When Your Child Is Diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression, Part 2
After finding out the horrible things that had been said to my daughter on the bus, and still reeling to the point that my very insides were shaking, I called the school immediately and left a message for the principal. I sent notes to school and spoke with teachers and did everything I possibly could just shy of getting up on that bus and fussing those kids out myself.
But I knew better. I guess it’s just that when you see your child hurting the way that she was that day, all logic flies out the window. I thought about calling the children’s parents and everything, but instead I wound up trying to calmly take care of everything through “proper procedures”.
I won’t go into a lot of details about what we went through at school, because I was – as a mother – wind up badmouthing someone and I don’t want to do that. I am representing one side, and of course when wrong’s are committed, both sides think that they are right. But that’s not what this story is about.
After things at school continued to escalate, my daughter got to the point that she no longer cared. She just did not care whether she was going to pass anything or not. She wasn’t being facetious about it, she just didn’t do any class work or homework and she could care less is she got into trouble for it at school.
She spent a lot of time in after school detention and Saturday school was attended a time or two, but that didn’t sway her opinion either. It seemed that nothing was going to change. We all tried to talk to her about it and tell her what an important facet of her life that her education was going to be, but she couldn’t see it that way.
But there was a reason for that.
You see, I came from a family of five and my husband has one sister. It seems that those of our siblings that either quit school or flunked out were the ones that owned businesses, had high paying jobs and wanted for nothing, with the exception of one. Those of us that graduated fought and scraped for every penny we could just to pay the bills and put food on the table at the same time. I guess to her, that diploma meant more bad than good.
Still, despite all our best efforts, she continued to sink further and further into that dark pit that I hated so much because it was taking my gorgeous, beautiful, smart, funny, talented daughter away! Where her smile use to always be, there was now a frown. Those gorgeous ice-blue eyes that could just pierce your heart were now covered as she dragged her hair across her face in yet another ploy to escape anything and everything around her. That voice that made my heart skip with love and happiness wasn’t being heard anymore.
And I didn’t know what to do!
I tried crying, begging, pleading, threatening, taking things away, grounding her, but it seemed the more we tried all of those things, the further away she slipped. I began to have nightmares that no mother should ever have about their little girls and I simply couldn’t take it anymore.
To say that I was ready to get her to the best therapist I knew barely does it justice.
We turned to a psychologist who had worked with our middle son, who was diagnosed with high functioning autism, OCD, central auditory processing disorder and dyslexia all when he was about five. At that time, he was so self-injurious that we had to learn and practice safe crisis management techniques, taking him to the floor sometimes 20-30 times every day, just to keep him from bashing his head open on a wall or biting chunks of flesh out of the backs of his hands or his knees.
If you had told me that he would be where he is today, a grown man who barely shows any signs of mental impediment to the point that we often have to tell people why he says some strange things now and again, I would not have believed you back then. I was told repeatedly that I should expect to have him institutionalized once he got too big for us to handle.
Mother’s don’t accept that kind of talk though. We just don’t! I didn’t!
That therapist changed his whole life through a “whole person” approach that included school, home, personal likes and dislikes, medication management and so much more. And it was my prayer that he would be able to do the same thing for my daughter, that I thought I was losing slowly, a little more every day.
She wasn’t a big fan of therapy to start with, and for good reason. She had been to a couple that had talked down to her and belittled her without actually coming right out with it. She hated it and hated them for making her feel even less of a person than she felt of herself.
I was so thankful to be able to introduce her to the man that had changed our son’s life. All I asked was that she have an open mind when she met him, listen to what he had to say and judge for herself what she thought before she completely wrote him off.
I’m not sure exactly what they talked about, because once we had the initial family meeting, I left her with him and sat in the waiting room while they talked. All I know for sure is that when she came out, she looked like there was an ever so distant look of hope in her eyes. My heart skipped a beat just “thinking” I saw it.
We got in our vehicle and after a moment’s worth of silence she said, without actually looking at me, “I like that guy.”
I can’t say that it was the visit that changed our lives, because it surely wasn’t, and there was more drama yet to come that would cause my heart to crash in my chest yet again, but it was – I believe – the step that started her on her way back to LIFE.
And I thank God for that every single day.