“It won’t happen to my child”
I hear that a lot from people who think their kids are invinsible from any harm. They will never become an addict and they will never have any mental issues because “its my child”. Well guess what IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD, god forbid it IS YOUR CHILD. What then?
I feel myself saying that with my daughter. Our Emily. Emily is so incredibly sweet, caring, feisty, head strong and also a child with extreme anxiety. It started when my father in law died when Emily was 5. She didn’t really understand it at first. All she knew was that “Pappy Ed wasn’t here anymore” But fast-forward a couple years she now fully understands why Pappy Ed isn’t here anymore. Dad got sick and was in a rehab for lymphoedema for a little while. He ended up having to be intubated and was shipped to Upmc East for a couple of weeks. He was in the ICU so the kids weren’t able to see him. Then when he got transferred to Upmc Presby they weren’t able to see him as well because he was in ICU. So when we got the call that he passed it didn’t really hit her. All she knew what that he was gone. There was no funeral or anything because it was what dad wanted so they never really got a chance to say goodbye. So whenever someone got sick she would freak out hysterically because she associates being sick with dying because that is what happened to Pap. I have had several surgeries and she would freak out because she thought I would die like Pap. It got to the point where we had to hide the fact that we were sick so she wouldn’t freak out. We started going to a grief support group called Hopeful Hearts. And they have been an absolute blessing. She was changing back to the Emily was all knew.
Then damn Rona hit. And EVERYTHING she new as normal was no longer that way. And her anxiety came back 10xs worse. After a while of online school she started having really bad trouble trying to concentrate because it was just to much (and I get it. It was a lot for a 9 year old to try and process) also not having dance class during this time really made her upset too. So she made the bold decision to head back to school in person and she has been thriving. Then came my mom’s cancer diagnosis. I was not home as much because I have been taking care of my mom. So when I am home I’m flat out exhausted. Mentally and physically but trying to give everyone the time they need with me so they don’t feel pushed to the side. But that hasn’t worked. So her anxiety crept back into the picture. But this time her teachers noticed that she was daydreaming more and picking her fingers. Hearing this from her teachers my heart broke. This awful cycle of anxiety and depression has continued and it is now with my daughter. My sweet/ but feisty Emily. I can’t let that happen. No matter what happens I will be damned if she will experience the pain that I have felt. She also gets scared that I will start “drinking out of those little cups again” (a.k.a shot glasses) because I have been so stressed out. I didn’t relize how much my drinking did affect her. At such a young age I didn’t think she would understand it. But she did. And boy was that a shot to the heart because I am part of the reason of her anxiety. I promised her that mommy would never drink out of those little cups again because I never want to hurt her or her brother. We got her into a psychiatrist who will come to her school and have sessions with her. I’m am praying that all of this will help her so her nerves can calm down and just let her be a typical 9 (almost 10 year old next week)
I feel like I have failed like a parent because of the things not only I have caused but other emotions that she has experienced. I didn’t protect her enough. And that hurts me to my soul. So my mission is to make sure that she knows she is loved. That her feelings are normal and we are going to find new ways to cope and that mommy will always be here for her no matter what. She is definently my mini. But this part of me I don’t want her to experience. I want her to continue to be the Emily that is headstrong and also loves with all of her heart.
Parents. No matter their age. DO NOT DISMISS their feelings. Because you never know what road they will end up going down. We gotta protect them at all cost. And that is what I will ALWAYS do. Protect them with my entire heart and soul.