The Journey of a Special Needs Father's Blog by Gary Herbert

The Journey of a Special Needs Father by Gary Herbert
JSNF Blog No One: Lewis’ 18th Birthday

JSNF Blog No 1 - Lewis’ 18th Birthday

JSNF Blog No One: Lewis’ 18th Birthday Hi all, really hope my first blog finds you safe and well in these crazy and very challenging times for us all. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay!. These are unprecedented and extremely challenging times for all of us in so many different ways. Try and be patient and understanding to others, as you never know what they might be going through.

Lewis’ Birthday weeks have always been really tough for us, with so many different emotions and thoughts going through our heads. Thought’s of all the missed milestones over the years which so many people take for granted, all the what if’s?.
Lewis 18th Birthday
Lewis 18th Birthday Lewis 18th Birthday
I wonder what Lewis would be doing for his upcoming 18th Birthday if he was ok? (Maybe having his 1st legal pint with his mates) I wonder what sort of person he would be, would he like sport like his little brother, or would he be more academically minded. Would he be driving by now?. I am however convinced that he would be a gentle, kind and compassion sole, I just think this would be his nature, but unfortunately we will never know and instead he has had a stolen childhood due to Epilepsy with countless missed milestones which so many take for granted.

Normally leading up to Lewis’ birthdays I have so many different emotions and thoughts going through my head, but this year I just felt empty and numb, I really didn’t feel anything.

It’s also not lost on me the irony of the fact that Children in Need is always so close to Lewis’ birthday, if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry!.

So the day came around, Lewis' 18th Birthday (12th Nov 2020). It should be a day of celebration, joy and happiness, but it just felt like any other day to me. I literally didn't feel anything and was just numb and hollow. Lewis did however manage three mouthfuls of his Monty the Monkey Birthday Cake which is quite an achievement for him at the moment as he has been refusing to eat orally for quite sometime now.

We were however blown away by hundreds and hundreds of really lovely Birthday messages for Lewis as well as messages of support and kindness. This really did mean so much to use and we were lost for words to be honest with the influx of love and support shown towards Lewis and our whole family.

A massive heartfelt thank you to each and everyone of you who took the time to send Lewis and us a message, it will never be forgotten.

Your messages really did help ease the pain and helped us get through a very difficult day. We are so lucky to have such an amazing family and wonderfully supportive and caring friends, and for that we will be eternally grateful, we are so lucky to have you all in ours and Lewis’ lives, thank you it really does mean everything to us.

Now that Lewis has turned 18 I feel I'm at a crossroads in my life. I can either continue to feel the way I do, unhappy, sad, empty, exhausted, and depressed to mention just a few feelings and emotions, or I can try and do something about how I feel and try and move forward in life as he moves into "Adulthood".

At present I am feeling pretty terrible on a daily basis and just try and get through each day as best I can. I really want to feel happy, at ease and content and I feel a lot of this hinges on me stopping drinking alcohol.

I'm currently stuck in a rut and drinking too much at the weekends to try and numb the pain I'm feeling about Lewis’ condition etc, but I am fully aware this is just a temporary fix and makes things 100 times worse in the long run. I currently drink too much at the weekends and then feel terrible during the week, then I do it again and feel terrible the week after and so on and so forth.. It's a vicious cycle and I really want to break free of it and try and move forward.

I know the numerous benefits of stopping drinking as I've done it twice previously for two x one year periods. I felt happier, healthier, much more productive, had much more energy, was able to think with more clarity, was able to cope better with all the demands that I faced, had more patience, I was a better husband and father during these times.
JSNF Blog No One: Lewis’ 18th Birthday
Lewis 18th Birthday Lewis 18th Birthday
I know being teetotal has so many benefits for me and I feel that as Lewis has now turned 18 it’s a milestone and a poignant moment and that I’m at that crossroads, I either carry on feeling terrible and unhappy on a daily basis, or I go teetotal and move forward with my life.

Lewis' 18th seems a good time for me to try and change my mindset and move forward again, so I’m going to try my very best to go teetotal for a month to begin with starting on Monday 16th Nov 2020 and then hopefully do another month etc etc..

I really hope I can continue to be alcohol free month on month and continue to be teetotal for the foreseeable future, as I know the positive impact it has on my physical and mental health, I just feel a better person.

I'm hoping once I start feeling all the benefits of not drinking I’ll not want to go back as I really don’t want to continue feeling as rubbish as I do now!, I’m sick of feeling this low, fed up of hating myself and the self loathing which is constantly with me at the moment.

I’m fully aware that drinking isn’t going to solve my problems, it only make matters worse in the long run and magnifies them. I just want to be me again, but realistically I know this will never be fully possible, but I'm hoping that going teetotal will help me towards a brighter future.

I just need to keep reminding myself of the below mind map which I previously produced which lists all the positives of not drinking!.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first ever blog!. I am planning on doing monthly blogs so I will update you all in a month or so's time with how my family and I are getting on.

Any support, encouragement and positive messages for my challenge of going teetotal would be extremely appreciated, and if there is anyone else out there who has managed this feat then please get in touch to help me out and advise.

Hopefully I’ll be in a slightly better place mentally and physically.

Take care and best wishes to you all.

Gary xx
JSNF Blog No One: Lewis’ 18th Birthday
JSNF Blog No 3 - Groundhog Day Lockdown

JSNF Blog No 3 - Groundhog Day Lockdown

JSNF Blog No 3 - Groundhog Day Lockdown
Hi all, hope you are all well and safe.

The past couple of months since I last wrote have been very demanding and extremely challenging for us all in the Herbert household. Trying to juggle home schooling in combination with looking after Lewis has been extremely difficult, exhausting and very stressful for us both.

It’s just not normal for children to be taught by their parents, it’s just not our role and not what we signed up for!. It must be so confusing for the children, I really feel for them. We have done the best we can in a very testing time.

The past year has, and will continue to have a massive impact on so many people’s mental health for many years to come.
Read The JSNF Blog In Full.. Blog No 3. Groundhog Day Lockdown
JSNF Blog No 2 - A Line Drawn in the Sand !

JSNF Blog No 2 - A Line Drawn in the Sand !

JSNF Blog No 2 - A Line Drawn in the Sand !
A month ago I was completely fed up of feeling as rubbish and as low as I was feeling. I’m was sick and tired of always feeling sick and tired, and the penny finally dropped!. I knew that stopping drinking at the weekends would have a positive impact on every aspect of my life, and that would enable me to start moving forward in a happier and a more positive and productive way.

I’ve spent the past month doing a lot of thinking and have spent a lot of time reflecting on my life and what I can do to try and improve things moving forward. Read The JSNF Blog No 2 In full.. Blog No 2. Draw a Line in the Sand
The Journey of a Special Needs Father by Gary Herbert

Lewis Story.. His Consultant.. Thank you Dr Hewertson

The Journey of a Special Needs Father by Gary Herbert
Very often health care professionals go under the radar and are not recognised for their amazing timeless work. We would like to put on record our experience of Lewis’ Consultant Paediatrician and give him the credit and recognition he very much deserves.

Yesterday was a sad and emotional day for us both as Lewis had his last appointment (transition) with his wonderful Consultant Paediatrician at Northampton General Hospital (NGH) Dr John Hewertson. It really is an end of an era for us, as we have been through some much whilst under his superb care.
.. His Consultant Dr Hewertson

JSNF Blog No 1 - Lewis’ 18th Birthday

The Journey of a Special Needs Father by Gary Herbert

The Journey of a Special Needs Father by Gary Herbert