It’s no secret that raising someone living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can be super frustrating.
Caregivers not only have to deal with their loved ones with life long organic brain damage, they also
have to deal with social service systems that often times have no idea about this devastating disability.
It’s because of this that caregivers are exposed to more frustration, which if not properly expressed can
cause everything from serious health risks to probable break down of the entire family system.
In this post not only am I going to share why I am making a weekly day to vent but I will also share the benefits
and importance of venting. I am also going to share the better, more healthy way to vent and where you can do it, too.
I have just recently finished my very first Caregiver Kicks Start - a program I put together which included my e-book and a months worth of live group coaching calls with myself and other people in the Fetal Alcohol arena. It was a huge success and a great experience for me! The reason I mention this is because once we where done the coaching calls and caregivers were able to call in and share their frustrations and really VENT, they left feeling happier and more hopeful for the future.
The problem is that there are a lot of caregivers who aren’t venting. This is serious! I think it’s because sometimes the frustration is that we KNOW they have an invisible disability - but we get caught in believing they are more capable then they really are. I know!
It’s because sometimes, they can do some things “really well” and sometimes they even exceed our expectations! Because the brain is so on again-off again, we feel like we are going crazy! So, we keep it bottled up inside in fear of looking like we really are nuts!
You are fighting traditional thinking all the time – the school, your family and of course, the person living with the disability. So, any attempt you make to vent, will be met with resistance, I am sure.
I think another big reason we don’t vent is because we don’t want to scare off any remaining friends that we do have or seem like a nag to those that are supportive in your life. When I was a foster parent, I didn’t get very much time with friends to begin with, so when I did, sometimes I would focus the conversation about what they were doing. One reason I did this was because it was a good escape to talk to the “normals”. And, two – I didn’t want to feel like I was a whiner and never get invited out again.
Because I didn’t know the importance of venting, what happened to me is best explained by psychologist Jeffrey Root in Jennifer E. O’Brien’s article, Venting Therapy. Root says, “It’s kind of like water dripping on a stone, and over time that stone gets worn down.” You see, I really thought I was as solid as a rock, but even a rock can get worn down over time. I eventually had to give up fostering full time – partly because of my lack of understanding in the importance of expressing how hard fostering someone living with FASD really is.
In a WebMD post titled, “Get Well. Get Angry” it states that bottling your anger (in women) is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, clinical depression and even some cancers. Yikes! I don’t think anybody wants to sign up for any of that. So, what do we do about it? If venting is so important, how do we do it in a constructive way? How do we do it without coming off as weak or a chronic complainer? Well, I’m glad you asked.
You know, venting doesn’t have to be just a verbal dump of all your frustrations and problems. You can vent in other ways that are just as effective. Let me share a few examples -
Kick the Crap out of a Pillow
Seriously. Put the boots to it…yell, curse, even pretend it’s the school principal or a social worker that’s given you a hard time. Treat the pillow like the men did to the copy machine in OFFICE SPACE (*link includes strong language). This is a positive way to vent. If someone says they don’t feel better after doing that…then you are looking at a liar:) The only way it’s not positive, is if you attempt to do this in front of people – please don’t.
If you are creative channel that anger into creating something awesome. My sister Joanna is super creative. I knew when she was upset because she would sit in her room and do paper mache while Tori Amos blasted from her room. When I could hear that, I knew she was working things out. She swears it was effective and allowed her to empty all the issues she had kept up inside.
Walk it Out
If things with my guys became to much for me I would go for a walk as soon as I got the chance. Not only did going for a walk help calm me down, it also allowed me to brainstorm what I was going to do next, and how to handle another crazy crisis.
Enough said. Sometimes a good cry is all it takes to help you move on. Tara and I don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to movie choices, if you know what I mean, but sometimes all it takes is a good episode of Undercover Boss or The Biggest Loser and I’m a mess, I can’t help it. It’s a great tool to use in the fight against pent up anger that is for sure.
Put it on paper
I’m sure you have heard this before. That writing out what is bothering you has tons of positive effects in your daily fight for survival. You can write a letter or e-mail to yourself. Check out this link. It’s a really neat site that you can use to do just that – remind yourself from time to time how good you are feeling and why. There are lots of caregivers that write me with clever e-mail subject lines saying “This is just a vent” or “You don’t need to respond, but I just had to say…” or “I need to get this off my chest”. These caregivers don’t want me to respond – they just wanted to get it out, so to that, I say ‘sure’. If you need someone to write to, be my guest.
You see, what you find is that when you release all of the frustration and anger that’s built up, what you end of leaving is room for answers and the ability to handle intense situations that you are often left in on a daily basis while raising someone living with Fetal Alcohol.
I’m changing Wednesday to Ventday because whether we like to admit it or not, we need to make room for it. Once a week every week. By doing this not only are you setting yourself up for better health, but you’re also setting your loved one up for success by creating a more relaxed environment.
If you need a place to vent let me provide you with the following -
My e-mail is Jeff@fasdforever.com. If it’s just a vent let me know in the subject line.
My facebook FANPAGE. We just reached over 1,800 fans! Yahoo! There is tons of discussion and Caregivers just like yourself
have the opportunity to vent with people who are going through the same challenges and situations as you are. Chatting or venting with someone who actually gets it is always easier – and it’s because they really do, get it!
So, now that we know venting can be full of positives it’s important that you take the time to do it. The number one factor in making sure people living with Fetal Alcohol are successful is a stable placement and the only way that’s going to happen is to make sure YOU are stable.
So make sure to make every Wednesday your Ventday!
CALL TO ACTION:
The Call to Action is to VENT – so by all means do so in the comments section.
If you know of any other positive ways to vent by all means, share:)