Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Not Ready

It's becoming more and more apparent to me that the instructions Adam and I were given by Jordan's therapist:  Turn her lights off each night at 10:00 and walk away, whether she was ready for bed or not, was probably the worst advice ever.  At this point we've been living with her for 13 years, and I can't name one time when we played hard-ball, that there was a positive outcome.  Even when she was a toddler she slammed her head into her crib bars, when we attempted to follow the ever so popular self soothing techniques.

There was no way in hell Jordan would have realized her predicament/weaknesses because we decided to leave her alone in a dark room.  I can just imagine her thought process: (feel free to read the next two sentences with all the sarcasm you can muster)   Hmm... Mom and dad turned off my lights, so that must mean it's time for bed. I guess I'll do just that, because they always know what's best for me.        Not in a million years.

I understand the theory behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

  • "a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of behavior and thoughts about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression."

Jordan would certainly be challenged, and she did want to alter the unwanted behaviors that were prohibiting her from getting into bed (straightening up her room, picking at her skin, doing homework, choosing clothes for the next day...) but there was one problem.  She was not yet a willing participant. She wasn't ready to face these issues head on, because she understood that doing so would cause her great discomfort and pain. I've heard the saying, "Sometimes you have to work through the pain to get to the happiness.", but let's be honest,  what 13 year old would be able and willing to do that?

Not ours, that's for sure.

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Being Someone Else

Watching Jordan act and sing in her first musical was emotional and overwhelming. It was almost surreal. Her facial expressions made her look like a different person. She was glowing and animated and appeared to be comfortable. It was rare to see her this way, so it was good, yet confusing.

Was this our Jordan, or was she in character and acting?  I wasn't sure. I do know that the time period before the show was usually stressful and chaotic. I was making sure she shoved enough food into her mouth so she wouldn't pass out, while she was obsessing about homework, costumes and stage makeup.

And after the show, she crashed instantly. The school lobby was filled with excited middle school kids and their families, all exchanging flowers and hugs.  But when I looked into Jordan's eyes, I could see that she was done.  When friends and family approached Jordan to congratulate her, she was about to lose it. She would muster up a smile, but I could see it was definitely time to go home. When we got home we would usually eat our celebratory cake or cookies with my parents, while Jordan voluntarily stayed in her room, alone.

I hate to stereotype, but many of the kids involved in shows and musicals are, to put it mildly, emotional (aka "drama") so I guess Jordan fit right in. :)

Thank you.

Us Too

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Tough Love is Just That

After the journal entry based on the post:  The Gone Me,  I didn't write for almost a full two months.  Those must've been a hell of a couple of months.

When I finally did write, it was about when I took a mental-health day off from work. (I'm not sure if I had mentioned this before, but I was working part time at our local elementary school, as a reading aide. I wasn't utilizing my degrees or certifications, but at least I was teaching again.)  Adam still didn't have a job, so we talked a lot that day. We spoke about how he was a dreamer through and through, and I... definitely was not.  Although this conversation could have been dreadfully uncomfortable, it wasn't, probably because Jordan was beginning to enjoy her life again.

She was involved in the 8th grade musical, and she was loving it.  Yay!  It's really not surprising that she enjoyed the rehearsals and shows, because everything that happens in a musical is on cue. There are never any surprises. The ultimate goal is perfection. This was pure heaven for a kid like Jordan. Plus, these kids loved to sing.  I love how a sense of belonging can make a world of difference in someone's life.

Like I previously posted, things can (and do) get better.  They may not be great, but better is something, isn't it?  Adam still didn't have a job, I was beginning to feel "stuck" in my career path, and 5th-grader Kevin was driving us nuts with his argumentative attitude. But because Jordan wasn't suffering and struggling as much, I was so much better able to cope.

I wrote back in August of 2015, in the post: Love and Awe... that when Jordan had a scratch on her face, I had expected to see it on my own face. I guess that should've been a clue that my future would eventually be thoroughly intertwined within Jordan's.

It's taken me over 20 years to painstakingly figure something out:  this type of codependent relationship wasn't productive or healthy for either one of us.

Thank you.

Us Too

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Caring, Present and Kind

"How many of you out there are having trouble coping with life's simple day to day tasks?  Are any of you feeling overwhelmed, defeated, depressed?  If so, let's talk..."

We don't often hear questions like this asked. And I don't know many people who nonchalantly bring up these types of emotions during a friendly conversation.  It's no wonder so many people go undiagnosed, and wind up suffering alone.

Is this because of stubbornness? Acceptance? Pride? Fear?  Yes, yes, yes, and probably, yes. Should close friends or relatives feel badly because they were unaware?  Absolutely not.  I had a few caring (and present and kind) friends, after reading Us Too, tell me they wished they had known, and had done something to help me through the tough times. I am so very fortunate, but remember it was me, who didn't open up to them. For whatever reason, I kept it in. On purpose.  I think many people do this. 

I'm not sure it's even a conscious decision. It's not as if one morning you wake up and think: Oh shit. I know I've been feeling crappy lately, but today is different. Yep. today I should reach out to my loved ones.  It's more like:  Oh shit, I can't do any of this today. But again, I'm going to get out of bed and go through the motions, because I have no choice.  This really doesn't qualify as a good conversation starter. 

I feel like I lost my theme somewhere... Basically, until a person is ready to let you in, they may be difficult to reach or help. I think the best thing you can do, is continue being present and being kind. 🙂

Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Types of Depression

I've been thinking...

People get depressed for a number of reasons. Many times it has to do with outside influences; the crap that tends to throw people under the life-bus. These may include death, job loss, abuse, illness of self or a loved one (which obviously includes mental illness), loss of friendship or love, drugs or alcohol use... the list can go on and on. And the list sucks.

Sometimes, and this is only my opinion, it has nothing to do with outside factors.  The Superheroes among us struggle because of their chemical makeup, their wiring. What we (and more importantly, what they) need to remember is: this is only a very tiny part of what makes them who they are. It's one single characteristic out of a million wonderful, unique traits that need to be celebrated and cultivated by those around them.

Because even superheroes need help sometimes.  :) 

A little food for thought:
What if the person who is
suffering doesn't want 
anyone to know? 

Thank you,

Us Too

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Gone Me

This was taken straight from my journal. I would like to mention (mostly for my parents sake ♡) that although it may be difficult to read, it's important to remember that every family goes through rough times.  It's just that I decided to keep a log of ours, and then share our story on Us Too:

Shit. I have no patience, no enthusiasm. I don't care if the house is messy
(most times). Adam still doesn't have a job. I hate our lives so much right 
now and find no pleasure in anything. I am thankful that at least I'm managing
to run a little bit. 

I think I may need some medication. All I think about is the possibility of us 
running out of money and losing the house. I've applied for a few full time
positions (assistant director at a day care and a preschool teacher, but no 
elementary teaching positions.) Crap.  I haven't heard anything back 
yet. I hate our lives and I feel like we're failing our kids. I want a break!!!

I hate my clothes but I'm not going to buy anything new until Adam finds
a job, or I get a job with more hours.  I've stopped reaching out to friends 
because basically, I don't like people or hanging out anymore.  It's not fun.  

Life sucks!!

And that my friends, is what depression sounds like. It's not pretty, it's not easy, and it's plagued with  uncomfortable bouts of anger and sadness.  The thing is, when you're depressed you don't control your thoughts. Your thoughts begin to control you.

At this time I didn't reach out for help.  I was so involved and overwhelmed with trying to help Jordan, that I had no time or energy left to take care of myself.  She was my first priority because she was my child, and she was hurting. I would have done anything to help her find happiness again.

Thank you.

Us Too