Sunday, August 31, 2014

This is my heart

High needs.

That's not the label anyone would want to put on their child. But that's what I have to come to terms with. I have high needs children. And it has broken my heart as a mother.

Typing this is very difficult. I have many emotions and thoughts running through my head. My stress level is sky high. My kids and their dad and I are struggling every single day to figure this all out. The little girl still inside of me is feeling very, very lost. 

My son is a middle schooler who was recently diagnosed with ADHD, although we know this disorder has plagued him for years. This past week we added another official disorder to the mix. Anxiety disorder. What does this mean? It means treatment is beyond the scope of our family doctor and now we venture into the realm of specialists. We have choices on which route to take and we are weighing those choices. Just when you think you're making steps to help alleviate the symptoms of one disorder, something new pops up that completely overshadows the progress. The cry of my sweet pre-teen cuts through me and brings me to my knees in helplessness. 

My daughter is in fourth grade. For a very long time now we have known that her "issues" are not normal. People laugh and warn us "just wait until she's a teenager." Yes, she's a girl so she gets emotional and obstinate and difficult. I have blown off a lot of the misbehavior as merely being a product of her gender and age. But this year is different. I can't blow it off any longer. Something is seriously wrong and it's beyond my capabilities as a mother. She is defiant to an extreme level, she throws temper tantrums for hours, she cries at the smallest problem, she blames others for everything, she says very mean and hateful things to her parents and brother, she thinks life is unfair, she fails to listen to any kind of reasoning, and I believe these problems are now manifesting themselves in physical ailments like acid reflux and extreme insomnia. Just about every single day she displays these behaviors....for us. But rarely does she do any of this at school. On the flip side, she can be incredibly affectionate and loving and the majority of the time this is what she displays to the outside world. But home is different. This is where the rage comes in, and it's broken me as a mother. The worst part is that it's making my son's anxiety even worse. He can't deal with having a sister who treats him so poorly. 

I am in my own state of depression and anxiety and the stress with my children is preventing me from getting better. I want to be better, and I'm doing everything I can within my own power to improve my emotional problems. But I'm out of solutions and I need help. I am armed with the names of many different doctors and am lining up as much help as I can get.

Why am I writing all this out? Because I'm tired of hearing how wonderful my kids are and then feeling guilty for being so unhappy. Because I hate feeling like I have failed them and I need to know I'm not alone. Because I need a name for what is wrong with my daughter and I need to know how to fix it. Because I need people to understand why I had to quit my job and why I'm not sure if I'll be going back to work anytime soon. This has consumed my focus and it's unfair for others to depend on me right now. 

I created brilliant and wonderful children and I want to be a happy and content family unit. I love my children with every ounce of my being. But none of this is normal and it's not going to "pass" anytime soon. So if you think I seem distracted or distant or stressed....it's because I am. 

Admitting all of this feels good in a way. I don't want to feel like I'm hiding anything from my loved ones. But admitting it has also been incredibly difficult...the feeling of failure is ever present and putting it all out there makes me feel naked and vulnerable. I am not a perfect person nor am I a perfect parent. I've been dealt some crappy cards. I'll take it one step at a time trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

17 comments:

  1. You are not alone. Even though my children are young so most of their actions are probably age related, some are not. Hunter has a bad temper and throws fits for hours over everything. He doesn't want to do anything we ask and won't go to bed for hours after we put him in his room. He screams in my face and says hurtful things but never for others. It's sad to think my child likes others more than me. Going to the store with both of them is frustrating and stressful. Cambria cries till I pick her up out of the cart and hunter doesn't listen to anything and won't stay with me. I have tried many things to calm them down but they throw ridiculous fits. As I type this hunter is screaming at me for telling him to stay away from another kid I watched because he was stealing her snacks and she kicked him and he continued to do it after I moved him. By the way he already ate twice as much as her. It's very frustrating as a parent when you don't know what to do to help them be better and understand there are better way to vocalize their problems. -kat

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    1. I worry that because hunters biological dad has many mental problems that hunter has inherited them and is already showing signs of them. The fact that he gets to visit said person is not benefiting since they do not help try to teach or discipline hunter but instead lets him do whatever he wants. It takes away from the hard work I put in trying to help hunter.

