You Can Thrive with Chronic Illness and Special Needs

Yes, you can thrive with chronic illness and special needs.

In fact, you can create a Very Happy Story no matter what challenges you’re dealing with on the home front.

Liza Blas, a mom of two, created the Very Happy Stories podcast and blog after realizing that her overwhelm was overwhelming her family. She also realized that not talking about her family’s challenges — ADHD, depression, chronic illness, anxiety, suicidal ideation — was not helpful.

“As a mom, you have a tendency to put up a protective barrier and isolate,” Blas says, often due to shame, embarrassment and fear of judgment. “But when you share your story, even with just one person, you’re helping other people bring down walls. You provide validation and community. Nothing can connect you with another person better than storytelling.”

She urges overwhelmed parents to practice self-care, which she describes as essential to gaining clarity. “You can’t tap into your intuition when you’ve got your head in the sand,” Liza says. “Trusting your gut requires you to be in the present moment.”

Also important: breaks! Navigating the unknown — an uncertain diagnosis or treatment plan or worldwide pandemic — requires mental endurance. You simply cannot sustain focus, concentration and patience indefinitely. Take breaks, and then jump back in.

In this episode, Jen, Janet & Liza discuss:
  • The power of storytelling to create connections and decreases stress
  • Parenting kids with special needs, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, sensory processing disorder and chronic illness
  • Discovering/realizing your child has special needs
  • Moving past shame, fear & denial
  • Self-care to gain clarity
  • Adapting your parenting playbook to your child
  • Finding your happiness
  • Managing grief
  • Developing mental endurance
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Very Happy Stories — Liza’s podcast & website

Let’s Talk about Our Boys: Are Your Raising a Disrupter? — Very Happy Stories episode featuring Janet & Jen

Boy Talk Blueprint — Janet’s guide to better conversations w your son!

ADHD with Ryan Wexelblatt the ADHD Dude — ON BOYS episode

Sensory Processing Disorder with Nancy Peske — ON BOYS episode

Depression and Anxiety in Boys — ON BOYS episode