ESCAPE, A carer’s perspective

2013 was somewhat of a roller coaster year for me. In many ways, some fabulous experiences and memories to treasure; like succeeding in getting myself and Freya to Heathrow Airport and onto a plane (Freya’s first experience) over to Sweden and then onto a small island to meet up with my Husband and friends for one outstanding week.

Freya is a beautiful nine year old with a complex mix of diagnoses; including A.D.H.D, D.C.D (previously Dyspraxia), sensory processing difficulties and speech and language delay. So with this in mind, the trip was somewhat of a challenge, but we both rose to it!

Going back to other periods in the year, the ‘ride’ was not so enjoyable……Freya’s behaviour can be very challenging and she needs a lot of one to one support. To keep up with all that this requires, you need to be in ‘tip top’ condition, both in body and in mind. Most of the time I am fine. I tick along, keeping up with the conveyor belt of daily life, but now and again I struggle with periods of depression and anxiety. That’s when time’s become a bit tough.

One particular occasion last year, I was struggling. I turned up at the Escape office to pay for some trips we were due to go on…….That was it! One room of friendly, understanding faces (Abbey, Cathy & Sara), and it all came out.

They sat me down, with a cup of tea. They listened and talked through possible support, contacting Compass Carers on my behalf, discussing a Carer’s Assessment as well as other things I hadn’t thought about. And, OK, the depression didn’t miraculously lift, but the weight and pressure that I had been feeling, definitely decreased and enabled me to carry on and get some other support in place.

(It all sounds very over dramatic, as I reflect on what I’ve just written, but actually these times, that I’m sure will resonate with others of you, ARE very dramatic, traumatic and tough, when you’re scrabbling away in the midst of them.)

vicky and freyaSo why I’m sharing this with everyone?

Well, because I realise now that being a part of the Escape ‘family’, isn’t merely what you get from the fabulous trips, events and socials. It is as much about the other stuff…………the person at the end of the phone for advice or support; or the opportunity for a chat and a cuppa; the friendly, supportive faces of other member families/staff, who don’t bat an eyelid when your child is having a melt down; meeting and developing friendships with others who share similar experiences and overall, knowing that you are not alone.

Vicky Pearson

Meet Helen

From the moment I walked into Escape as a very anxious isolated parent, who was not able to go out or leave my child with others, it began a wonderful journey of belonging and new horizons.

Helen Smith

I learnt others were out there…. others had really bad days….. others were struggling… others felt like I did….. others had…..

Through Escape those ‘others’ became my friends, my support and my social life. My journey hasn’t been easy but raising special children seldom is, but knowing that others were listening and helping was invaluable.

During my journey I have become stronger, which enables me to give back to Escape. Not everyone is able and we understand each individual family’s needs and capabilities. For me, whilst I am able, I will support Escape to continue to provide a very worthwhile, comforting and magical experience for all our members.

Meet Sarah, Edd, Katie & Thomas

We are Sarah, Edd, Katie and Thomas Rendell.

We live in Burnham On Sea. Katie is 10 and Thomas 7. Katie has Global Developmental delay and is under review for Autism.

Rendall Family

Our first outing with Escape was to bowling on 15th April 2010. I decided that we should join Escape as it was getting harder every year to find suitable social activities for Katie to be involved in and I did not like taking her places and people staring at her. We were members for 7 months before that but it took me that long to pluck up the courage to go to an event. The encouragement I needed came from Abbey who phoned me one day noticing that we had been members for a while but she had never seen us at any events. Abbey kindly came to visit me at home. It was lovely to hear all about the great activities Escape offered and the next one was bowling and it helped because Abbey said she would be there so at least I would know one person. On the drive there I was really worried as i did not know what to expect.

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