March 7, 2013

This Is My Daughter …


This is my daughter.

She picks the color of her braces bands to match the nearest holiday or newest season.

This is my daughter.

She whips up scrambled eggs and sausage at the drop of a hat because no matter what time of day, it always sounds good to her.

This is my daughter.

She creates little cards with clever quotes and drawings to tape on her friends’ lockers for their birthdays.

This is my daughter.

She plans her outfits out the night before and always checks with me to see what I think.

This is my daughter.

She fills our home with laughter and joy because she carries a light inside herself that she can’t help but share.

This is my daughter.

From the outside looking in, she has a happy life and all things come easily to her.

But this is my daughter.

And she struggles with anxiety.

There is nothing to make one feel more helpless as a parent than to see a child struggle and despite all your best efforts, not be able to help.

At night we hear her crying in her bed as the clock ticks onward, plagued by a worry that she won’t fall asleep. That worry spirals into a doomsday prediction that she will miss school the next day, causing her to get behind on homework, ensuring that her grades will slip and all will be lost.

There is no rationality to the problem. It exists in her mind despite what she knows to be true and real.

We have tried essential oils. We have tried melatonin. We have tried multiple nighttime routines and gimmicks. We have tried a therapist. We have seen our doctor. And while each of these things have helped in some way or another to lessen the frequency of episodes, none is a cure for her worried mind. There are still nights where we are up because we can hear her sobbing into her pillow.

So we do what we can do. We get down on our knees a lot and pray for her. We tell her often and with sincerity that we love her.  We let her know it’s going to be alright and she is doing great. And sometimes we have to talk her down off the ledge of fear when she can’t get down by herself.

It’s been a rough few months around here. It is so very hard as a parent to not just be able to take this all away because we love her so dearly.

What else can I do? Because …

This is my daughter.


Sue said...

Oh Sam, I'm so sorry for Hannah. There is nothing more infuriating and helpless feeling than to have your mind take over your mind, you know what I mean? To have something that is irrational control you.

Might I suggest that you look into EMDR therapy. It uses bilateral stimulation (in the form of motion or light or something tactile) to help your brain process and appropriately file away fears and trauma so that they no longer fester. It has been a great help to me and it is highly recommended for people with PTSD and anxiety.

I'll be praying for Hannah and her sweet parents. Love you!

The Queen Vee said...

Is it just me thinking that this seemed to have started with the onset of all the hormonal changes occurring in her body.

That seems like good advice from Sue above.

My advice is to continue to love and encourage her.

Anonymous said...

Sam, I am sorry to hear of Hannah's anxiety. Two of my daughters (14 & 16) also suffer, one from social anxiety and one from OCD. Your description is all too familiar. You are not alone, you are doing all the right things and I do think some of it is from hormonal changes. I will include your family in my prayers.

Carmen Lynch

Apis Melliflora said...

I think you are doing all you can...and with love.
I pray that your sweet Hannie B continues to have more and more anxiety-free nights...until it is all just a memory.

The Queen Vee said...

Young women are under so much pressure from peers and society, I have to wonder if this doesn't contribute to the anxiety problem. I read a news article the other day that said Drs are treating girls for more anxiety than ever before. It's a sad statement on how the world is today.

MelancholySmile said...

My issues with depression started with the onset of puberty as well. Such a hormonal soup! I'm sorry to hear Hannie B has to deal with such painful things.

I'm glad that you are aware, loving, and helping to guide her through. I think we all have our trials and weaknesses in life, and empathy plays a big part in helping our children (and us!) learn to process uncomfortable emotions and turn to The Lord. Being proactive about her health and well being is awesome too!

Here's hoping you find solutions or that her mind is eased and soul comforted. Love to you both!

C and Co. said...

I am so sorry for you both. We are going through something similar with our 10 year old daughter. She has terrible anxiety about her body. She feels an ache or a pain and feels she has contracted some disease and will surely die. We've consulted doctors about the various pains and it's never anything worrisome to anyone else but her. I think she is experiencing different growing pains. She is growing like a weed right now and starting the changes. She tries not to think about it but the anxiety is overwhelming and she ends up in tears often. The only thing that seems to help is prayer. Her prayers and ours. We will add you to ours.

JulieB said...

Thank you so much for sharing this about your sweet girl. She is lucky to have parents that will acknowledge it's something real and try to help her. In my own family/extended family, anxiety has been something we denied/hid/ignored and it has made things worse- of course! Regular yoga/meditation helped me through a period of anxiety. I pray you'll find something helps your Hannie.

Anonymous said...

My sister and I both suffered from anxiety during our teen years. Seeing a counselor helped me, but my sister would listen to general conference talks as she got ready for bed to help her stay at peace.

Aiketa said...

I'm so sorry to read about Hannah's struggle. And I understand how you feel, but as other comments above, I think you are doing everything in your hands to help her.
I think yoga, pilates or some similar type of exercise could help her. Also, a therapist/psychologist could be of great help.

I'll be thinking of all of you, but specially Hannah!
All my love to you!!!

Suzy J said...

Isn't is funny how we stumble and fall into each other just to lift each other up? I found your blog long ago and you have lifted my spirit many times. My 12 year old suffers from the same things. (Started when we moved to L.A. making me feel like we made all the wrong decisions and were ruining our poor little girl) only I realized it started much earlier and this is her trial (and now mine as I watch her suffer through it). We too have done all the same things. Darby's anxiety manifests itself through stomach issues (acid reflux) and now panic attacks. I have not dealt with it at times very well. Mostly out of fear. Not being able to fix, or help, or calm, or make better or make sense of it has made me feel crazy at times. THEN to add hormones and teenager sassy coming of age and sprinkle some disrespect in there and I have been driven to my knees on more than one night/day/ a few times a day/ maybe some yelling rather than praying then repenting for the yelling. What I am saying is YOU my friend are not alone, Hannie B is not alone. Your hubby is not alone. Her siblings are not alone. None of it makes any sense. I am sure it will one day. We may even laugh about it.... through tears.? (I think it was Dolly Parton that said that was her favorite emotion...laughter through tears) My father in law always said to "keep your head down and your hard hat on" and a good friend of mine reminded me "when it rains..... it stops" the Lord didn't flood the earth forever. THANK YOU and Thanks Hannie B for being so brave! It is just what Darby needed to read!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear... she is beautiful. Look at those eyes!! How about taking some yoga? Or put some relaxing waterfall thingy in her bedroom? Or one of those sound machines with the sounds of the ocean playing? Distraction is key during those tense, high anxiety moments. Wishing peace for that beautiful Hannah!