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.