Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Is Anyone's Holiday Really Perfect?

I know I told Jordan this blog wouldn't be a recent account of our lives, but I am still going to give a short synopsis of our Christmas Eve. I think that it will help people better understand the difficulties of living with intense anxiety. Medication does help. It has allowed Jordan to live, function and thrive, with a sense of calmness and confidence, that at one time seemed unattainable. But medication is not a foolproof "cure". It can't change a person's innate personality. I'm not sure if the word "personality" is the correct term to use, but people 'are who they are', you know?

So we were all getting ready for church. I should have known when I stepped over Jordan laying on her floor, that things weren't going well. But I was trying to make myself look presentable and festive. When it was almost time to leave, I realized that I hadn't seen Jordan in a while. Crap. After looking in the well known places, anywhere dark, her closet, corners of rooms... I pushed on the bathroom door and felt her leaning against it. In the dark. Covering her head.

I am proud to say that I don't get angry any more. I don't take it personally, and I don't feel as if it is a reflection of me. I am resigned to the fact that there are times when I can't control life, especially someone else's, and I can't always make things better. Not fun, especially as a parent.

Jordan mumbled to me that she "just ruined another Christmas".

So what happened? She was having trouble figuring out what to wear, but this wasn't the main cause of her panic attack.

The holidays are intense. They take you out of your routine. They are emotional, and they push some people to their limits. There is this perfect image of what Christmas, or any holiday, is supposed to look like. But we are all graced with the wisdom to know that life is not perfect. Right?

That is what happened to Jordan.

She did get over her feelings of guilt. Kayla got over her disappointment of not going to church because she felt she looked "cute as shit". (Which she did, down to the sprig of holly in her braided hair.) And I'm happy to say that the Beck family had a very nice (but certainly not perfect) Christmas this year.

Thank you,

Us Too

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Being a Kid

Eighteen years ago, if I had read this quote, I would have had a much different reaction to it than I do today. I enjoyed my childhood, and I still often miss the many innocent freedoms that I had. During the summers, the neighborhood kids and I would put on musicals and plays, write our own stories, climb trees, and play every sport imaginable, until we heard our parents call us in for dinner. We spent year after year developing "Rockville" in a nearby yard. Rockville was an imaginary town set back in the woods. It had houses, stores and roads, all defined with rocks (hence the clever name). Everything was made from items in nature: the furniture, the "food", the brooms and dishes... When I first read the children's book Roxaboxen, I was so excited to see a book that seemed to emulate such an important part of my childhood.

And then I had Jordan. Jordan tended to have stress, worries, and cares in her world. I figured since we are right smack in the middle of the holiday season, that I would share this little anecdote:

When Jordan was a month shy of turning three, she worried that Santa would eat too many cookies on Christmas Eve, and get a stomach ache. Now, this wasn't a ploy used so she would get to eat the cookies herself. She was truly worried about Santa's health. After all, almost everyone leaves cookies out for Santa. It would be too much. We tried to reassure her that he would limit his cookie intake, and maybe bring some back for the elves. We also made sure that we only ate one cookie off of our plate that night.

She also asked over and over again "Is tonight Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas? Is tomorrow Christmas? Not now..." (meaning not yet). It was as if she couldn't believe it was finally here. When I say that she said it over and over again, I mean she said it exactly the same way, over thirty times in two hours. She was like a broken record, her mind kind of getting 'stuck' on the same loop of excitement and worry. Unfortunately throughout the years, her mind still seemed to get stuck in similar loops, most of them having the tendency of being somewhat negative and debilitating. Thankfully this happens less often as she grows and as that frontal lobe continues to mature. Come on frontal lobe-  I'm routing for you!

With all of this going on in her young mind, you would think that she would cry before going to sleep on the night that Santa arrived, like she did so many other nights. But did she? No. Not a peep. I wished that it could have been Christmas Eve every night. Maybe Santa knew something that we didn't.

So as you can imagine, my perception regarding this quote has changed a bit. Although I do think (and hope) that Jordan is able to look back fondly on her childhood............

I just asked her if she does look back fondly, while she is totally stressed out and working on senior papers and projects due before the break, and she said "yeah". I'll take it. :)

Thank you,

Us Too

I love the lyrics to this song. It's called Stressed Out, by Twenty One Pilots.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Parenting Makes Me Feel...

Quick. If you're a parent, what's the first word that comes to mind if someone were to ask you the emotion that surprised you the most, since becoming a parent? 
Love, protective, amazed, vulnerable, responsible?

Now think a bit longer. 
Does anyone else come up with words like overwhelmed, naive, confused, and clueless?

Call me crazy, but my visions of parenting included my children, oh I don't know... doing what we told them to do. They wouldn't just taste what was on their plates, they would eat it. The whole meal. It didn't take a genius to figure out that this was not going to happen with Jordan. Becauseunbeknownst to me, you can't make a three year old eat.

So we (the parents) compromised by telling Jordan that she only needed to try one bite of the vegetable. We compromised, and she still blatantly refused night after night. She would sit at the dinner table, sometimes for well over an hour, and not take one bite. Until she did. She always did (phew), but never without a fight. 

Talk about frustrating. We were trying our best to be consistent, because research  very clearly stated the benefits of consistency:

  • Children who have consistent rules with predictable consequences are less likely to “push the limits” and constantly test their parents by misbehaving. They learn quickly that “no” means “no”.
  • Children with consistent parents experience less anxiety.
  • Investing early in consistent parenting pays off huge dividends later. There will be considerably less temper tantrums, arguing and bargaining as the children grow.

So much for research.

Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Just a Quick Thought About the Recent Tragedies

I mentioned in an earlier post that I believe there are different types or levels of depression and anxiety. I have been reminded of this by watching Jordan try to deal with, and process, the many violent tragedies that have been occurring.  She has the desire to make a difference, but stated that she "would have no idea where to start."

When I was young I remember practicing the "bomb" drills in school. We heard something about the Russians and went into the hallways and covered our heads with our arms. Was I frightened? Not very. After that drill, we would talk about it for a short time and get on with our day. No one was bombarded with news, hype and media on a nonstop basis.

I asked Jordan if she might think about turning off some of the news feeds that she gets on her phone. I have learned throughout the years not to tell her what to do. That tends to fall on deaf ears.  I'm not suggesting that she ignore the world, but just take a break from it once in a while. Her reply: "I don't know." It's better than a no.

