Roll With It

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My daughter once called me “chill.” Ha! I am the least chill person I know.

I’m uptight, neurotic, anxious, overbearing and oversensitive. Oh, and have I ever mentioned I worry too much?! 🙂

Still, on some level, I actually am kind of chill. I’m learning to take things one day at a time. This phrase has some weird connotations. It doesn’t always imply “living in the moment.” It does sometimes sound like you’re just slogging through the slush, “getting” through, fighting your way inch by inch through the snowdrifts of life. No, that’s not what I do. By “one day at a time,” I mean I’m learning how to live with surprises, not taking things for granted, and when the unexpected does happen, I go with it.

Because really, how can you do otherwise? I never never know what each day will bring, and while I love order, routine and stability, and while I try to plan a lot of details of my life, I’m learning how to not be surprised when I get the text that says, “Mom, I failed my geometry class.” or, “Mom, I got busted on 4/20 by my gym teacher,” or whatever. (Neither of these scenarios is true, btw.)

I don’t ever enjoy these surprises.

They make my stomach sink into my knees, as I suspect is just the way of parenting. Your kid messes up or gets in trouble or has some sort of calamity befall them, and you feel kind of sick. That’s just the way of it. The same way we celebrate when things go well.

Despite those heart-twisting moments, there’s part of me that, after the initial shock of whatever, is already racing to the logical and the illogical conclusions. It’s amazing how fast my mind can come up with an outcome. (“She’ll get kicked out of school and end up on the street, and how will she support herself?” or “She’ll end up pregnant and we’ll have a bigger family and which room would we convert so she can still go to school while we help?”) Seriously, I get this from, “Mom, I’m dating so and so.” My mind is a weird and twisty thing.

That habit of projecting the most outrageous possible scenario is often unpleasant. I can send myself into some pretty big downward spirals of worry, and that does no one any good whatsoever. At the same time, whatever I fear is usually far more desperate and unpleasant than anything that actually comes to pass. Playing the “what-if” game can sometimes help me relax a little about what is actually going on. She’s just going on a date. She got one bad test result. She fell off the self-harm wagon again. We deal. We move on, and she learns, and she figures out what works in her life and what doesn’t, and she learns.

And I learn, too.

I learn that I still have my kids with me. They’ve got challenges. We all have challenges, and while mine may be different than yours, everyone has them.

You seriously just never, ever know.

And oddly enough, learning to figure things out as I go along helps me to be way less judgmental. Because no matter who I meet, I am learning to be aware that maybe their day has been full of those kinds of surprises, too, and I don’t have a monopoly on “things I wish hadn’t happened.”

I am devoted to finding ways to help prevent and treat anxiety and depression. Those sneaky, lying bastards are debilitating for the people who have them. They destroy. And, like other diseases like cancer or heart disease, they should be eradicated. (**Disclaimer: I am not entirely certain that depression, as a disease, should be treated as purely physical while glossing over the situational, but that is a whole other blog post investigation for another time.**) This is, I hope, going to have a positive outcome, meaning that I hope to do some good for my daughter, and in turn I hope that it translates into doing some good in the world.

Also oddly enough, depression and anxiety have taught me a LOT. There are lessons I wish I hadn’t had to learn, but hey, these lessons may just help me be a better parent. These lessons might possibly just help me figure out My Purpose In Life, whatever that may be. I have no way of knowing or predicting what my future or my children’s future might bring. I’ve said it before: I can’t predict, and so, while my own anxiety wants me to plan for every scenario and outcome, at the same time, in some weird and roundabout way, it helps me to just take it as it comes.

Figure it out.

So when I’m so anxious I can’t breathe right, and when I get that phone call at 2:00 a.m., these are things that can turn a person’s world around. Finding the ways to keep breathing, finding out how to get through the darkness, is just sort of what people do. It’s not extraordinary or unusual. We all do it. So, I’m learning to roll with it.

Lost? Or Still Looking?

We’ll be getting more assessments, more appointments, more questions, and hoping beyond hope that we get answers. So far we have none.

Counsellor suspects Borderline Personality Disorder, which brings up way more questions than it answers. The suspicion is that, regardless of any traits or patterns I may have noticed from the day daughter was born, because she seems to have separation anxiety, and even a fear of abandonment, the suspicion is BPD.

But? But?

Is that something that can be with you from birth?

Is it something that can be a part of your very soul, your make up? Because whatever it is that she has, she’s always had it. She was bullied in elementary school, and things got worse after that, but she’s always had it. She’s always had separation anxiety, and she’s always always always had difficulty with changes in relationships.

