Friday, January 29, 2016

Dancing in the Rain

Life is not about waiting
For the storm to pass,
            It's about learning to
Dance in the Rain

            All last year was one major storm.  I look back and see the misery through a blurry lens of emotional rain.  Many days, I struggled to find joy.  Joy I found.  I "danced" as I took the puppy out for our daily walks.  My storms are not coming as often, and when they do, my dancing is becoming more graceful.

            Madelle is making strides.  They aren't the strides I hoped for ten months ago or even four months ago, but they are strides just the same.  The area she is working on is getting herself out in the world.  Now, I would like her to do that by going to school five days a week, but she has chosen a different path.  Her choice has been to take acting classes at our small theater.  For quite a while, she has expressed interest in speaking about mental illness.  On wattpad, she has written about mental illness.  This week we are moving forward.  She will go to her first support group of teens this weekend.  I have been told they advocate as a group at different functions.  I am not sure the details, but I am excited for the opportunities that may lead from the group.

            Two nights ago, she came into the living room.  The emotions flew.  She was in the middle of a panic attack about a test she needed to take at the end of the week.  Everything we said was wrong.  She was belligerent.  Finally, I said something very wrong and she had had enough.  She stomped off to her room.  I waited for about twenty minutes.  In her room, I found her sprawled on her bed with the quilt covering her entire body wrapped tight.  The panic didn't come from our attitude about the test or even her teachers.  The panic came from her desire to know the material perfect for herself, from her attitude about herself.

"I don't have an answer to your problem," I told her.  "You need to figure out how to resolve your desire to be perfect.  I will remind you and your therapist to talk about that."  I left her to think about it.  Four months ago, we couldn't have had that conversation.  She would close up to everything until the next morning.  I would be so angry and hurt at her behavior that I didn't handle it well either.  Well, about ten to fifteen minutes later, she came out of her room and was her old self.  We are making some progress.  Yay!!!

Last night, I reminded her of this to talk with her therapist.  He pulled me into the room halfway through the session.  She went on about Life Skills and math.  The work has become really hard in her perfectionist mentality.  We offered up all sorts of suggestions which she had excuses why none of them would work.  Belligerence rained down on the therapist.  She was so worked up she was hyperventilating.  It was ugly.  Eric seemed dumbfounded.  I was excited that he was seeing what we have seen for a year (well, more like 13 years, but now the really bad side of it).  He said he didn't know what to do.  He is going to work on finding a solution.  I want to start doing some research.  I am also hoping that someone at her school has run into a child with this blown out of proportion perfectionism and has some clues and/or strategies.  Here is our next big storm.

Yet, the sun still peeks through the clouds.  A year ago, I couldn't sing with radio in the car.  Madelle would throw a fit.  Lately, I have noticed that we will both be singing AND smiling.  Even at church, she wouldn't want me to sing.  My heart ached, for I love music.  Now, my heart sores as we stand together and sing.  Even cooler, neither of us needs the hymnal for the first verse and chorus.  My memory trips me up on the rest, but she keeps up without the book.  She didn't like me at all.  I frequently hear her tell me that she loves me.  Even last night as she was throwing her fits, she periodically turned to me.  "I do love you," she reassured me.

            Yes, I will see more storms with my daughter.  I am learning to dance in the storms, but more importantly, she is learning to dance near the end of the storm and to stop the rain quicker.

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