So, please think of those people who are extremely sensitive, react intensely to small triggers (or in our current world, big ones), have trouble self soothing, and are emotionally volatile. They may require a little more patience and understanding than usual.

Thank you,

Us Too

Monday, November 30, 2015

What the Heck are the Terrible Threes?

"There's a word for this in psychology, said Dr. Alan E. Kazdin professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University. "Normal.""

He is referring to the behaviors of three year old children. Too bad I didn't read more of his research fifteen years ago. I could have used the help.

His research states that "parents go from lugging around a child that is largely free of will to parenting a 3-year-old that has preferences, tastes and a forming personality... The child grows and changes, but the parents' expectations stay the same." 

So... it's the parent's fault? I'll admit that I didn't have a clue as to what triggered Jordan's momentous, wall kicking tantrums again. I wondered if it was because she wasn't feeling well, or we coddled her when she was sick (how could you not?) and she expected it to continue, or she was just pissed at the world, which most undoubtedly included me.

Naively, I hoped since she had already gone full-throttle through the terrible twos, that we would ease through the threes. Not so much.  Everything became a battle. Getting dressed -she cried for two hours because she didn't want to put her socks on. Two hours. Over socks. Eating -she refused to take even one bite. I had to eat what my parents gave me, and she wouldn't even taste the food to see if she liked it. Cleaning up, turning off the T.V., going to bed, getting out of the tub... and you can imagine how potty training progressed. Or maybe you can't, because I had no idea, before my experience with Jordan. Let's just say that I now fully understand the term "anal retentive".

Although I am able to joke about this now, at the time there was nothing funny about it. I felt as if I was powerless to help her. She didn't know what she wanted or needed, or at least she wasn't able to communicate it to me, so I couldn't help her. I believed in my heart that this rage inside of her could not have been "normal". It was way too extreme, too painful and deep.  Kayla had thrown tantrums but in comparison, they were almost non existent. I actually developed a fear that Kayla's were less intense only because she was younger, and they might increase in time. As if all kids reacted with this level of anger and frustration.  In retrospect, this is ridiculous since I taught in daycare facilities and nursery schools for many years before having kids, and had seen my fair share of tantrums. Jordan's were pretty much off the charts.

It was very difficult for me to control my anger in response to her's. Instinctively, I guess I fight fire with fire, rise to the level of craziness. And she sure could push me to a level. Although future posts will not always portray me as the perfect parent, I'm going to continue to be truthful. I figure, we can't be the only family out there who has struggled, and been beside themselves at times. Hopefully sharing our experiences will help others feel more supported and better understood.

Thank you,

Us Too

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Little, But Oh So Huge, Milestones

I think it's amusing how parents find every little milestone in their children's lives to be so monumental. The first smile, word, step, sentence... When Jordan drew her first person, you would have thought that she won the Nobel Peace Prize. The first time she used the potty, I'm sure that I felt like throwing a party. A potty party. Like peeing in a toilet proved that she was some type of prodigy or something. 

But the funny thing is, when it's your child, the small things are amazingly huge. Before being born or adopted, our children represent endless wonder, hope, and a dream of everything possible. And then you have them, and the entire experience surpasses anything you could have ever imagined. 

That is why there is nothing better than watching your child succeed and find their comfortable place in the world. It is overwhelmingly, beautifully fulfilling for a parent to experience. That being said, the opposite...

Nope. I'm stopping here.

Because although Us Too deals with struggle and family issues, it is also my hope that it encompasses understanding, joy, and love.

When Jordan was two years and eight months old, and Kayla was thirteen months old, we found out that we were pregnant again. I believe that our reaction was something to the effect of: "Holy crap!" ~ but in a good way.

Thank you,

Us Too

Friday, November 20, 2015

Finding Answers

A couple of you have mentioned that when you tried to comment on Us Too, it didn't work. My tech guy (aka Adam) isn't sure why, but said if you post as anonymous, it allows you to comment.

I also wanted to mention that Adam has never gone to a therapist or taken medication for depression or anxiety, and he is doing fine. :)

There are so many different paths that can be taken. The tough part is finding the one that is right for you and your loved ones. I love this quote from Joan Baez: "As long as one keeps searching, the answers will come."

I sure hope so.
Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Life Has Come Full Circle. Already?

The next part of my journal discussed how perplexed I was about the way Jordan, as a toddler, appeared to wake up crabby and disagreeable most mornings. I just wasn't that type of person, so it was hard for me to understand. She didn't want to do anything, and complained about every suggestion that I made. I wondered why someone would be unhappy before their day even began, especially someone so young.
Adam tried to explain to me that this happened to him sometimes. He would wake up feeling anxious and stressed. It was a fear that he couldn't, or wouldn't, get anything done anyway, so why get out of bed? I told Adam that life shouldn't be such a struggle. It made me sad, and I wished that I could fix it for both Adam and Jordan.

Even back in the year 2000, my initial reaction was to suggest to Adam that he get professional help. If life is that difficult, why wouldn't you want to talk to someone, and perhaps take medication? In my mind, that was what psychiatrists and therapists were for.

I'm not sure why I always believed in the benefits of therapy and getting psychiatric help. Maybe it was because I got my Bachelor's degree in Psychology, or because I had a close friend and grandmother who openly struggled, and sought out help. I did know that I hated seeing my husband, the man who I adored, wrestle with motivation and accomplishing everyday tasks. It also upset me to see Jordan agitated and discontented. I believed that it didn't have to be that way, for both adults and children.

I realized back then, how fortunate I was that I didn't have to battle with these types of issues. I actually wrote this in my journal, how lucky I was.

How's that for irony?

For some reason, even though I wasn't faced with these problems back then, I understood that no one was guaranteed immunity, not even me. I wrote this fifteen years ago: "I still believe that one day when our kids are on their own and our parents begin to ail, that I may need to seek out professional help for myself. I will certainly have an open mind about it."

Is anyone beginning to see the full circle thing?

I now understand that "oh crap" feeling while laying in bed in the morning. When your brain gets stuck or overwhelmed with negative thought patterns, and all you can do is pull the covers up a little higher. But the longer you stay in bed, the more the inner voices of guilt, self doubt and worry rush around in your mind. As an adult this could show up as lack of motivation or depression. As a child it may come across as crabbiness or defiance. Either way it requires patience and understanding from those close to the person suffering. Patience was (and is) not really my forte. Having a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of mental illness, chemical imbalances, or even personality traits, can help to make difficult situations easier to handle, and ultimately, easier to accept. 