Daughter told counsellor that she has trouble in social situations, and doesn’t really “get” girl talk, and doesn’t really even care too much about it. She said that she will often adapt herself to whatever social situation she finds herself in, so that if a group of kids is talking about a subject, she’ll go along with it like she knows, even if she doesn’t.

Counsellor says that that also leads her to suspect BPD.

But these are ASD traits, too, aren’t they?

Daughter told counsellor that she’ll chase after people who are upset with her in order to keep them from leaving her. She also said that when she’s angry at people, or if they do something to hurt her, she will feel like she doesn’t want to continue the relationship.

That does sound like BPD to me.

But? But?

But it also doesn’t. But it does.

I’m so confused, and kind of lost.

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It is not news to me that my daughter has mental illnesses. Depression and anxiety have been constant companions for her for a very long time, and we’ve been looking for answers and relief for her for just about as long. But counsellor made it sound as though BPD was literally on the edge of psychopathy.

Is my baby that sick?

So I’m afraid.

Daughter says she just wants to know. She just wants to figure it out so she can get her therapy to start actually helping, so she can start working towards feeling better without spinning her wheels all the time. She just wants to feel better. And that is just not too much to ask.

She’s thin. And she has so. many. scars.

I’m scared.

But. Once more, I will be strong. Hell, if she can manage to confront her demons every day, and not let it take her down, I can stifle a few tears. I will keep my promise to her — we’ll keep looking until we find answers, and we’ll work at it, we’ll do everything we can to help her feel better.

Diary

via Daily Prompt: Record

Keeper of secrets but teller of lies. My diary is a safe place, where I can spell it all out, yell it all out, and come back around the calm side. But it’s not real. It’s only my perspective, with no pretense of balance, fairness or self-control. It’s joy, and gratitude, and wonder that I get to live this life, my life. It’s hope for the future, and making sense of everything that got me to where I am. But it’s still just me, writing for me.

Yet it’s also the record of my family and friends. No one else I know keeps a diary. I keep our memories, our events, our lives, imperfect a record as it may be. I’m sure that some day my kids will read them and wonder if they grew up in the family I’ve described. They’ll wonder why I wrote about some things and ignored others. They’ll wonder how I managed to see things the way I do, when they don’t remember it that way at all!

Oddly enough, I write for them as much as for me, because I know that some day they’ll inherit these volumes and volumes of my life. And they’ll be left to make sense of the records I’ve created. They’ll laugh at my quirks, and maybe they’ll feel puzzled, or sad, or melancholic, or maybe even happy that they have the memories, written, made real out of thoughts, the words on the page recording their lives for them.

Daily Prompt: Pattern: Snowflakes

via Daily Prompt: Pattern

Since we’ve been riding this rollercoaster called MDD (Major Depressive Disorder, or, as I call it, Many Dismal Days), I see patterns in behaviour, patterns in triggers, and even patterns in communication.

Parent-blamers would call her a “snowflake,” which they mean to be a delicate type who can’t withstand the pressures of daily life. The implication of the word “snowflake” is negative. Its cause is assumed to be that parents, by not letting their children fail at things, have created patterns of weakness in their children, where they fall apart at the slightest provocation because their parents have traditionally done everything for them.

The reality is far more complicated, as are real snowflakes. Maybe in some cases, the parental influence is a factor. Maybe in some cases, kids are wired in such a way that things seem more challenging for them. Maybe in some cases they’re actually trying desperately hard to face life’s issues, joys and obstacles, trying really hard to succeed, but for whatever reason the weather changes and they melt.

I think that the human tendency is to insist on patterns in order to make sense. Even if the patterns don’t always fit, we force things (and people) into categories because that’s how we make sense of them. Kids who are struggling, be it because of depression or anxiety or whatever, are difficult for us to figure out, and challenging to treat. We want to relieve their suffering, but because the causes of these mood disorders are often elusive, we find easy targets (parents, or even the kids themselves) and impose a structure that may not always fit.

Thus we label these kids “snowflakes” because it makes us feel better to have someone to blame. We see patterns in their behaviour and reduce them to the lowest common denominator.

We forget, though, that snowflakes are beautiful, unique, intricate and complicated. Snowflakes are forces of nature, with immense power in their beauty. They sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight, and they have the strength to bend tree branches under their weight, or even crash down a mountainside in a ferocious, roaring avalanche.

Let’s take some time to reflect on the labels we use, and the patterns we impose. Let’s remember that the people we categorize are exactly that: people. With individual thought processes, unique ways of processing information, diverse ways of making it through life’s challenges and joys.

Let’s remember that even snowflakes can be strong.