Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

“What Brings You in Today?”



There is a familiarity for me in doctor visits. Even if it is a new doctor in a new location, I know what to expect: the waiting room that tries to cover the sterile feeling with soothing music and some plastic plants, the overly friendly receptionist that parrots every bit of information back to me as to not cause us both a headache down the road, and after waiting for what seems like forever, the doctor coming into the room to ask “what brings you in today?”

Usually this is a simple question to answer- a new referral is needed, someone has strep, a finger is dislocated and won’t go back in.

Sometimes, however, the answer gets much more complicated.

How do you answer that question when you are so overwhelmed with what the special needs life has thrown at you? When you feel like you are juggling a thousand balls and you know at any second every single one will drop at once and you might only be able to catch two or three.

Or you have lost so much of who you are as a person that you are unrecognizable to yourself. The person that once had big dreams and lofty goals has been replaced with someone just trying to make it through the day. If you make it through the day, you aren’t sure if you can’t make it through tomorrow or the next day. There is no place for dreams or goals in this life- this is a life of survival.

Or maybe you feel like you are failing those around you. Friends have dubbed you Supermom for your polished appearance and your resilience, but you secretly cringe when you hear those words because they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Make-up is applied to cover the bags under the eyes from being up half the night with a child that won’t sleep, even though they have school in the morning. The long blousy tops aren’t worn for fashion, rather they cover the bruises left by a child mid-meltdown.

Maybe you can’t sleep at night out of guilt for things out of your control, but you still think you should be able to change. You lay awake and pray the new therapies work quickly, the new medications to be the cure to all your problems, the new doctor to find an answer.

Honestly, I don’t know what the right answer is to the doctor’s question. All I know for me, the answer was “I am overwhelmed, burnt out, and I need some help.”


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