Monday, April 30, 2018

So No One Told Me Life Was Gonna Be This Way

It's probably somewhat obvious that our lives were getting more and more complicated. Everyone knows that life can become difficult at times, but until it actually happens to you, there's no way of knowing how (or if) you'll be able to cope.

We were faced with situations which made it abundantly clear that human beings have absolutely no control over anything. I don't know about you, but to me, there's nothing more frightening. Adam was still looking for a job after being laid off (talk about having the financial security blanket ripped out from under you), we had to put our beloved pug dog down after 16 years of the best, most unconditional love possible, Kevin began having involuntary facial tics, and Adam and I were butting heads about him always being the "bad guy" parent.  We were a mess.

Who remembers the opening theme song from the timeless TV show, Friends?
🎜 So no one told me life was gonna be this way... but I'll be there for you. 𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅮 .

Things start to get real when you're arguing with the person who has always been 'there for you'.  Meanwhile, Jordan was continuing her pattern of working on homework from 1:00 to 10:45 pm.  Were we "playing hard ball" by checking up on her and turning off her lights at 10:00?  No we were not.  In my mind, we were failing her.

I'll stop here for now, although the follow-up will include harsh, angry, depressed and hopeless thoughts and words. Yippee.

FYI----Before all of this real-life-stuff began to bombard us, I was a positive, happy, hopeful, animated, goofy chick. But no worries. Today I am back to being all of these things and more.

****An important reminder:  Life can get better. It may take hard work and outside support, but it really can get better.****

Thank you.                                             

Us Too

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Diary of a Pissed off Mom

When all four of your beloved peeps piss you off, you know things are beginning to fall apart. None of this was good, because when a mom is upset, everyone is upset. Am I right?  Please keep in mind that we were all feeling the stress and coping the best we knew how.  Also, please remember when I write the word "cringe" it means I am not always proud of my past thoughts and behaviors, but my reactions are a big part of our story.  This blog is about sharing honestly (even if I don't always come out looking like the Mom-of-the-Year) with the hopes that it might help other families going through similar experiences. And remember, we got through it. :)

Here are some excerpts from my 2011 journal:

Adam:  All of a sudden he decided he didn't like Jordan's therapist or her psychiatrist. He thought we should "play hardball" with Jordan by turning her light off at 10:00 every night, no matter what. That sounded like loads of fun.  So... have we come to the new conclusion that she's been doing all of this on purpose, she's been in total control this whole time, and the anxiety and OCD are nonexistent?  Grrrr!!

Jordan (age 13 in 2 months):  She mouthed off to Adam and told him to shut up.  Oh I don't think so! I never thought I would ever think this of one of my children, but I had written: She really can act like a total bitch.

Cringe.  (Giant)

Kayla (age 11):  Adam picked her up 10 minutes late from basketball practice and she also decided to mouth off to him. She too, told him to shut up.  What the hell was happening?!  She's lucky she even had a ride and that we allowed her to play.

Kevin:  Yes, even 9 year old Kevin managed to piss me off.  I let him watch an hour of TV because he said he was ready for bed. Then at 9:05 he told me he still needed to wash his face. So were you really ready for bed?  I don't think you were.

The end of the world?  Of course not.  But life seemed to be spiraling, and our kids' behaviors were getting away from us. And I hated it.

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

When I Was Your Age

"I'm sad."


"Because everything sucks."

So simple, but also so poignant.  Is it more difficult to be a teen or young adult today, than it was when I was younger? I used to roll my eyes when my kids said they had/have it so much worse than I did. I don't do that any more. Of course there were always kids who struggled, families who had problems, the threat of an impending war, difficult school work, too much homework, drugs and alcohol, broken hearts, bullies, racism, sexism, plain old meanness... 

I don't think any of this has changed. What has changed, is that we are bombarded with ALL of this crap, ALL the time.  And a lot of it does SUCK.

Think about what we can see on a day to day basis. It's beyond overwhelming for adults, so imagine how it's affecting our children. I don't think we have a clue.

I don't have any answers. I tried to take Jordan's phone away when she was a young teen. She informed me that because she was already isolating herself socially, that I would be taking away her only link to her friends, and the outside world. I would be making her life more lonely and sad than it already was.

I couldn't do it.

So what now? Is there a way to slow down the world, or at least your little corner of it?  I have no idea. If anyone does, please feel free to share or comment. 😏

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, April 15, 2018

If I Only Knew Why

Two days after the non-existent picture fiasco (which apparently I was still not quite over) Jordan stayed in bed from around 2:00 to 7:30. She then ate dinner by herself. Needless to say, the majority of the day was undeniably uncomfortable. My brain was brimming with feelings of both sadness and anger, mostly because I had no idea how to deal with her. (For those of you who are lucky enough to  not have a true picture of the inner workings of my brain, I tended to get angry when I felt out of control. And, no, this is not the most productive reaction out there.)

Thankfully that night she went skating with friends.  I was thrilled she was getting out of the house, being social, and being a kid.

So again I asked myself:  Was the reason behind yet another awful day because of  OCD, OCPD, anxiety, depression, (this was becoming quite the list) or was it plain old stubbornness/her desire for control?  If this was all based on her attempt at obtaining a position of control, I would have been majorly pissed. She was only thirteen, and no thirteen-year-old should have total control over a household.

