unrealistic, it still shackles me.