I haven’t written about anything very personal in a while. Mostly, because in the past few months, Steve and I have been preoccupied, dealing with our eldest kiddo having some sort of bizarre anxiety. It’s sort of like how I imagine potty training a rabid, ferocious bear might be. I don’t want to talk too much about the details, but it has to do with food. We think she might have some sort of post-traumatic stress brought on by a stomach bug she got right around Christmas. Seriously, she’s not been herself since then, and it’s the best explanation we’ve come up with so far. Our pediatrician has chalked it up to a “phase” and this week (after two months of this “phase”) he was subsequently fired. A “phase” doesn’t last months and drive parents to cry and to drink excessively.
I don’t know a lot about anxiety, but I’m learning. I know when I was a little girl I would worry myself until I barfed. A lot. Over the past few weeks, I’ve looked back on that time and wondered what in the world my parents did to get through it. Now, as an adult, I worry a lot about things I can’t control. A lot. I hoped beyond hope for years that I wouldn’t pass that stupid trait along to my kids. And, guess what? Looks like I’ve done just that. The hard thing, aside from feeling like we’re all on a roller coaster without any brakes, is that I wonder what in the world my sweet girl will be like at age 10. Or 15. Or even in her mid-30s. How can I give her the tools to work through this, when, now, she really doesn’t even know how to express what is going on in her head? It’s painful. And I know if it’s painful for us, it has to be excruciating for her.
As a parent, all you ever want is for your child to be happy and healthy. In the past few months, my child has been about half of both those things. She’s not totally happy OR healthy and it’s quite frankly fucking terrible. I have no better words to describe it. It’s awful to try to find words to give her, but not to put words into her mouth. To try to explain to her what she’s dealing with, without over-explaining and confusing her. To try to make sense out of something that is completely senseless to me. It’s kept me up at night and has challenged me to my core. I told my sister the other day that I felt like a black cloud was following me. And here’s the thing: I know in my heart and in my head that people are going through WAY worse stuff than this. Way. I know this. But I also believe it’s one thing when your child is sick with something that can be pinpointed and treated, and something much different to wonder and question what is actually going on with a child who has up until recently been happy and healthy and is now struggling just to put a smile on her face.
I don’t know why I decided finally to write about this. Maybe because I just want people to know that kids really do have issues like this. Kids who are not yet able to explain what is going on in their heads. Kids who are not going through a “phase”. Also, because I’ve felt very alone while dealing with this, and I want others to know they aren’t alone, because this sucks. I don’t know what the solution is – we’ve enlisted the help of a few highly recommended professionals and hope that will help, but, really, all we can do is believe we are on the right path and believe that one day we’ll have a happy, healthy kid again. I’ll just say that I don’t know if I’ve never wanted anything so much in my life.