I Promise You

I don’t make promises lightly. A promise means that it absolutely must be. Promises are NOT made to be broken, despite what your dark thoughts tell you. And so, this is the part where I promise you:

I will hold you up if you can’t do it yourself.

I will hold your hand when you’re scared. I can’t take away the fear, but I can be the steadiness in the storm.

If a treatment doesn’t work, we will try something else. We will keep trying until we find something that makes you feel okay about waking up every morning.

If other people can come back from the very depths, you can too!! You can. You can do this. WE can do this. Please don’t give up. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP.

No matter what, I will always love you. There is nothing you can do, say, think or feel that will make me not love you.

I promise you that your demons are WRONG. They are lying, sneaky bastards, and they are lying to you. THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. They are filling your soul with hate and hurt, and they are WRONG.

I promise you that the memes that tell you that people will always leave you, will always hurt you, the ones that say that people will only hurt and hate you – they’re WRONG. I promise you that the ones that tell you that there is love in the world are RIGHT.

I promise you that we can do this. We are stronger! We can beat the hate, the fear and the anguish.

Once upon a time, you were strong enough to stand up to a tormenter. You looked at her and shouted at her to STOP. This time, you need to look inside yourself, and you need to stand up and gently say to yourself, “It’s okay. I love you.”

I promise you that I will hold you. If we have to sit in one spot all night while I hold you and rock you, I will. And in the morning, we will try again.

I promise you that you are worth whatever it takes. I promise you!!

I promise you that even if you can’t believe my words, I will keep trying. I promise.

I promise you that even if every fibre of your being tells you that I’m lying or wrong, I promise you that I will still keep fighting for you.

I promise.

What Do You Do …

When your daughter is in misery, but can’t talk about it?

She’s reaching a crisis point. I sense this because she is snapping more frequently, telling me in brief moments that she’s unhappy (which she never does), and very obviously hurting. Normally she’s the strong one who seems cheerful. She’s following the suicide Instagrammers again. (More about that later)

How do I approach this? How do I once again, for the millionth time, suggest counselling as an option? She’s so fragile, and she simply can’t fathom having to invest different emotional energy in getting better.

Yet if I don’t, I run the very real risk that she will attempt suicide.

She can’t keep this up, but I don’t think she fully understands that. She only knows a world of pain.

Back to Instagram.

I get that it’s an outlet for so many people. This is an outlet for me. We all have our coping mechanisms. I find that one to be particularly insidious and dangerous. Hell, after a half hour of looking through those posts, I’m ready to pack it in! I call it “doing depression.” It’s where you purposely engage in activities that feed the darkness. I don’t know the kids who do this, or their families and friends. I suspect, though, that not all of them have families who hate them, not all of them have lives where no one truly cares. I suspect that many are like my daughter, with families who love them so deeply, and desperately want them to be well.

Only they don’t, or won’t, see that.

Then they post memes that tell the world how “everyone just leaves me,” and “you pretended to love me and then betrayed me,” and “you have no idea that I’d die for you,” etc. In reality, no one has left them, no one has betrayed them, and they’re surrounded by love. So my daughter sees these, somehow they resonate with her, she saves them, and returns to them hour after hour, and immerses herself in this world of possibly artificial hurt.

Then of course feels more miserable than before.

This is my world today. Trying to get through, trying to show her some light today. Trying to show her that her inward-looking perspective is not necessarily always accurate.

My youngest daughter asked me last night why oldest’s day had been so bad. In fact, it hadn’t! It had been a truly fabulous day full of friends, and fun, and really neat gifts. Oldest didn’t see any of that. She saw a mistake where she beat herself up inside. She saw jealousy. She saw a challenge that she didn’t meet. She saw imperfection, and thus disaster. She saw everyone having better things to do, when in reality, more people than not wanted to be with her.

Today my world is about a rope that I am hanging onto to keep fighting. Today I’m searching for something that will tell me that we’ve got hope. I’m going to find something beautiful in today, be it her smile (on the rare occasions that it’s real), or be it some sunshine or a flower. Seriously, whatever the small things I can find today will help. Waking up with fear and concern are not excellent ways to start the day, so I will do something to be mindful and turn it in a different direction.

One hour at a time today.

It’s Christmas Eve!

Yay!!

I’ve been trying to feel it, and feeling like a failure for failing to feel it.

That changed this morning. It’s Christmas Eve!

I want to give a beautiful good morning to all the parents and loved ones of depressed people (and the depressed people themselves). I don’t have the answers this morning; every day I wake up and wish and hope that today will be the day there is a cure. Maybe, maybe. I have to keep hoping.

I want to tell you that you’re not alone. When it feels as though you don’t have any hope left, when it feels as though she’ll never get better, when it feels like it’s so hard to see him in such pain, I’d like to offer a hand to hold. I will hold your hand so that you can hold hers.

Today I will try not to let expectations of “Christmas” infringe on what my daughter feels she needs. On what I feel I need. Still, today I will try to bring some joy into our home, because today I feel strong. I’m sitting here with the Christmas lights blinking, everyone still asleep. It’s beautiful, and I want to let it be beautiful.

Truthfully, too, I’m anxious for 2014 to end. I want the fear and sadness to find their way out. They’ve overstayed their welcome.

My beautiful girl, my sweet girl deserves to have her brain to herself without the chains.

For today, I’m hoping that she can enjoy the excitement. I’m hoping that her sister can show her, remind her, that it’s the best time to be a kid. (Her sister has a unique way of taking care of her, and I’m grateful for it every day.)