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    3. Thank you, sweet niece, for sharing so much with me. We are in this together! Love you

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  2. I'm sorry to hear this Steph, I can imagine this is heartbreaking. I don't have any great advice, but you will be in my prayers and I will be sending positive thoughts your way. If there is anything I can do, I would be happy to help you ANYTIME with ANYTHING. I am not just saying it, I mean it. So please don't hesitate to contact me.

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    1. Thank you!! You are such a wonderful friend!

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  3. Oh grr, I typed a response and it was lost. Just fyi in case it eventually comes through. First time reader of your blog, but this post really resonated with me. Your experience sounds incredibly similar to ours with our two daughters. Older is like your son, younger is like your daughter. My husband's and my feelings are also incredibly similar to yours. It is so overwhelming, especially when there isn't a lot of support. Wish I had advice, only empathy. Hang in there and keep working at it. That's what us mothers do, right?

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  4. I'm so glad you found my blog and it's good to know we aren't alone!! Thank you for sharing with me

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  5. While I can't relate or offer any advice for you since I am not yet a mother/parent, I can admire your strength, courage, and bravery. I can also try my best to be a helpful friend, and I am sending all the love and prayers I possibly can your direction. It may feel like you're alone at times, but I pray that deep down you know that you're NOT alone because there are so many people that love and care for you and your family! Lots of hugs and prayers for you!

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  6. Dear Stephanie, i know that it so very hard for you not to have Trish to talk things over with, Im tearing up as Im typing this. Please try not to be so hard on yourself. I tell my kids all the time that in this day and age, raising children is harder than ever before. I can only guess, that is because we have moved forward so fast technically and with all the pollution in our world, it has to have a diverse effect on our children. Dont lose your faith in God. Give it ALL to Jesus and He will take care of everything dearheart. You are not alone, many, including my kids are going through similar issues. You are in my prayers Love your old neighbor Yolanda

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  7. I cant begin to understand how you feel but to say the fact that at times papa insinuates that he thinks im fat or we argue over the smallest of things doesnt help. I can understand the acid reflex and have had it happen to me twice and it is by no means pleasent. I love you and hope i can help or just be there for you by any means possible.

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    1. I love you, sweetheart!! We've been through a lot, huh?? Miss you!

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    2. Jocelyn if you are ever feeling overwhelmed call Caitlin. She deals with all sorts of anxiety. She can totally relate to all you've expressed here. if you need her number just send me an email message :) Love you!

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  8. "I hate feeling like I have failed them and I need to know I'm not alone." You haven't failed your children -- failure would be the exact opposite of what you're doing. And you're not alone, because you have family, friends and a host of Internet people who have your back. My best friend's 13-year-old son is on medication for ADHD, and she battles depression. She fought the medication when her son was younger, because she didn't "want to be one of those people who medicates their kid to make their own life easier." She finally gave in when it was affecting his grades (failing out of elementary school...), and she was amazed to see him actually read entire chapters of a book -- which was something she'd never done because she had a very dysfunctional childhood without anybody to care if she got an education. Like you, she's gone to many doctors and has been to specialists. And because of her determination, her son is doing well in school and actually talks about college. It's still a battle, and teenage-hood is bringing more drama. But her son loves her, and she loves him. And in the meantime, she fights for her own happiness.

    Anyway, I said all that because I think MANY people know others who are in similar situations as you. (Another friend of mine quit her job last year to also focus on her son's similar troubles.) We may not be able to relate personally and directly, but we also don't think you're alone or unusual. You're a good, determined mom who wants the best for her children. I only wish every parent could do half what you've already done -- then we wouldn't see all the terrible news headlines all the time.

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  9. Steph this took a lot of courage to post and I can relate on so many levels. Caitlin has anxiety disorder to the point I had to pull her out of school so she could finish high school online. If you need to talk I am a good listener. You are not a bad mom by any stretch of the imagination or a failure. I personally found that someone else going through the exact same thing I am comforting. I really would like to talk to you more about this despite the age difference between our kids because I may have waited too long to get the help they and I need.

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