It had been nearly a year, and despite my best efforts and constant prayers, the tumultuous relationship with my daughter continued to be on a downward spiral.
I never knew what side of her I would get, some days she was the little girl I had always known, but most days she was a stranger. There were days at a time she refused to get out of bed, filled with little energy she was irritable, angry, and hostile. Followed by days at a time when she wouldn’t sleep, conversations with her were jumbled, and she spoke too quickly to keep up. She spent these days jumping from task to task, never completing one before beginning a new one.
The years passed have taught me the harsh realities of being a mama, lessons many don’t speak about. I have been humbled by temper tantrums and strong-willed face-offs. I have bitten my tongue, supported, and chosen my battles carefully during the awkward phases and bad habits I have witnessed my children go through.
I prayed for clarity and answers but was paralyzed with feelings of helplessness and fear. I was angry and heavy-hearted. I was filled with uncertainty, doubt, and shame.
One year ago, during yet another disagreement with my daughter, I saw the scars she worked so hard to hide, some new and some in different stages of healing. I was faced with a new reality, one in which I realized I am not enough. She needs more than I can give. We need help—professional help.
My child needs therapy. She needs testing. She needs evaluations and possible accommodations. She needs medication.
I prayed our family history of mental illness would skip a generation. I hoped the likeness and symptoms she was struggling with were temporary and would pass.
Coming to terms with the reality that this wasn’t something I could put a Band-Aid over or cure with a hug was life-altering. Knowing the fate of my daughter’s future weighed heavily on a stranger is something I am still struggling with.
So many questions and so few answers . . . Will they be able to relate to her? Will she grow to trust them enough to help her? Are they the right person with the right information? Do they accept my health insurance? How often will she need to be seen? Could I have done something differently? Will this be a struggle for her for the rest of her life? Is medication truly needed, and if so, what are its side effects?
I was in denial, I was filled with rage, I begged and bartered, I was lost in sadness and despair, and eventually accepted that we will travel this road together. The trajectory of our futures changed forever—we are now walking a path I’d hoped we’d never experience together. I will continue to learn until I am an expert. I will advocate for her fiercely, and when given the chance, I will protect her.
She is my everything and the fact she is still here means we have a chance, we have an opportunity, and I won’t take that for granted. She is a beautiful soul with a fiery determination to live.