FASD to Caregivers is what is happening in this moment. As my journey over the last 30 years has taken me to many places, from hope to despair and back again, it is hard to say exactly what FASD is to me. At one point it was the all-encompassing changing and managing of the world around my family to ensure some level of success and positivity existed. At other times it was isolation as a family unit to keep my own sanity and (what I believed) my children’s safety – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As a caregiver, my focus has changed as the seasons in my children’s lives have changed. Thankfully, the extreme challenges of behaviours changed because I learned how to think differently about these behaviours: think brain first.
In hindsight this has always been true. The challenges I have experienced over that last 30 years were challenges until I learned what was happening and how it was being interpreted by my children. So now it is my knowledge and “wisdom”, gained through practice and supporting my children, that determines what the challenge will be. I have control over what I consider “challenging”. If I don’t have the energy to “be on” and “think differently”, then life is definitely more challenging.
Over the years – and doing some caregiving for our 400 plus individuals we have supported through the agency I work with – caregiving took on many different roles. It could be simply managing funds or being the ear that parents need to vent to or run things by. Caregiving means being there no matter what, whether it is your children or those you support, be it individuals or parents. Caregiving is loving unconditionally; riding that rollercoaster of behaviours, addictions, parenting, community and 24/7 needs, hoping that the rollercoaster has time to stop once in a while.