If it was because of one (or all) the aforementioned mental illnesses, then (this part is taken straight from my journal):

All of this is 100% debilitating. No one should have to struggle so much and so often. It's not fair and it's not right. The question is: Are we doing enough to help her? Each time stuff like this happens, and it's happening more and more often, my answer is  No. No we are not.

Is it me, or am I beginning to sound like a broken record?  😒

Thank you.

Us Too

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Mixed Bag

All three of us went into Jordan's next therapy session and I left with my emotions all over the place. It's strange how a complete stranger's opinion can have an affect on a person. If someone were to ask the Before-Mom-Me, "Would you have taken child rearing advice from someone who didn't know your daughter?", my answer would have been a definite "No." But here I was holding on to each and every spoken word with hopeful anticipation.

And these words had an impact on me.  More than an impact. I would have paid anything, rearranged any schedule, and dropped all other responsibilities, if each session was going to be like this one. Those meaningful words were:
  • "Jordan is a great kid."
  • "I can't wait to see Jordan when she is 21, because she is going to do amazing things." --Hold onto this thought because Jordan is currently 20, and I'm still writing the crap out of my journal. :)
  • "Everything in life is filled with both positives and negatives."
  • "You both are doing all the right things." --Phew.
Um. If it's okay with you, could Jordan continue coming... forever. Actually, if you have any open slots available, could you maybe fit me in too?  I could use all the positivity I could get these days.

Not surprisingly, because, well, the subject of this blog is life, there were a few statements that weren't quite as confidence-building:
  • "Some kids are born 'prickly' ".  --You can say that again.
  • "Jordan most likely has OCPD, but this can't be diagnosed until she is 18 years old."   --Well that seems a bit ridiculous.  Does she have it, or does she not have it?  
All these diagnoses and rules. Apparently, you have to be 18 to have a personality disorder. So between the ages of 12 and 17, what are you, an angst filled teenager who is capable of slowly sucking the life from those around them?   (Cringe)

So we continued taking life day by day, meltdown by meltdown, therapy session by therapy session; all with the hope that our beautiful daughter get as close to self-acceptance, self fulfillment, and contentment as possible.

Thank you.

Us Too

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hope and Respect

Two thoughts:

One:  If you are suffering please understand that life can be hard, but it can also be wonderful.  It is possible for healing to be a part of your future.  Hold onto that thought as best you can, with all the strength you have left. 

Two:  We all need to respect and understand that depression is an ILLNESS.  Sometimes no matter what the circumstances, illnesses have the power to take away our control.  

Help is always available:

You can text the Crisis Text Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get connected with a trained Crisis Counselor.  Text MHA to 741-741. 

Crisis Text Line

How to help somebody in crisis.

Thank you.  💔

Us Too

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Mother's Rant

In case you were wondering, I didn't always keep it together. This is one of the main reasons I share our story in Us Too. It's hard being a parent, and in my humble opinion, it's even harder when a child is struggling with mental health issues.  Although what follows might sound repetitive; it is an addition to the previous entry. You may notice that I was experiencing ups and downs similar to riding on, oh, I don't know... a roller coaster:

I got angry. Kayla got angry that we didn't take our family picture. Again, our lives are dictated by Jordan. I know she can't control it.  And now apparently Adam thinks my attitude is bad. Am I not supposed to get angry?? Should I be okay with our plans being screwed up again and again? It sucks and I'm pissed at the whole situation.

Personally. after the whole non-existent picture fiasco, I don't think she should go ice skating with her cousins. At this point she probably doesn't want to go anyway.  She's embarrassed. Who wouldn't be? It's sad and scary that she has so little control over all of this (and we don't have any either).

Now her door is locked again, and basically things are crap.  I'm so sick of this! I feel like I have no outlet. We talk and talk. I talk to people, we try, and it still sucks!

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, April 2, 2018

To Self Soothe

It has been brought to my attention that in my last post, when I mentioned how Jordan "rocked back and forth" that perhaps the mental image it construed was upsetting or unclear. For this reason, I would like to explain with more clarity.

I'm not sure what I would have done, had I been in the room with her during this specific incident. I would like to think my gut reaction would have been to wrap my supportive arms around her, and hold on tightly. That being said, I can't ignore the fact that during many of our tumultuous moments of the past, I reacted with frustration and anger.  Regardless, at this time, I did not follow her upstairs.

And I'm happy I didn't. She was almost fourteen, and developing the skills necessary to "self soothe",  was going to be vital for her development, and for her future health and happiness.

Oxford defines self soothing as:
  • (of a young child, especially one left to fall asleep on their own) stop crying without being comforted by a parent or caregiver.    Been there, done that. And it was not at all fun
  • Also:  Comfort oneself when unhappy or distressed.  Hey. That's what Jordan just did!
Is it uncomfortable to see or imagine a young teenager (or anyone for that matter) going through such internal strife and emotion, that they have an intense physical reaction? Sure it is.

But Jordan's rocking-back-and-forth behavior was a sign of growth. The fact that she was able to calm herself down, regroup, and move past the anxiety... it was a much welcomed glimmer of hope.

Thank you.

Us Too