It is my hope that Us Too helps to do just that.

Thank you,

Us Too

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What Exactly is a Blog?

I just looked on Wikipedia to see what a blog is. You would think I would know this little tidbit of information, since I'm writing one. But I'm not 100% sure that I do. Without Adam's help, I would honestly have no clue how to do this. Here's a small part of what I found out about a blog:

A majority (of blogs) are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via GUI widgets on the blogs, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking service.

Although I have no idea what a GUI widget is, I do understand the main point of this explanation. Blogs can be interactive.

Many of you have privately shared with me your struggles, opinions, experiences, and fears. I truly appreciate this, and I know that it isn't easy. Truth be told, this type of feedback has helped me to feel validated and more understood, while dealing with our family issues. It is also good to know that when I share, it has the potential to help others who may be struggling. That Us Too realization can be very powerful and purposeful.

So I guess my point is, if you are comfortable, please feel free to comment, share, and add to Us Too. Have you ever heard the saying: A problem shared is a problem halved?  Yeah, me neither, but there does seem to be a lot of sense to it.

Who knows, maybe your unique story, a choice or a decision that you made, or your positive words can make all the difference in someone else's life.

Thank you.

Us Too

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Right Side Brain

We eventually recovered from the trauma of taking the pacifiers away. (Bye-Bye Binkey). It was a beautiful thing. But being the mean mommy that I was, I had the audacity to make Jordan come inside, after playing outside. And I did this more than one time. She was not happy with this turn of events. Again, she threw fits whenever we came in. And I mean every time. A full blown, tears flowing, kicking my legs, screaming, anger filled, tantrum.

I would always give the countdown, so in theory she shouldn't have been surprised or shocked about the need to come back inside. "We're going to leave in ten minutes. Only five minutes left until we leave. Three minutes. Two minutes. We're going home in one minute. Okay, it's time to go".  And... BOOM! Even if she didn't understand how long a minute lasted, she still heard the words "leave and home" more times than I had wished to mutter them. She reacted like this so often that I stopped getting angry. After a while it almost appeared to be a routine or a habit. Why do I think this? Because one time she actually said “Me will cry when it's no more minutes.” Really? So you know that you're going to cry when I say it's time to leave? But... why?

I didn't understand what the heck was going on. If you know that you're going to react in such an intense manner, before you actually do, then couldn't it be assumed that you would have the ability to control the behavior?  Maybe just a little bit, maybe one time?

It's funny how now that I understand the issues that Jordan faced and still faces, that this doesn't seem as illogical to me anymore. I realize (unfortunately after years of hurt and anger) that she actually couldn't control the emotions. They just overwhelmed and took over her entire being like a tidal wave.

It was as if the logical side of her brain (the left side) was aware of what was coming. It was prepared, and even helped her to verbalize the situation. It knew what the expected behavior was. After all, she was a rule follower. But then there was the emotional, right side. Logical or not, right or wrong, harmful or hurtful, this side and its emotions almost always got the upper hand, for whatever reason.

I realize after all of these years, that she couldn't help it. It still hurt, but I now understand. As she got older, she couldn't help things like refusing to pose for important family pictures. She couldn't help skipping family graduation parties, Or sitting in the van while missing her cousin's baseball games. Or laying on her floor on Mother's Day, refusing to go out for ice cream, or crashing hard after the holidays or her birthday, which kind of undid all of the happy feelings. All of this was out of her control.

How do I know?

Because she most definitely would rather have been a part of the fun. She did not want to frustrate or make her loved ones sad and angry. None of this made her feel good. Eventually, when the sweet, calm Jordan came back to us, she always felt guilty and was very apologetic. It was tough to watch her go through this so often.

Her anxiety got the best of her. In all of these situations, and countless others, she froze and couldn't move forward. Not wouldn't, but couldn't. She was the epitome of a people-pleaser, who because of her own genetic make-up, was not being permitted to please the people who meant the most to her. In my mind, that's a pretty crappy battle to be a part of.

But on a more positive note, she is doing SO much better today, as an almost eighteen year old. I believe that all of her intensity, emotion, and determination will continue to guide her towards a life full of success, well being, and happiness.

Thank you,


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Pros and Cons of Feeling So Crappy

Here are some cons that I experienced through my depression and anxiety:

I realize that I may not have been very open minded and accepting of people who appeared to be living "outside of the box" before having Jordan, and going through all of this.

I need to take a prescription medication, and I don't know for how long, or if forever. A man-made medication is helping me to function. This is a first for me, and it sucks. It's even worse that my teen age daughters are also taking them.

I now have a better understanding of how Jordan felt all of those years. :(

My relationship with the girls was rough for a while, especially with Jordan.

There was so much that I didn't understand about the girls, for too long.

I realize that there will inevitably be times when I need to completely rely on Adam. This kind of scares the crap out of me. When you find yourself using your spouse's soap in the hopes that the aroma will somehow help you get through your day, you are definitely reliant upon another person.

I now know that when things get bad, they can get really bad.

Now for the pros:

I am much more accepting of people who appear to be living "outside of the box". Everyone has their reasons.

If need be, there are man-made medications out there that can help people persevere, and get through these rough times. So far, all three of us have been lucky enough to have found meds that work.

I now have a better understanding of how Jordan felt all of those years, and still sometimes does today.  I no longer get angry.

My relationship with the girls has gotten stronger since all of this mess began. I think that we enjoy each other's company more than we used to.

I have learned so much from the girls because of our experiences.

I have no doubt that Adam will be there for me, no matter what I am going through, or what state I am in.

I now know that things can get better. :)


Of course everyone's experiences are different. It took Jordan three therapists and four medication changes before she found what is currently working for her.

It is my belief (so take it for what it's worth) that there are different types, or levels, of depression and anxiety. It seems that if it stems from stressful situations in your life, it is more "treatable", for lack of a better word. Kayla and I seem to fit into this category.

Then there are people who appear to have it so much worse. They are extremely sensitive, react intensely to small triggers, are unable to self-soothe, and are emotionally volatile. Unfortunately, Jordan appears to share many of these traits. Crap.

No, life isn't meant to be easy. But it also isn't meant to suck. As long as we are all willing to try our best, to avoid it from sucking, I think that we (Too) can be okay.

Thank you,

Us Too

Friday, October 30, 2015

It Got Worse Before it Got Better...

