I blogged about a public meltdown that Maura had. Shared how I felt. I was honest, and maybe a bit too raw about it.
In return, many people asked “If I was one of those people in the proximity of Maura’s meltdown, well, exactly what should I do to help? How can I help?”
So I blogged again, after sitting on these questions of “How can I help?” by saying “Just ask. It’s really that simple.”
There were three reactions to this.
The first type of reaction I got was that I was rude or snippy or flippant with my response. “We were just asking you what we could do, and instead, we got this post.”
I re-read my blog post, and don’t feel I was being rude. Maybe blunt? But not rude. I do apologize if I seemed rude, that was never the intent.
The second type of reaction I got was “Yes. This. Spot on. It’s just that simple. Thank you.” Oddly enough – that type of response came from other parents of children with disabilities.
Apparently, I said something that made sense to those of us who deal first-hand with the public meltdown, but seemed rude to those who witness the meltdown.
I am a bit confused by this response. Because usually, I am better at bridging that gap – at least, so I’ve been told. But maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I really sucked at it this time.
Maybe this is just something that only those of us living this lifestyle get, and that it is hard for outsiders to understand.
Except there was a third response.
Just this one. From my friend – who does not have a child with a disability, or is disabled, or works with the disabled. Just a friend. And maybe because of that friendship, she was able to see through the words I wrote to find the point I was making because she’s heard the tales I don’t tell here. Or maybe because I know this friend is the type who really listens to others, even when they aren’t being clear, who works hard to know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. But after I posted the blog, she wrote the following to me…
Thank you!! I was actually going to ask you to address this in a post, and I’m so glad you did even if I’m kicking myself for needing it spelled out. Because duh even if I were to ask the same person on different days (or at different times of day) the response would probably be different. You do an amazing job speaking to your experience, and I can’t begin to imagine the patience it requires. I appreciate it so much, I have learned so much from you. Thank you.
So maybe I did say something that made some sense to those who don’t deal with disability every day?
But where does all this leave me now?
To be honest…as much as I blog and seem to share our lives, I am the type who does not open up much. I have been working in therapy to realize that my feelings should be expressed and do matter, despite what the world has told me my whole life on so many levels. But to open up the comments and read that people think I’ve reacted rudely or badly when I’m just expressing how I feel…honestly, it makes me want to close the laptop, and walk away, and never return.
This is why I tend to shy away from offering advice, from telling people what to do. Because, funny enough, I don’t feel qualified. And obviously, from reactions to my post, many people believe I’m unqualified as well.
And there is a voice in my head going “This is why you don’t ask for help. This is why you keep things to yourself. This is why you don’t reach out.” – because I go about it the wrong way…or at least the voice in my head dubbed “Mean Phoebe” by my therapist tells me all the time.
And the honest truth is, I don’t really expect anyone to step in and offer help.
I don’t look for help. I have spent a lifetime figuring things out on my own because that’s just how I was programmed. Asking for help is interrupting someone else’s more important life.
So in retrospect, no, I am not qualified to tell you how you could help out people having public meltdowns, because I would never ask for help from strangers in a store during one. I would never expect a stranger to go out of their way for the likes of me. Which is why the few times they have, I am blown away by their kindness.
Maybe that’s what I should have said in response to the questions I got. Then no feathers would have been ruffled at least.
These are just my feelings. My thoughts. My points of view in this world, or at least, the reactions to one blog post. This is still our story I’m telling, and maybe I won’t always do a good job at it. Maybe some of you will stop reading it. That’s okay.
But I’m still allowed to tell it.