Currently, my daughter’s treatment consists of a pediatric psychiatrist through our local hospital and regular visits with a psychologist. She is on medicine to help calm her brain while she learns the tools to cope with her anxiety. Without the medicine, she would be trying to learn tools with a brain on fire. When her brain is on fire, her body is on fire. Eventually, our goal is for her to be able to cope without her meds, but for now, she needs them and I have to be okay with that.
Traditional school is not an option for my daughter, currently. Our schooling involves life skills and diving into her interests. We have had to let go of formal education restraints and do what best meets her needs. Her mental and physical health are our top priorities. Eliminating the stress of completing a curriculum, homework, and tests have been a huge asset to her healing.
Her siblings have handled the challenges well. We have lots of conversations about what their sister is feeling and what her needs are. There are times when my daughter has to handle the chaos of three siblings the best she can, as long as no one is being unreasonably loud and out of control. “Tiptoeing around” is not a way for anyone to live. We all deserve to feel comfortable in our home. I try to help my younger kids have consideration for my daughter’s feelings, but also allow them some freedom to be within their age and maturity. For example, my daughter’s bedroom is in the basement. She shares the area with our video game system. From time to time, the others want to play a video game. I communicate with her and give her a heads up that they will be coming downstairs in thirty minutes. That way, she doesn’t feel like her siblings are bursting into her space whenever they want.
I hope this gives you some insight into our journey and helps you with any mental health challenges you may be experiencing or with a loved one. Overall, the one thing that has made the difference is simply believing my child, especially when I don’t fully understand what she feels. She questions herself and her mental state constantly. She needs the security of a parent and advocate who believes her 100%. Are there times where I have to push her and make her move out of her level of comfort? Absolutely, but I have also learned when to pull back and know when she has reached her threshold.
We take life day by day, thankful for each milestone. While the details of her future remain uncertain, God has been with us every step of her journey. God promises that He knows the plans he has for her. Plans to prosper her and not harm her. Plans to give her a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). I must trust that God knows what he is doing on the dark days and the bright days. In the meantime, she is learning perseverance and growing in her faith. God is growing her character to handle whatever life throws at her in her future.
Next week, I will share some words from my daughter about her journey. Let me know if you have any questions for her.
This is the third in a series of posts for Mental Health Awareness Month. To check out the previous posts, see below: