I’ve always enjoyed writing as a sort of self-therapy. It’s why I kept random notebooks filled journal entries as a child, first started blogging as a teenager and why I returned back to writing as an adult when I first fell pregnant as a way to chart and process all of the changes to life as I knew it.
Choosing to share this online for all and sundry to read has it pros and cons. Firstly and foremost, it forces me to craft my words and communicate clearly. I love to write and knowing it could be read by someone else makes me want to create something as well written as possible. It also helps to hammer in some perspective. If I’m writing for all to read, I instinctively think about how my thoughts, feelings and experiences will come across to others and this allows me to think more rationally. I need that grounding sometimes!
But even despite all of that, there has been a lot I haven’t felt I can write about. Partly because often, it’s not my story to tell. So much of our own experiences are interlinked and intertwined with other people’s lives that it’s not an easy task to just share your own part, especially as a parent. Especially, especially as the parents of a child with SEN. (Oh, the irony of writing in the previous paragraph about wanting to write eloquently and then using ‘especially, especially’ as a sentence opener…). Add into the mix that I actively avoid confrontation at all costs (even when it’s to my detriment), there are some topics that just naturally become off-limits.
Which is all a very long-winded way of saying… I haven’t been writing much personally over the last two years. And I miss it. My blog posts have been routed in the factual: places we’ve been, activities we’ve done, the what, where and when. Sometimes, it all felt too big to write about – how do you go apart unpicking such a complicated time in our lives and put it all into a linear word format? And sometimes, in fact, a lot of the time, it felt like we were so alone and isolated in our experience that even beginning to try and explain seemed impossible. How on earth could I possibly describe our situation and how we all were feeling? It was an insurmountable task.
But, we’re starting to come out of the other side of that dark, confusing and quite frankly, horribly stressful time and having a bit of hindsight-induced perspective (and the knowledge that there is an actual light at the end of the tunnel) makes it feel a little more feasible. And as much as I couldn’t begin to describe the depths of our despair at times in the last two years, I also find it just as difficult to express the intense relief we’re feeling now as a family to be in much better circumstances.
I will definitely start to write more about our family’s journey over the last two years but for anyone out there, perhaps at the beginning of your family’s SEN realisation or if you’re in the middle of the scrappy fight for the right education provision for your child and especially if you feel you’re ridiculously alone and alienated due to differences out of your control… I see you. I was you. I am you. And I can promise: this too shall pass. It won’t always be this way. And whilst I cannot guarantee a silver bullet that will magically make everything peachy and perfect, I can hand on heart say that life will get easier. For you all. Even though it may not feel like it right now.