Monday, November 23, 2015

A Horrible Day


During our time dealing with the mental illness that ravages my daughter, I have talked a little about my own depression, but I haven't talked about the issues of parenting.  Even with a body that hurts almost constantly, I would rather go back to BASIC training and be yelled at by drill sergeants then have the job I have right now.  I have been yelled at, called a bitch and told what a terrible mother I am.  I have had to compromise my morals, my belief in discipline, and eat a lot of pride.  Today, I am losing the battle.

The last two months have been trying to say the least.  I probably mentioned that the doctor switched Madelle's meds, spiraling her down into the dark pit of anxiety.  We are now upping her meds to bring her back up to before the switch.  It is a very slow process.  And today is a very bad day that started last night.

Madelle came out of her room and asked not to go to school this week.  It is a short week of only two days due to Thanksgiving vacation.  Well, she is getting a five day weekend and I didn't think it was appropriate.  The mom and former educated does not approve of skipping school.  I said no and her dad backed me.  She went to her room.  When he went in to ask what pasta she wanted with the spaghetti sauce, she grunted.  Later I went in to have her take her medicine, she refused.  I prayed and listened to music with her.  I talked.

What I got out of her is that she doesn't know how to make us hear her.  She can't face school.  The days will be filled with busy work and talking.  She panics on those days.  I don't want her home doing nothing, so I told her that she would have to do work.  She has reneged on her part of the bargain of only missing one day a week.  Her schedule was to say a prayer for strength, write an essay, do some fractions, read some literature, work on cell research, play her instrument, and walk the dog.

The reality … I am ready to run away to the coast and live there under an assumed name.  I am a prisoner in my own home.  Madelle woke up in a good mood.  She ate breakfast and said her prayers.  She took out her instrument and sounded off.  The next thing I know she is whining.  I ask her questions and she started yelling.  She went to her room and I asked for her kindle.  I had told her no electricity for the day.  She came back and threw it on the floor and stomped back into her room again.

A short time later she comes into my writing room asking if she is a bad kid.  Part of me wants to scream that yes, yes she is a horrid kid.  Instead I cry and say she isn't.  She said she didn't think doing school work at home is the answer.  I don't have to fear homeschooling.  But I still don't know how to get her to school.  She asked for her kindle back.  Nope.  For some reason I will stay strong on this point.  I am also not giving her my computer.  She is in the living room watching cartoons and putting together a puzzle.  Another loss.  I sit here at the computer with tears in my eyes.  Oh, and I haven't the courage to see if I pushed her to start scratching herself again.

I know people judge the situation.  Hell, I judge the situation.  "She is spoilt.  I am not tough enough on her.  I should force her to go to school so she will toughen up.  Live through those panic attacks.  Ignore the voices in her head that tell her she is a freak."  Well, people, be my guest.  You can take over the parenting because we are doing the best we can.  All I want is for her to be a well adjust happy kid with lots of friends and activities, tons of self confidence.

I read books to try to help me through.  The common theme is to take care of you.  Right, how?    Sure, I am fortunate.  I am able to tell myself most days that life is good.  I smile and push forward with my writing.  I spend time with my prayer group.  I go to church.  But on days like today, I feel horrible.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Daily Thankfulness


November is the month a lot of people daily write on facebook about things they are thankful for.  I like the tradition, but I wonder about the other days of the year.  And what about the daily stuff?  I mean, we obviously are thankful for spouses, children, parents, special extended family, and our friends.  This list alone can give me thirty days.  But really, all of them are a given to be thankful for.  Besides, we tend to give thanks to God for them on their birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.  Plus, I am thankful for them 24-7.  When I think of thankfulness, I think of those days when everything goes wrong.  For some people that is every Monday.  For me, it can be when I have had five straight days of living in pain from my rheumatoid arthritis.  Yes, the facebook tradition is wonderful, but I want more. 

Giving thanks can be a tough act.  Luckily for me, I am surrounded by a lot of faith filled people who help show me the way.  A few years ago, a dear friend and I sat and chatted over coffee.  I don't even remember what we were talking about.  Our mornings consisted of talking about children, faith, and our struggles in life.  Well, one day she mentioned an author by the name of Ann Voskamp who wrote the book "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are."  As is my friend's personality, she went above and beyond.  She leant me her copy, which if I remember correctly was signed by the author.

The premise of the book is to give God thanks throughout the day.  The author challenged me to write down events during the day that I was thankful for when they happened.  I failed the challenge.  After doing housework, interacting with my kids and husband, and trying to figure out a scene in my latest writing project, I found myself going to bed with maybe two items on my list.  So, I changed the challenge.

I started listing off my items of daily thanks on my fingers as I drifted off to sleep.  Here would be an example of my last 24 hours.  I thanked God for…

Finger one, waking me up.  With two tough autoimmune diseases, this is big. 

Finger two, coffee.  The diseases can zap me of all energy.  I live on caffeine.

Finger three, for the strength of character for Madelle at the orthodontist.  She did not sleep at all last night because of her new meds.

Finger four, the money to pay for the extra work done at the orthodontist.

Finger five, safe travels.  The roads were wet and slippery while running around in town.

Finger six, 2790 words written.  That is a very good day.

Finger seven, my husband's suggestion for one of my characters.  God timed it perfect because I was writing that scene.

Finger eight, my new walking boots.  It can now snow and I will have good traction.

Finger nine, an easy time with giving Leo a bath.  He tends to be difficult but we used a new technique.  It went much, much better.

Finger ten, for a quick, fun conversation with my dad.

If I am not too tired at night, I do add two more things to be thankful for because I do feel guilty about always being thankful for waking up and coffee.  Also, if I am extra tired and fall asleep on number five, I let the angels take over for me.  There are days that I struggle after the first couple items, those Mondays in life when the day is just crummy.  But I find I talk to God about the day.  We have a great conversation as I discuss my life.  I share with him the troubles I am having and he always guides me towards the good stuff that happened.

I still encourage people to do the November challenge.  In our negative world, seeing thankfulness displayed is a bonus.  As for me, I will continue to count them off on my fingers everyday of the year.  I challenge all of you to give it a try.