I found Jordan crying under her blanket on her floor, so I crawled in with her. I didn't say much. 
I told Adam I was lucky that I had him. I felt like I was failing him as a wife, and that I didn't deserve him. What happened to me???
I'm sick of spending $50 a week. For what? She still can't run most days. If it were me, there is no way that I would keep going to the chiropractor. It's not working. But what would I tell her, that I'm done trying to help? Nice.
Jordan said to me: "All of my senior friends are applying to Brown and good schools and I can't even get out of bed."  Shit.
Jordan asked me how come I cancelled Christmas this year. I almost lost it. How is that my fault? She didn't help at all, with anything. Fu** her. Both girls have been blaming me for everything. If I weren't trying to juggle all of their crap, then maybe I would be sane, and have time to do a damn Christmas card. 
They are sucking any life out of me and I'm pretty empty. Is it their faults? No. But it's not my fault either, that our lives suck right now.
Yesterday I did it. I went to my doctor to ask about going on medication. It was very hard. I cried when I talked about Jordan and Kayla. She said that it is hard to escape it, when it runs in your family. She said she would prescribe Zoloft but I needed to go to therapy first. Yay. I was shaking the whole time. 
It's hard to accept that it has come to this. Not like it's embarrassing or anything, it just sucks.
I told the girls "I think I've lost myself, but I am doing the best I can." It just wasn't good enough.

And that is how you know you need to get professional help. 

Thank you for putting up with my ranting. Please watch your loved ones and look out for the signs. If someone has a heart condition, or high blood pressure, no one would think twice about taking medication to help get it under control. A chemical imbalance is just another type of physical illness which needs to be treated.

The good news is that medication and therapy can help. I am living proof of this. So are Jordan and Kayla. I never expected life to play out this way, and I certainly would not want to go through it again. But some might say that they have emerged more resilient and better able to take control of their lives, because of depression.

Everything has its pros and cons. Even depression and anxiety. Right?

Thank you.
Us Too

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Straight From The Mother's Mind

These are excerpts from my journal from a ten day period towards the end of 2014.  Brace yourself for a glimpse into the mind of a depressed person.

I figured something out. I am not happy because I feel helpless. Helpless with Jordan changing her meds and her not being able to do her AP Lang. homework. I can't help her anymore.
Kayla with her injuries. She wants nothing to do with me or my opinions. There is nothing else that I can do for her. We saw doctors, she goes to the chiropractor, takes iron... nothing helps. I'm pretty much done since I can't help anyway. Helpless.
I'm having a rough time with both of our girls needing help. What the fu** did we do wrong here? 
I can't seem to make any changes to help myself. It may be time...
I'm not going to do Christmas cards this year. I did it all myself last year. I'm not going to decorate the Christmas tree by myself. I know that they are all busy, but that's not what the holidays are about.
I don't have the desire or energy.
So I just ran and wrote in my journal and I don't feel much better. At least I don't feel like crying anymore.
Today totally sucked. I cried in bed last night for a long time. I had plans to run with friends this morning, got all dressed for it, started to cry again and didn't go. I was either crying or laying down all day.
I keep hearing the commercial in my head:  "Depression hurts. Cymbalta can help". My body actually hurts all over.
I was a mess and couldn't snap out of it. It's crazy how if my kids are hurting, I hurt.
It's not fair to both of them.

So this is where we all were, kind of secretly falling apart. To avoid overwhelming you I will stop here and continue in the next post.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share our experiences with you. It is my hope that the more people understand, the less afraid they will be. That is the only way progress can be made in the field of mental health.

Us Too

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Everything Began to Fall A p a r t...

Kayla's issues began after she injured her quad during her freshman year of cross country. Before this point she loved running and she was doing very well. She adored the varsity girls, and believed that running was her entire identity. Her injuries appeared to multiply throughout the next two years. We went to so many specialists, trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors and doctors. It seemed as if every time one injury was controlled, another one developed. I have been running for, well... forever, and I would have traded places with her in a heartbeat. Her passion, and her ability to self-accept were being taken away from her, and she began to fear and hate running.

Not only was she dealing with muscle and tendon problems, she also developed Vocal Cord Dysfunction or VCD. VCD occurs when the vocal cord or voice box does not open correctly. It is often confused with asthma, but instead of having trouble breathing out, VCD causes more difficulty breathing in.  So she was trying to run at full speed and her voice box was blocking her air intake. It was like she was having a panic attack, while running. To top it all off, she also began showing symptoms of acid reflux. She needed to change her entire diet and started taking some hard core reflux medication.

The problem was, she was able to deal with the stress and anxiety of being a high achieving, disciplined student, (and why we had two of these types of kids in high school was beyond me) when she was running. But take that stress reliever away at age fourteen, and she began to fall apart, both physically and mentally. It is certainly all connected. 

It still probably took longer than it needed to for us to realize that Kayla was suffering from anxiety and clinical depression, but it certainly didn't take years, like it did with Jordan. Sadly, we had done, and seen this before. Distinguishing between what is normal teenage irritability and negativity towards their parents, from the slow plunge into depression is (at least initially) difficult. But at a certain point, you just know.

There is nothing worse than helplessly watching your own child gradually lose control, hope, joy, and love of herself.  Nothing except watching two of your children going through this at the same time.

As you might predict, I was wondering what the hell Adam and I had done wrong with this whole parenting thing. My reactions and coping skills were a mess. I was angry and sad about everything and everyone, including the girls. I was feeling hopeless, overwhelmed and tired of not being able to affect change.

And down I went...

Thank you.  Us Too

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I'm Not Only a Mental Illness Blogger, I'm Also a Recent Client

I miss the old, happy meMy last share on Us Too had a quote about how important it is for people, especially women, to start having a conversation about mental illness. So I figured it was as good a time as any to open up about the difficulties that I was faced with last year.

I'm not sure, but I would assume that most people who knew me when I was younger would not have pegged me for someone who would struggle with depression and anxiety as an adult. Please share with me if you feel this to be an inaccurate statement. I would truly be curious to hear why. I think that I was pretty low maintenance, non drama, laid back, and content with my efforts, even though many of my close friends were super high achievers. Basically, life was not much of a struggle for me. Because I am somewhat of a realist, I figured that since mental illness ran in my family, I would possibly need to seek out professional help much later in life. Like when my kids no longer depended on me (ouch), and my parents inevitably needed to increase their dependence on me. But that is not where I was last year.

