PLC's Unite....Blog Post 1.
Purpose of the Blog:
This blog is for those who offer love and support to others in need. From my background as a school counselor, professional therapist and from my own personal experience of having a child with major, overwhelming challenges, I realized that there is a huge need for this type of information.
With this blog, I originally wanted to reach out to other parents; those like me who struggled to stay positive while providing love and care for a child with a major challenge. But then I realized that this struggle is not just for parents, it’s for all of us, if we are lucky. What I mean by lucky is that I learned and experienced so much through my struggle that I consider myself positively blessed with luck to have had the opportunity to provide care for a son with schizo-affective disorder. This perspective came after I lost him to suicide, and then went on to help my siblings care for a mother with Alzheimer’s, and to deeply love a sister who suffered from severe alcoholism. As I write, all three of these beloved ones are no longer living. Since they are no longer here and I’m the one left standing, I came to the thought that in life, if we are lucky enough to be some of the most blessed ones, we will need to provide love and care to those around us as they struggle. The circumstances will be unique to all of us and may occur within a parenting relationship, a relationship with an aging or ill parent, partner, sibling, close friend…if we love people and we live long enough, we will see them struggle. It’s a given. While in the thick of it, we may feel that supporting and loving these other people through their challenges is our most important job, but at the same time we may feel our reserves of happiness run low and experience fatigue, negativity, hopelessness etc. This blog is to offer fresh hope and ideas for this suffering and to build community support for each other. As we see that supporting them is our most important job, we also see that it’s difficult, and we need each other.
Intro of the term: PLC
I can never find an umbrella when I really need it. I live in the Netherlands, and here, rainstorms come out of nowhere all the time. We can expect it. As a Person who Loves someone with Challenges (PLC) this blog will be one resource that you can count on when caught out in the rain of stress that sometimes sneaks up on you. Like rain in the Netherlands, we can expect that we’ll need this umbrella. Being PLC is often a very lonely place. When we are in this situation, others don’t always know what to say or how to help, even though they really want to. In my own personal struggle I looked to close friends for support. Many of my friends are actually professionals in mental health and teaching, and talking to them helped me, but not fully. While in the thick of my PLC experience, I felt a dwindling flow of hope and happiness. This sent me on a quest for written resources for help. I looked on the internet, in my old psych textbooks, and everywhere else I could think of, for answers in print. I found a huge amount of information, so much so that I felt overwhelmed instead of helped. And yet, none of the information I found was specific to my needs. Additionally, I could not find my tribe. I needed a group of people with common ground. So I dragged my struggles as a PLC with me to all of my other groups such as book club, yoga class, church, and even my local pub. I find that community always helps, and I did find solace with others at the time, but again, nobody really knew what to say and my struggles seemed to bring everyone down, including me.
Type of Information Provided by the blog:
In dealing with crushing issues that leave us feeling isolated, I think the most helpful support is human-to-human in nature. The fresh ideas, perspectives and strategies I want to share in this blog will be told in simple and conversational language, from one friend to another. The PLC that I will be speaking to does not have reserves of time or energy for excesses, so I’ll be brief as I write.
I know that there are legions of PLC’s who could use some support. I was one myself and through it I learned, grew, and have some good ideas to share. In the midst of a challenge it’s not easy to come up with healthy coping or new strategies for ourselves. We get involved in the day to day and trudge along as best we can. It is my intention here to offer support, understanding, and help build a community to work together to find ideas for optimal coping as we navigate these waters. We can’t make our challenges magically go away, but we can support each other through them.