Yesterday my daughter came home from school and absolute mess. That morning her mood predicated the outcome. Here is her story from 10/24/2014
I submit that for context. She is a sweet girl which makes her bad days stick out.
Sometimes I get frustrated by the constant negativity. Which isn't right to do but I am keeping it honest. So in the morning I was able to only say supportive things I didn't feel right before school was the time to talk about a better frame of mind...at least for me. I was a yeller, but it only has happened maybe 3-4 times since 09/2014 when I was diagnosed. When I get really down sometimes I need to stop and take inventory of how far I have come and how much my anger has subsided. How much more tenderness I have to give instead of only feel. How freely my wife and I give to our kids. These are good things.
Yesterday afternoon she came home sad. She elaborated on how hard it was for her to always be the support person (giving) and not receiving it back. She wailed about the issues of 7th grade. They are working on a 504 plan for her anxiety and depression. A teacher had sort of called her out for being "away" (Staring off) and for someone with Social Anxiety that is the last thing you do. So she felt like the teacher wasn't aware or didn't care.
These 504 plans are tough. We struggled with our Asberger's son to the point that only the Principal would speak to me. By Jr. High and HS, with classes changing, teachers simply don't pay it as much attention.
She sort of snapped at my wife (You don't do that :-)) and I won't allow my children to talk top adults that way...much less Mom so I didn't get on her as much as lecture. I talked about mindfulness, that she defines herself and she needed to figure out a way to look at the positives in her life. Not using her illness as an excuse. After a few moments of silence she asked if she was excused and went to her room.
I felt bad now. Whether my message needed to be heard or not (at that time anyway)...as usual I decided to deal with it. All the condemnation came flooding back. How could I be so insensitive? Why can't I even take my own advice? How serious is all this?
As my wife fixed dinner I went in to talk to Jordan. She isn't an overly touchy feely person...she doesn't remember how close we were when she was 3-6. She was my side kick, went everywhere with me. Once we took custody of my oldest, Bi-Polar (Manic) child Jordan faded into the background and Bianca moves out 4 years later and my wife and I immediately become pregnant...now making Jordan a "middle child"
If you read the link above you will see how much Trauma my little girl has faced. She also has PTSD and depression. So many deaths in such a short time.
As I sat on her bed last night I was flooded with how much I love her. I had written a paper that received an A in grad school. It was the story of Bianca and I, specifically the day we spent together before her and her mom disappeared without saying anything. It's long but I may post it as an entry because everything was fresh then. I had given this story to Jordan 6 months ago, she loves to write as well. She hasn't read it yet and it hit me that she was afraid of what she would see. That it would hurt her.
I told her how much I cared about her. That I had a rough 7th/8th grade and I know how real and huge the issues feel. That she knows she always comes home to a safe place after school. She opened up and just shared that she feels like she is an emotional dumping ground but if she speaks no one cares. She went on to say that what she really wants to say is "It's your life and I'm 13 and can't tell you what to do...especially when you won't listen anyway." I told her that the best thing I could think to do was just hug that person and say I don't fully understand but I care. I told her "Your and introvert" and "extroverts" won't shut up unless you tell them too...but secretly all extroverts admired introverts and extroverts stick their foot in their mouth ;-)
I asked her point blank if she had any thoughts of hurting herself. The pause was all I needed. She shared that she struggles with cutting. She only uses her fingernails now but has thought about sharper things.
I was frozen. Her and I were seeing the same therapist after my diagnosis in 9/2014. She was awesome but moved. One day she pulled me aside and said she was worried that Jordan was heading towards being a cutter. That she may also Borderline Personality with all the abandonment. It was sobering.
I just held her. I told her that I understand about cutting. That it was a way to feel the pain..which cutters know feels "therapeutic" though it isn't. We are in so much pain emotionally that we feel a release when we cut and we welcome the pain...because that's all we know. I know that all sounds weird and I am 100% sure many could explain it better. I told her we needed to talk to her therapist together Monday to sort of fill her in.
So with all that...how could I say today was better.
Because I got to just be a Dad. I love helping people and it takes my own worries off my mind. I love it. I was able to support her, (mostly) look past my own issues and help her overall mood. By after dinner she was back to her 20 yr old comedy routines...her humor is Month Python ish and often not understood among her peers.
I told her this weekend her and I were gonna head out and talk. I always find it easier with my kids to get them to open up...leave the house. There are some things I want to share with her. She is going to let me read her the story I wrote in 1995 about her sister Bianca.
I was so drained this week. More emotional that its been for awhile...but last night, going to bed, I felt a peace. Fulfillment. I drew on something my father has said many times...
"Michael, even if you never work again, just being home and supporting your wife and raising those kids makes you far more successful in my eyes"
I mean I still have dreams. I'd love to get my degree but going back to school without any income for my basic needs is an impossibility. So hopefully those that follow my story can see what disability really means to me...you don't get rich and I am not going to buy a new car...but I would pay off all my loans and go to a local Juco and work on a 2 year degree in addictions counseling. A long time ago I wanted to be an English professor but that dream is over. And that's ok.
It's time for me to move on with my life. I am fully prepared to lose my disability case for the 4th time. I've blogged extensively about that process. So either I receive disability and head back to school or I start all over in the work force...and that's just the way it is baby.
Just a little Radical Acceptance there
Would you dare to believe that you still have a reason to sing? Cause the pain you've been feeling is just the dark before the morning