When Your Child Is Diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression, Part 1
My daughter has always been one of the smartest children you could ever imagine. I cannot tell you how many times I, and others, have called her “wise beyond her years”. Not only is she smart in regards to schoolwork, but she has a level of common sense that most children do not get, even past their high school years.
I suppose I could be biased, but considering how many other people see the same qualities in her that I do, I don’t think it’s all bias.
High School and Bullying
Everyone knows that starting high school can be hard on just about all ninth graders. They have gone from being the oldest kids in school, to the youngest, all over the span of a single summer.
Where they use to be the knowledgeable ones that would often be sent to assist with younger students in their classrooms, now they are that younger student. Regardless of the kinds of rules that are made by school officials attempting to battle the bullying of freshman by the upper classman, I can assure you it still goes on.
Years ago, it was much different. They older kids would pick on freshman every time they were encountered in the halls, with the freshman doing everything they could to avoid it, then the school day would end and so would the trickery.
These days, when the children are pushed around and bullied in the halls, it doesn’t always end there. In fact, these days, it never does, thanks to social media.
Parents Don’t Usually Know
I speak from personal experience when I say that parents often don’t know what is going on with their child until it’s too late. I was one of those parents. Of course, I could tell that something was wrong. My daughter, once cheerful and happy, was becoming more and more distant and withdrawn.
When she started the eighth grade, my sister did a complete makeover on my daughter. She cut her hair, styled it, applied a bit of makeup (no color, just something to make her feel “bigger”), and my daughter’s smile was as bright as the sun!
She was happy and ready to take on the world! She met her boyfriend there, and she is still with him after two years. Funny that not a single boy ever caught her eye or made her think twice until this one, and I think we love him as much as she does. He has made the whole ordeal a lot easier on her, that’s for sure!
Fast forward to high school, and that’s when things started changing. I knew there had been some things said on the bus towards the end of the eighth grade year, but since “kids will be kids” is what all the teachers say, I really didn’t think anything about it.
Add in the fact that my daughter never once gave any thought to social media. She does have a Facebook account, with about thirty “friends” on there, and most of those are family. No Instagram, no Twitter, no Snapchat, nothing of the sort. It really didn’t concern me much, in fact, I was quite happy about it. To me, as a Mom of a beautiful teenage daughter, it would be one less worry I would have to shoulder.
A few months into the ninth grade is when she began to latch onto her hooded jacket. Every time I saw her, she had her now-long hair pulled around her neck over one shoulder and her hood up.
The only time she was without the hood was in the summer, during which she would rarely even come out of her room. When she did, she was watching comedy videos on YouTube, with her ear buds in, paying little to no attention to anyone else. I later learned that watching comedic videos was the only way she felt she could even smile.
For a long time, I let it go, thinking it was just her being a normal teenager, especially now that a boyfriend was involved. She continued to distance herself from everyone, including family and friends and could rarely be coaxed even to come and sit with us to have dinner.
She didn’t want to “talk about it” when I asked her what was wrong. She said everything was fine, she just didn’t feel good and wanted to be alone. And I, not knowing any better, didn’t know of any better questions to ask.
I Found Out
Then one day, she got off the bus and walked into the foyer, like always, with her hoodie pulled over her face, like always. Only this time, when she rounded the corner into the kitchen, she burst into tears and for the first time in a long time, she fell into my arms and let me hug her. We both cried, and I, not even knowing why, didn’t ask anything for several moments.
When I finally did, she began to tell me about what the kids at school were saying to her and her boyfriend, and this continued onto the bus, and she simply couldn’t stand it anymore.
They called her boyfriend names, and once she defended him and stood her ground, they began to call her names as well. They told him he didn’t deserve a girlfriend because he was gay, and that my daughter was “sick” and “useless” if she had chosen to be with him.
The final straw, that happened that day, was that they had told her that if she weren’t going to do any better for herself, that she should just go ahead and kill herself and do the world a favor.
To say that I completely fell apart inside is an understatement I cannot even begin to clarify! I was angry, hurt, brokenhearted and a slew of other emotions I couldn’t even put into words. It was all that I could do to hold it together like I knew I needed to for my daughter.
I assured her that she was not unworthy, or useless, or sick or anything else that they had decided to call her. I told her that my life would be over if anything were to happen to her, and the rest of her family felt the same way. I told her that her boyfriend would surely say the same thing, but she went on to tell me that she wasn’t telling him everything.
She didn’t want to see him hurt.
And that is so like her! Her heart, breaking in a million pieces, and yet she wanted to shield him and us from the pain that we would go through if we knew how badly she was being bullied, teased and taunted.
And so my knowing began.
Meet Stacey Lynn Wells
Stacey is a freelance writer, blogger, wife and mother from Kentucky. She has won The Versatile Blogger Award and is a member of the Freelance Writer’s Union. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing music, photography, camping and fishing.
Scribbles & Sustenance: www.staceylynnwells.com