It's not just me, others have noticed that the lives of so many bloggers are far from average. They are living with challenges such as serious illness, supersize families, grief, domestic violence, special needs, and these are often the impetus to start a blog. And so it was for twin mum Rebecca English who blogs at Here Come The Girls.
'Since having the twins the question I’m asked most frequently is “how do you cope?”', she says, and now Rebecca is asking other bloggers the same question. In fact she's asking several questions, and here are my answers:
1. What is it about your life which has made someone ask how do you cope?
I'm a separated lone parent of three wonderful children. One adult, one teenager with severe cerebral palsy and an undiagnosed disorder, and an 11 year old boy with asperger's syndrome. Home is Dublin, but I have no family support here as they all live in Wales. I was out of work, but now at last I have a job, although that brings its own challenges. Throw in the loss of my parents and fairly relentless health problems, and sometimes it all seems just too much for one person.
2. What is the best thing about the situation?
There's many good things, and it would be hard to name just one. Maybe all the friends and amazing people that I've met through special needs.
3. What is the hardest thing?
That varies from day to day. The biggest problem today, is the biggest problem today. It might be behaviour, lack of time, illness, tiredness, something breaking, bad news, no-one to ask or no-one to tell.
4. What gets you through the day?
You'd expect me to say coffee, children, chocolate, wine and the internet perhaps? They're my treats, my rewards. What gets me through the days is pig-headed stubbornness and determination. I am not about to let any challenge ruin my life.
Then there's the great example set by my parents: My Mum, who was fit and fabulous until her final illness, and my Dad who had the energy of someone 20 years younger and never stopped being positive, even in his final days. I have a tradition to carry on, you know!
5. What would you change if you could?
I would like more awareness and tolerance for disabilities and additional needs. I want people to understand that these challenges can happen to anyone, and they should have compassion for those affected. They deserve to enjoy a fulfilling life too, and with a little help, everyone can make some contribution to society, even if it's just by smiling and making people happy.
6. What piece of advice would you give to someone finding themselves in your situation?
Never ever give up hope. Everything will pass, things can always get better and you will find help, often in unexpected places.
Written in support of the blog carnival: A Mile in my Shoes