I can honestly say that Adam and I worked our butts off to try and stay one step ahead of Jordan's issues. I'm not going to lie and say that it was easy, but we floundered and scrambled our way through, eventually searching for techniques and professionals that could possibly help. For some reason (maybe because we were never truly shocked by her behaviors, since they seemed to gradually progress throughout her lifetime) I was generally, able to cope.

But then last year, when she was a sophomore in high school, our Kayla began to struggle.
Our roly-poly, energetic, smart, giggly, self-assured, happy, athletic, beautiful daughter, started to slowly spiral downward.

And eventually, so did I.

To avoid this post from going on forever, I will pause here.

For whatever reason, you have decided to go along for this ride, and I would like to thank you for that, from the bottom of my heart. Selfishly, I find writing this to be somewhat cathartic. But perhaps it can act as a general road map for others who may find themselves sinking into the hopeless sea of depression and anxiety. In the next couple of posts, I will continue with Kayla's story, and also try to portray my journey from being a scared, overwhelmed, angry, lonely, depressed, anxious mess, to the much healthier, more content person that I am today.

Part of my plan to help illustrate this is to copy, word for word, some excerpts from my journal from last year. I'll warn you, it contains some harsh, angry, emotional language. But it will be real, and raw, and honest. Just like life.

Thank you,

Us Too

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bye-Bye Binkey-- aka How to Torture Your Child

Instructions not included BooginHead pacifier
Back in August I mentioned that when Jordan was around seven months old, pacifiers basically saved our lives. Well, at least they allowed us to sleep through the nights. At twenty-five months, we no longer had them hanging from her shirts or bibs twenty-four-seven, so we had taken some steps in the right direction. She was fine with this. I guess that the world was interesting and entertaining enough for her to not need them all of the time. We did know that she was still very dependent upon them when going to sleep.

But now she was over two years old, and the books were telling us that it was time to take the pacifiers away. So that is what we did. We wrapped them up for “Baby Tara” a neighborhood baby who had just been born. Jordan was so cute, wanting to give them to the baby. I knew she didn't thoroughly understand what the actual plan was, but she was so cooperative and helpful.

That first night without them was not fun. Not at all. She cried hysterically from 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm. She seemed so upset and angry. It brought back flashbacks of the whole self-soothing before bed, time. We went into her room like the books instructed, and spoke to her calmly, reassuring her that we loved her and that it would be okay. She would stop crying when we went in, but when we left, she just lost it. Finally she did go to sleep, but woke up screaming again at 3:00, and then at 6:00 am.

I went in when she was sleeping, because I was feeling so horribly guilty, and I would see her scratching at her crib mattress, groping and searching for them. This was while she was asleep. It was heart wrenching to watch. We were the ones who gave her the pacifiers, and let her use them for over two years. But now for no apparent reason, except that this was what parents were supposed to do, we took them away. The next night she tried so hard to be brave. She looked at books to keep busy and said “Me no need my pasey (pacifier), Me wrap it up.” But then she screamed, flailed, and kicked for over an hour.

My thought patterns at this point were basically this: "What am I doing to her? Even at age two she is trying to please. Trying to understand, and do what is expected of her." I'm pretty sure that I even got angry at our pediatrician and the nurses from the hospital where she was born. They all made it very clear to new parents that sucking is important for a babies' ability to eat and ultimately, to survive. At least that's how I had interpreted it.

A month later she was still screaming frantically before bed. One night I got so angry that I went in and yelled about how tired we were of hearing her, and that she better close her eyes and go to sleep.

Then she stopped crying. Really? That's what was necessary to get her to stop?

It took two months for her to finally stop screaming and crying before bed. That was eight weeks. Fifty-six nights of hearing our child scream like someone was tearing off one of her limbs.

Again, we were doing what we thought was best for our daughter. Would it have been so detrimental if we waited for her to eventually give the pacifiers up on her own? Probably not. I doubt that she would have continued to suck on them throughout elementary school. Could these many hours of discomfort and stress have changed her brain chemistry? Probably.  Or, was her brain chemistry the reason why she had such difficulty coping with situations that appeared to be easier for other children?

So many questions. So few answers. Maybe we can get our answers by looking at our children's successes, because all kids have them- each and every day. All we need to do, is make sure that we take notice of them. :)

Thank you.
Us Too

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"The Terrible Two's" - Ain't That the Truth

I knew that this was coming. I was warned. But like everything else, if you haven't lived through it, you don't really know what to expect. How does this transformation happen right before our eyes? Maybe it's because our children physically gain in strength and size. The anger that they once displayed kind of multiplies and grows in intensity, along with their bodies. I guess I really didn't think that it was possible for Jordan's intensity to increase, but it did.

When Jordan was two, her new goal in life appeared to be getting Kayla to smile at her, which she did all of the time. It was so cute. Since Jordan was speaking, and repeating herself (a lot) at this point, Kayla was the perfect audience. The doctor told us that her speech was a bit unclear because her thought patterns were so advanced for her age. It was like her brain was moving faster than her mouth could keep up. When she saw a pregnant woman and asked what was in her belly, I explained that it was a baby. I told her that she and Kayla were once in my belly and her clever reply was  “Me out now”. When Grandpa Tony hurt his back, she suggested that we get him a band aid. I was so amazed by her, and by everything that she did and said. She started out as this helpless infant, and now she was becoming a beautiful, logical, person right before my eyes.

I watched her as she began to give Adam a hard time. How can  that be explained? It was like she was pressing his buttons. I had no idea how this was possible for such a young child. She whined and carried on in shopping carts, and pretty much tortured him with defiance and complaints. When he changed her diaper, put on her shoes, gave her dinner, you name it, she fought it. He and I did things differently, and I could tell that she realized this.

So now I began to worry that maybe I gave in to her too easily, just to avoid the tantrums. An example of this was when I would let her out of the shopping cart. I wouldn't have done this if she wasn't so well behaved walking around stores, but she was so good. I didn't see the need for her to stay in the cart. She always stayed close by, didn't grab things off the shelf. So what was the harm of getting her out of the cart? But he didn't let her out. This, not surprisingly, made her angry.

Only one time did she run away from me in a parking lot. My quick reaction was to smack her butt. I was scared for her safety and I wanted her to feel the potential danger and fear of this situation.  The way I saw it, getting hit by a car will always be much worse than getting a smack on the butt. And she never did it again.

