Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The scariest part

People often ask me, "what's the hardest part?" Translation: What is the scariest thing you deal with adopting an older child, from a foreign country, who was abused, neglected & experienced significant trauma? This is it. Look at the photo above. Yes, it's far away, it's a stolen picture. This is what's hardest for me. See this little girl. See her body slumped forward. This is what trauma looks like in our home. Depression, hopelessness, anger, confusion, anxiety all in the tiny body of an 11 year old girl. What you can't see in the photo are the tears. Tears for what has happened & tears for what will never be. The anxiety circles around her over & over. It doesn't allow her to truly & efficiently deal with the experiences life has dealt her. It occupies her brain & interferes with her thoughts, her feelings.

The roller coaster begins with a trigger. There are hundreds of triggers: smells, foods, sounds, certain words, feelings. This time, I believe, it was talk of babies which triggered her. That was three days ago. The initial manic spike was followed by tears, staring at the wall, anxiety, trauma play, excessive writing (this is new), depression, bossiness, negative attitude, manipulation & often targeting me- the mama because this is where most of her issues stem from. This means 7/24 supervision by my husband or myself watching, listening, protecting, strategizing, & waiting...exhausting both of us. So, why is this so hard? Because then, there's me.

The seesaw effect. This is the other side of what goes on with my daughter- me. My reactions, my behaviors, my words to her, my own issues collide with hers. I have dealt most of my life with depression & anxiety. It's dark. It's scary. It is a lonely place & it's full of fear. Most of the time, I feel like I know what to do when I feel myself slipping down that slippery slope of hopelessness. I have found ways to turn it around before I go too far down that road. Because, I know all too well, once I get lost, it's ugly. Add in a daughter, who also suffers from depression & anxiety, but has not yet learned to control it because she is still a child, & this is my scary place.

So look at that picture again. Can you see it now? Her fear. Her hopelessness. Her body silently crying out, "Someone! Please help me!" This is the scariest part for me. I see it coming. I can see it a mile away. Every inch of my body wants to run & run far. I should be helping her, but I don't even want to get close to that line because what if I sink down into that dark hole. What if I can't turn it around. What if the storm consumes me along with her. I can't! I just can't! I can't allow myself to go there with her! I want to help her, but fear is paralyzing.

Tonight, I attended my prayer group even though I thought my husband may "need my help". Are you laughing? Let's just say it. I'm not a lot of help when my daughter goes into "trauma mode". Seriously, he ends up with two trauma kids instead of one. But, I showed up tonight. I asked for prayer. Then I sat down with a glass of wine & showed up for my daughter. She sat down at the table with me. I felt my anxiety rise. She had more questions about babies. I took a deep breath & my anxiousness slowed. I answered all her questions. Then she asked to bake a cake. I only helped when it was requested. I even let her use two square pans instead of the round ones it called for. I didn't make a big deal when they stuck to the pans she said she sprayed. I told her tomorrow we would just frost both cakes in the pans. In total, it was probably an hour of quietly being together. Then we sat down on the couch. Her body relaxed. My body relaxed. Then I began to write. I wonder if she gets this writing thing from me.

The cycle may be complete, it may not. Sometimes trauma mode lasts a day, sometimes it lasts weeks. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. What I know is that I showed up when what I really wanted to do was run. With the strength of others praying, I looked my fear in the eye. Enough. I'm tired of running. Interestingly, when bedtime arrived, she asked to pray. She wanted to pray with me. As my kids have gotten bigger, I don't always pray with them at night anymore. Maybe this is something I should be doing more often.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I am also a blogging adoptive mom and I wanted to let you know you have an awesome blog!