If you’re grieving, I want to hold your hand. I want to tell you that I’m sorry, that I so wish you didn’t have to feel this pain. I want to wrap my arms around you and try, in some way, to bring you comfort. For you, it’s infinitely hard to be okay, especially today. I’m sorry.

If you’re worried and anxious about a loved one, I want to hold your hand. I wish I had some advice for you, and I wish I could make the fear go away. Some days I look into my daughter’s eyes and wish I could just hold her like when she was 2, and we’d read for hours, and I know she wishes it, too. I wish for you that you’re able to connect with your loved one in some way, and let them know how much you love them, and that they’ll feel it and know it, and that somehow it will make all the difference in the world. Today, I hope your love is enough, just like today, I hope my love is enough for my daughter.

Always hoping. Let this be a beautiful day, even if beauty is your favourite colour of Christmas light and that’s the only beauty you can manage. I hope you have a real hand to hold. My virtual one is here, sending love and strength however I can.

This One’s Easy

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Secret Santa.”

The question: You get to choose one gift — no price restrictions — for any person you want. The caveat? You have to give it anonymously. What gift would you give, and to whom?

Well, this one is a no-brainer. I would give my daughter the gift of freedom from depression.

I would give her the ability to live a long, full life of joy, contentment, peace, anger, frustration, sadness, wonder, curiosity and excitement – a full range of human emotions without the self-hate and darkness that drags her down. I would give her her life back.

One can dream!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/secret-santa/”>Secret Santa</a>

Welcome!

Let’s see how this goes.

This is all new to me. I’ve never thought that blogging would be something I would do. After all, who could possibly be interested in anything I had to say?

I’ve found, though, that I could really use an outlet, and I think the community might be helpful for some. You see, I am the mother of a depressed teenager. I see forums and chats, blogs and whole online worlds devoted to people living with depression. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I haven’t found quite what I’m looking for in a place where loved ones can hang out.

So, this is it.

This is my experience.

We have a lot of days where I go to bed fearful and a little (a lot) crumpled around the edges. We also have many days where we can pretend, briefly, that it’s not so bad. I look for those days, those moments, wherever I can. I realize every moment that so far, we’ve been very lucky. While she has contemplated suicide, she’s never attempted it. She gets out of bed every day, goes to school, functions well.

She hides, though. A lot. If it weren’t for the phone checks, I’d have very little clue about her struggles, because she refuses to talk about it most of the time, shuts me out whenever a sensitive topic is raised. Refuses counselling, says she’s working on it. Herself. With self-help books.

I don’t wish this on anyone, not even the girls who bullied my daughter.

One of the hardest parts of this is that we just don’t know from one day to the next, even one hour to the next, what is going on with her. She lies easily. She’s had a lot of practise. She was bullied for a long time and I had no clue (despite my micromanaging, but more on that later). She contemplated suicide long before she ever told me she was depressed. I had NO idea. For a long time she insisted she was getting better, but then I found the pictures, the ones where she said she hated herself and wanted to die. The day I found the sharp objects with the crumpled up bloody tissue was a hard one, too.

As much as I have a hard time trusting her, because of the things she hides, and because she tells me that she’s “fine,” I get why she hides. It’s agony to lay bare your pain, to admit when your brain hates you so much that you feel worthless and ashamed. It’s easier to stuff it inside. I think, too (though I don’t know for sure) that “dealing with it” in the way I think might help (counselling, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, that type of therapy), is too much for her. She’s terrified that she’d have to relive the bullying, the exclusion, the way she felt when her best friend turned on her so viciously. She blames herself.

Still, I wish she would get help. I wish we could help. I sometimes say that depression has a hearing problem. It can’t hear when people love you. It can’t hear the way people say you have the voice of an angel when you sing. It can’t hear the little sister who adores you, and the friends who look up to you. That doesn’t stop us from trying to get the message through in any way we can. We’ll keep trying. We won’t give up. I need to hope that we’re stronger than this, even though some days I truly wish I could go back to when she was first born and totally do it over, knowing better. Loving better, loving more.

For now, I’m doing what I need to do for me. I go for counselling, I’m working on trying to be more mindful so that I don’t catastrophize. I read a lot, and learn as much as I can. I try to let her know that we love her so very much, and that we will always help however we can no matter what. That nothing she could ever think or do would scare us into not loving her. That we’re proud of her. That it’s not her fault.

Friends and family don’t know, for the most part. If it were up to me, I’d shout it from the rooftops, because for me, it’s easier to manage when I feel like I can speak honestly. It’s not up to me, though. She can barely talk to us (my husband and me, and her friends) about it, though, let alone the world. So while the counselling and journalling helps, I feel as though I need more.

I have a double life, and it takes its toll sometimes.

So, welcome to my little corner of the net.

I can’t ever promise that I will always get what it’s like for someone else, though I will try. I can’t speak with the voice of authority, knowing what it’s like to BE depressed. I can only speak from my experience, my perspective as the worried mother of a depressed teen. That’s all. I get very scared, I get frustrated, I get angry, I get impatient, though I do my very best to not show that to her. I will show it here, sometimes, and if that bugs you, well, then this isn’t the place for you. I love my family with my entire being, too, and I will show that, as well. I search for the things that are positive. I celebrate hard and loud when something goes well, and if my “well” isn’t the same as yours, I hope we learn from each other.

Oh yeah! Merry Christmas!! Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but today I aim to focus on the festive. Enjoy some Christmas lights, celebrate the snow if you can, and find a way to love and be loved.