Some days she threw up to four tantrums. And I mean full-fledged  kicking and screaming, all out tantrums. Once she started them, she wouldn't (or couldn't) stop on her own. I would get hit or kicked if I tried to calm her down. Sometimes these went on for hours. The only way to stop her was to go into her room, and just sit and watch painfully. She would eventually see us sitting there and slowly calm down, and start talking to us about something. Then it was over. These usually occurred when she didn't get her way, which pretty much happened a million times a day. Clean up, time to eat, finish a game, turn off the T.V., get dressed, leave play group... She didn't want to do any of these things.  Do you know how difficult it is to try to get a child filled with rage out of a friend's house, through a door and home, while pushing Kayla in a stroller? I was so angry by the time we wrestled our way home. At least I wasn't pregnant anymore.

She told us “No.” no matter what we asked her to do. Sometimes she would yell it, and other times she would look all shy and put her chin to her chest, look up through her thick dark brown bangs, and whisper “No.”. What?? So sometimes we hit her butt, or yelled, or spoke to her, or put her in her crib without her pacifiers. We had thought and/or hoped that at least one of these techniques would be effective. After all, they worked for my parents.  But it did not seem to be working for us. No matter what we did and how consistent we were, it didn't seem to curtail her negative, defiant, repetitive behaviors.

This led to so many feelings of frustration and insecurity for me... What happened to: "If you are consistent then everything will be fine. Kids need consistency. If they know what to expect, then they will be comfortable."? One would assume that if a child is comfortable, then she will be compliant and somewhat easy going. That did not seem to be the case in our situation.

And I had no idea why.

Thank you.

Us Too

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pushing The (or My) Limits

When Kayla was around 4 months old, our lives began to settle down. We decided to do the unthinkable, and got the dreaded minivan. (Which I'm proud to say, we still have today.) We were amazed that we had two beautiful, perfect girls. Adam mentioned that I had everything that I had ever wanted. He was right. Jordan played with her baby dolls, and loved singing and playing in her crib. Looking back at this time in our lives makes me smile.

Jordan began to show signs of jealousy towards Kayla. I knew this was to be expected, but I wasn't thrilled when she threw a toy at Kayla's head, or when she covered Kayla's face with a blanket. One morning she lightly stepped on Kayla's leg, watching to see what my reaction would be. You know that look- “yeah, I'm doing this in front of you. So what are you going to do about it, Mommy?” I sternly told her no, so she decided to pick up a toy and throw it across the room. After that I smacked her hand lightly and made her pick up the toy. She then proceeded to say to me,  “Mommy not mad, Mommy happy. " in a cheery little voice.

Umm... no. This Mommy was definitely not happy with this behavior. Especially because she seemed unfazed by my reaction.

One afternoon I was suggesting to Adam that we may need to get the playpen out for Kayla, because Jordan has so many small toys. I noticed that she was listening, so I explained to her how Kayla could put a small toy in her mouth and it could make her sick.  To help demonstrate this, I picked up a random small toy to show her. Later that night I couldn't believe what she did. I watched her hand that exact same small toy to Kayla. She put it into Kayla's tiny hand, while looking right at me with that “I know that I'm doing something wrong.” look.  Damn. Again, I smacked her hand lightly and told her to get the toy back from Kayla, and to say that she was sorry. I'm sure that I probably said much more, but that was the gist of it.

Some of you who are anti-smacking, may be cringing when I say that I smacked her hand. The intention was certainly not to physically hurt her, or to humiliate her. It was to make the point that what she just did was wrong, and she should not do it again.  Hurting, and possibly putting your baby sister in harm's way, it's just not allowed. When I raised my voice, (and I wasn't just pretending to be angry, I actually was angry) for some reason, it just didn't send that message to her. It appeared to have no impact. She didn't even flinch. I was a bit taken aback that at 23 months, my discipline tactics did nothing to deter her from repeating a behavior. Not only did it not deter her, but she usually went one step further the next time, like when she threw the toy.

And my parents smacked me as a child. I don't resent them. I don't fear them. I never did.

But I did, and still do, respect them. I knew that they were in charge and that I was to abide by their rules. They were my parents. When they hit me, as much as I hate to admit it now, I deserved it. Usually I either lied, or was disrespectful. Mostly I lied. I learned that you can only get away with lying so many times before getting caught. And today, I consider them to be two of my closest friends.

As the years went on, our battles with Jordan got more and more difficult. She was always able to raise the intensity to a level that I was not comfortable with. A level that I never expected to be pushed to, especially by a child. By my child. My instinct was to try to match her, so that I would have the upper hand. To prove that I was in control, and that I was parenting. But the thing is, as the years went on, I realized that I was not in control. And neither was Jordan. No one was.

That was a scary place to be.

Thank you,

Us Too

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Three Poigant Events

"Mom, I'm a risk to go out with."  Damn. So that's how she sees herself. And I guess she may be right. Jordan and I were talking about certain blatant signs that you probably should not date someone. You know, heavy drug use, especially before school, school suspension, but what about someone who struggles with mental issues?

Our conversation was kind of a revelation for me. Not only because of how she sees herself, although this was quite an eye opener, but because of how others may perceive her. The more open and honest she is about her issues, the more aware people will become. I thought that this would lead to positive outcomes. But what if along with this awareness, comes fear and discrimination? I guess it didn't dawn on me that some people may not want to, or be capable of, dealing with the messy parts of life.
So this was poignant event number one.

On this same day a friend opened up to me about her sixteen year old daughter. She told me that things were getting worse, and she was afraid her daughter was going to hurt herself. My quick reply was that she should not ignore these gut feelings. No one knows, and can read their child more intimately, than a mother. What's the worst that can happen if you are wrong, an extra visit to a therapist, or another honest conversation with your child? But if you were to ignore your gut feelings, and your intuition was correct, the result could be tragic.  That was number two.

The third profound event that happened this same day, was when I offered my condolences to a friend who I found out, had just lost her sister. I was not aware of the specific circumstances until she opened up to me about them. Her sister had finally lost her lifelong struggles with anxiety, perfectionism. anorexia, and alcoholism.

There's that "whole package" of illnesses again. The list that usually includes a few of these: Anxiety, Depression, Perfectionism, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anorexia, Cutting... It's like there's this certain unspoken category of people who share this similar package of struggles. Usually the tell tale traits also include the positive aspects like: determination, good grades, incredible memory, insatiable thirst and desire for growth...

