I Don’t Know How To Help You…

Something I haven’t talked about in a while, and something I don’t know how far I should get into, is my older daughter. This has been a REALLY trying year for us. I always think of it in terms of how hard it is for me, dealing with her. What I am only now starting to really consider is how hard this past year has been for her.

I found this out, unfortunately, when she was placed on a 72 hour hold at the hospital after making threats of killing herself. No matter how much you want to call “Bullshit”, when it is your child telling you that she has been thinking about killing herself for a year, you do not take it lightly. As a matter of fact, it shatters your heart and fills you with fear. If you are like me, you look back at the last fifteen years of dysfunction and beat yourself up for every kindness you didn’t show, every error in judgement you have made. If you are REALLY like me, you can’t remember them all, there are so many, and you are pretty convinced that everything wrong with this kid is your fault.

Since she has been home, we have been doing so well…or so I thought, anyway. We went to the pumpkin patch, out for family dinners, sat down at home for family dinners. We went to Santa Cruz and to the beach, and we have spent a lot of time together. When she told me she didn’t want to take the medication they prescribed her, I told her I wouldn’t make her if she really didn’t think she needed it. She seemed happier than she had been in a long time. So happy, actually, that I forgot to make her that appointment with the psychiatrist that we were supposed to follow up with.

Last night, it was clear to me that I had made a huge mistake. She had been talking to her boyfriend, Josh, (who I love dearly), and then after he left, she talked to him on the phone again almost immediately. I asked her why, and she said they were talking about something important. Of course, I immediately assumed she was pregnant, and followed her through the house, harassing her, until she broke down.

It seems things are not as okay as I thought they were. She is feeling really, really bad. She doesn’t see the point to life. The world looks violent and hopeless to her. She does not feel smart enough, worthwhile enough, special enough. She feels like she has no friends and does not fit in. She is anxious all the time. She isn’t happy, at all.

Now, as a mother, this is by far one of the scariest conversations I have ever had with my beautiful, smart, funny, wonderful child. I mean, give me a good old fashioned talk about sex and birth control any day over this…Because what do you say? When your daughter tells you she is just unable to find any joy in life at all, how do you show her all the joy around her? How do you help them? If they cannot see it, how can you point it out to them? When you are in a dark place like she was last night, the answer is clearly-you cannot. Talk about feeling helpless. This is my baby we are discussing here…I just don’t know.

What I do know is this- I could not imagine one day on this planet without my child, for ANY reason. God forbid I ever have to face that day. And so today, after a long talk with my daughter, we went and picked up the medication that she was prescribed. She’ll start taking it tonight. And as soon as I finish this paragraph, I will pick up the phone and make that appointment. I will do my part and pray and pray and pray that she does hers.

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12 thoughts on “I Don’t Know How To Help You…

  1. So sorry she is feeling so bad, but that’s good you guys got to talk about it. Hope that takes some of the power out of it and she is feeling better soon.

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  2. I say keep on the meetings for you, because you need to be strong for her, too, and I know that gives you strenght and makes you calm. I’m here if you need me.
    Tell her I adore her and to call me, please.

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  3. I’m going through the same thing with Alex. My conversation (this almost exact one) happened in June and then she seemed better too but then in September a friend of hers killed himself and it’s not been so good again. Hope she is doing better soon Courtney.

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    1. Well, I suppose it’s good to know I’m not alone. Although I’d rather not be alone in good things than bad. I remember that everything just feels over the top intense at that age, but i never, ever felt like I wanted to kill myself or not live. So it’s hard to know how much is drama and how much is depression. All I know is I don’t want to take any chances.

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  4. You know what? The title of this blog is misleading– it sounds like you DO know how to help her. You gave her some space, let her make a decision on the meds, which proved to be wrong, and then sat down and talked with her about it and she’s agreed to get back on the meds, and she’s going to go see the psychiatrist. It’s possible she might not have agreed if she hadn’t experienced this low again… it’s tough when you need medication to even out, because when you’re on the meds you feel better, and so you think you *are* better… and then you figure you can stop taking the meds. I’ve experienced some of this with people in my own family, it’s hard to come to grips with it… but I think what’s awesome is that you let her come around to realizing this for herself while also being there for her, which is really the best a parent can do πŸ™‚

    (((HUGS)))

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    1. Thanks, Ben, but I have to disagree…the title is exactly the way I feel, and anything I do that appears to help is really just luck. I have no idea what I am doing. I am just trying to do everything that feels right. I just adore you so much! I look forward to your replies every blog I write- you have never left me hanging yet. Thanks.

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      1. I think we’re kindred spirits in many ways, including the fact that it’s hard to own up to our strengths and accomplishments. What you’re chalking up to luck clearly looks to me like making good decisions. Was it the perfect decision? Maybe, maybe not, but then no one is a perfect parent. I certainly worry about how my kids are growing up and the decisions I make, not least of which is letting them live with their mom the vast majority of the time. Yes, it’s less chaotic and more stable this way but is it right for them? I don’t know… but it seems to be working ok so far, despite me missing them terribly.

        What’s remarkable to me is that you’re having to be a parent to kids in arguably the two most difficult ages– a teen and a toddler, at the same time! My kids are still a little bit away from hitting the teen years, but I know what teens are like and can only imagine the anguish and frustration of parenting one. Not really looking forward to it, hahaha! But I vividly remember the terrible twos– and my kids were close enough in age that it seemed we went through that era forever– and it was quite a chore! You’ve got a TON on your parental plate, and while doubts and worry are certainly to be expected, it sounds to me like you’ve got a handle on it– especially with the new positive headspace you’re in.

        Granted, I’m clear across the country from you and only get to see into your life what you share here and on Facebook, but you’re an honest writer and a good writer, and what I see in your writing is a good person and a good mom! πŸ™‚

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      2. Thanks, Ben. I appreciate your kind words. I do the best I can (most of the time), and some days I have a handle on it more than others. When all is said and done, what is most true for me is that I love my kids with all my heart and want to do what is right for them. Sometimes, you’re right, it’s very hard to know what that is.

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  5. I’d recommend going to gorge at Pfieffer as much as possible…it always makes me feel better.You two will get through this together…good luck Courtney!

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