But sadly, the common coping mechanisms of this list are so very destructive. They are unhealthy, and dangerous: Drugs, alcohol, anorexia, picking, cutting, suicide.

The first thing that came to my mind (and out of my mouth) when she told me what had happened, was: "Oh crap, I'm afraid for Jordan." Not the most sensitive comment of my life, but it just automatically came out. She was so sweet, and then she reassured me. She told me that what I am doing, trying to stay one step ahead, and communicating with (and about) Jordan, is exactly what needs to be done. Talking about the issues, opening up the lines of communication so people won't feel lost and alone, and supporting those who are struggling, these are pretty much all anyone can do.

I sure hope she is correct, and I truly appreciate her candid honesty and her positive feedback, especially when she is experiencing such a difficult time in her life.

Having had these three events occur all in one day, helps me to realize that maybe UsToo does have its purpose. So as long as Jordan supports the idea of my sharing UsToo, and as long as I keep getting positive reactions from readers, I guess I'll continue doing this. :)

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

All We Are Is Dust In The Wind?

I am by no means, a spiritual person. And I'm totally okay with this. Really. I do however, choose to believe that there must be some rhyme or reason for our existence. The idea that we are all just put on this earth randomly, and that our relationships and lives are floating around in a sense of chaos; that just doesn't fly with me. It's too depressing.

I'm pretty sure there is a reason why I have continued to stay connected with certain lifelong friends. Years ago, I was fortunate to have the strength and patience to help encourage and support them. I had no way of  knowing that much later in my life, I would need this same type of guidance to help me navigate through the raising and understanding of my own daughter. These connections continue to give me hope for Jordan's future. I also believe that I was given this wonderful, challenging gift of raising Jordan, for a reason.  I'm not sure, but maybe this reason has something to do with UsToo.

Four days ago there were three poignant events that I was faced with, all in one day, that helped to solidify my desire to continue sharing UsToo. Intrigued? I hope so because this will be the topic of my next post. These incidents helped to solidify for me, that sometimes the connections that we make, and the coincidences in our lives, are too hard to ignore.

Please enjoy your interpretation of this quote from the book, A Course In Miracles. It was shared with me by one of my very important, aforementioned friends.

"The holy instant is the recognition that all minds are in communication."

Who knows...maybe there are no coincidences.  :)


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being a Human Being

A friend of mine recently asked me why I blog. I answered that I think the more that people's differences are shared and understood, the better chance we all have for tolerance and acceptance.

Though we have traveled very different paths, I still seem to share many of Glennon Doyle Melton's ideas and philosophies. For some reason I just don't mind talking about and sharing the "discomfort and messiness of being a human being."

If you have about 18 minutes to spare, this is an excellent video about... being human.


I haven't had a chance to look at her blog, Momastary, yet, but I have included it for those who may be interested.
Blog:  Momastary
I hope that you enjoy the video as much as we did, and you find many prizes in your lives.

Thank you.

Us Too


Monday, September 14, 2015

Letting Go, Little By Little...

Before moving on, I would like to clarify one thing after last week's post Our Anger Management. I do still get angry. There are times when I feel that Jordan's decisions and actions, especially during the whole college application process, are not going in the direction that they should. It drives me nuts, because I feel that my way would lesson her stress and anxiety. But I am not the one who is going to college. I had my turn. What I try to do differently today, is that I choose not to lash out and share my frustration and fearful, panicked feelings with her. I take time to process my emotions, and then I attempt to calmly make suggestions, without having a negative tone in my delivery. (This is quite a challenge for me). This can only be successful if done at a time when she seems likely to be receptive towards tips from her mother. She is a teenager, so as you can imagine, there is a small window of opportunity for the success of this scenario.

At nineteen months, Jordan still continued to amaze us every day. It was like magic watching her learn about her surrounding world. She yelled at Jake, our Pug, saying “mine mine” and “no no!” Her favorite thing to say was  “oh man” when something wasn't going her way. It was at this time that I began to notice that she was becoming very timid or scared of people that she didn't know. She would put her hands over her ears when she was confronted with anyone new. She came to visit me in the hospital when her sister Kayla Summer was born, and she walked into the room with her ears covered. When she held Kayla on her lap, for that ever-so-popular photo opportunity, and said the word "baby".  This was when I realized that she was still a baby. A baby holding a baby. Now we had two. When Adam went to take Kayla from her, she screamed “mine!” and began crying. I knew then, that this was going to be a bit challenging.

My parents, who were visiting from Florida, now affectionately referred to as Grandma Weeze and Grandpa Tony, held Kayla. Again, Jordan yelled “mine!" What she trying to get across to us was that they were her grandparents, not Kayla's. She had no intention of sharing them with anyone else, not even her little sister. She was a little girl with a big attitude. 

But I began to miss my attitude filled girl. It felt like I was losing touch with Jordan since Kayla was born. Although she was in the same room with me most of the time, it used to be just the two of us. Now I was nursing Kayla a lot, and Jordan was hanging out with Adam and Grandma Weeze and Grandpa Tony much more often. I realized that this was a good thing, me slowly letting her go, but it hurt. My big girl didn't need me as much as she used to. And human nature led me to have feelings of resentment towards our beautiful new baby girl.

Now, aren't hormones a joy? Resentment towards my newborn baby. Nice. Fortunately, these feelings of resentment did go away after the hormones settled down.

I was still in physical pain, getting up at night to nurse Kayla, and then I had to take care of Jordan the next day. She began to wake up earlier each day, and she was taking only one hour naps. When Jordan was tired, it was rough. When I was tired, it was rough too. Now when she cried before bedtime, I felt so badly for her. It made me cry. To me, it felt like we were going through the same emotions. We were both confused, tired, cranky, and feeling lost. Like our lives were out of control, and we were just trying to find a routine and some comfort. I loved her so much. I knew why our lives had changed. I made the choice to change them by having another baby. But she didn't understand. All she  knew was that Kayla was in my arms every two hours, and during that time I couldn't get up or play with her. Even through all of this disruption in our lives, she was still giving us hugs and kisses all of the time, and this included Kayla. She was such a sweetie.

This quote makes more sense to me than I ever thought it could, now that we have three teenagers. When they were young, I would have rolled me eyes at this concept. But as your children get older, as you are forced to slowly let them go, there is an indisputable truth to it. 

Image result for patient parenting quotes

I just hoped that I had enough patience to do this job, and to do it well. I have hoped this same thing so many times, during the past seventeen years and eight months. No one wants to make mistakes, but inevitably, we all do. The fear is that our mistakes will have a lasting negative effect on our children's futures. The optimistic side of me likes to think that this is not true; that our support and unconditional love is enough to ensure the success and happiness of our kids, no matter what their struggles and issues might be.  

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Our Anger Management

Ahhh. I'm happy to report that everyone at the Beck household, whether they used the Three P's of September Survival or not, made it through the first week of school. Better yet, so far everyone seems, dare I say it, "happy". Jordan had a bout of anxiety on the first day, so a couple of her classes were a bit of a blur, but she got through it. I don't think these feelings freak her out as much as they used to, and she is lucky to have good friends that she can reach out to. She also made the morning bus every day this week. It's the small victories. I hope that the first week of September went well for all of you too.

Back to when Jordan was little.

At 17 months, we walked over to the same house that I wrote about when she was 4 months old. Now she was old enough to go on the swing set. The little boy was apparently on the swing that Jordan had wanted, so she threw a tantrum. There was another swing that was basically identical to this one, but that didn't matter. She was a toddler, and she was not getting her way. Since she wouldn't stop screaming and crying I decided that we needed to go home. Neither of us was having fun anyway. When she refused to leave, I had to pick her up. Picture a seven month pregnant woman trying to carry a flailing, kicking, screaming child down the block, while pushing an empty stroller. Not fun. I knew that she wanted to push her stroller, but I was so angry at this point, that I wouldn't let her.

Here is where I begin to self reflect. The question is, what was I so angry about? And this type of situation, as you will continue to see, happened so many times throughout the years. I reacted to her anger, with my own anger. I also reacted with anger towards her timidness and apprehension, as she got older. I am not proud of this fact.

Was I upset that my plan for her to have fun was not playing out? Was I worried about what the neighbors thought, and that they would judge my parenting skills? The answers to both of these questions was yes. I felt as if I would be categorized as a bad parent whose child was spoiled, unhappy and couldn't be controlled. It didn't help that whenever she didn't get what she wanted she threw a fit, no matter where we were, or who was around us.

And with my personality, I just couldn't give in once her behavior began to escalate.  I believed that it would only reinforce the bad behavior. The truth is, when I didn't understand her behavior, it really bothered me. Probably more than it should have.  I think that I am finally getting past this. It's about time, since she is almost eighteen. Or maybe I have just resigned myself to the fact that she is who she is. Her path is her own, and it will ultimately involve me less as the years go by. And that's okay.

Looking back today, it's hard for me not to wonder if my reactive anger towards the situation and towards her, contributed to her feelings of anxiety. Seeing an angry parent would cause any child to feel anxious and out of control. How could it not? The not-so-funny-thing is, that's exactly how I was feeling. Anxious and out of control, but it manifested as anger. I'm pretty sure that fighting fire with fire with a 17 month old is probably not the most effective parenting technique out there.

But just like she is who she is, I am who I am. Getting past the misunderstandings, resentment, anger and hurt, was not easy for either of us. It took hard work and more communication and honesty than I ever thought necessary, or possible. Are things perfect? Of course not. But I can say that today, without a doubt, that I truly enjoy spending time with her. I like who she is becoming, even though we have our differences. And today, thankfully, we are both much less angry.

I kind of wish that I had read this quote sixteen years ago, but better late than never. :)

Original quote by Leon Brown.

Thank you.

Us Too.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Three P's of September Survival: Persistence, Pliability, and Patience

Original artwork by: Ryan Selvy

This cartoon cracked me up. 

All of a sudden, summer is coming to an end. Again.  I really do try to make it a point during the long hot summer days to appreciate everything: the time spent with the kids, the reprieve from racing around from one school activity to another, daylight lasting into the evening, hot weather, taking vacations, sleeping in, staying up late without the worry... I try, but I'm not always successful. There are so many reasons to appreciate the summer. And then all of a sudden, it's over. 

This is such a conflicted time for so many, especially children, that I thought I would write about it. Not to mention that as the week before school comes closer to an end, I become more and more of an emotional, mixed up mess. I'm sure that I am not the only person in the world who thinks that change, well basically, it sucks. I know that it can be a good thing, but I still hate going through it. Imagine how this time of year feels for those who are struggling with any number of their own issues.

The way I see it, there are three things that most people probably need to work on in order to get through this time of year with the least amount of stress and tension. I like to call it the Three P's of September Survival: Persistence, Pliability, and Patience.

Persistence: Firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Well anyone who has kids knows that life is full of both difficulty and opposition... hopefully not on a daily basis. Without persistence I wonder how many students and parents would survive the transition into the school year, and the drastic changes in schedule that it brings.

While enjoying the summer, I find myself wondering how we are all able to get through the next ten months of hecticness. The ability to be persistent can be very helpful. It's like the song goes in the movie Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Just keep moving forward in life. This may not sound all that difficult, but it leads me to contemplate how anyone suffering with anxiety or depression can continue to be persistent during the year. How can someone be expected to proceed in their course of action, if they have the tendency to get overwhelmed and freeze up with worry and fear?

Pliability: Capable of being changed or adjusted to meet particular or varied needs.

The more activities that kids are involved in, the more that this applies to their lives. The same goes for parents. I know some moms and dads who are more flexible than Stretch Armstrong was back in the day. And I have no idea how some kids are able to juggle everything that they do, while still excelling at all of it. Their pliability astounds me.  Jordan once told me that she was one of those kids, before her issues began to interfere. Although these issues helped her to realize her limits, she was not happy about it. Her capability to adjust to what life was throwing at her, began to gradually stop meeting her perceived needs. 

Patience:  The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting upset                    or angry.

This is obviously easier said than done, at least for me. How can anyone be expected to accept or tolerate anything, when it may involve your kid's suffering? And what if it's you who is struggling? Having patience is tough. When most of the family is stressed out and sleep deprived, it's even tougher. When one of your children is diagnosed with Perfectionism, let's just say that words such as tolerance and acceptance, are not usually traits that go hand in hand with that diagnosis.

It is my hope that all of Us are able to embrace the beauty during the change of seasons, realize that each moment in our children's lives is fleeting, and that no matter what, we are able to ease into a calm, stress-free September.

Yours in persistence, pliability, and patience, (I hope)
Us Too.