“That was an appropriate reaction,”were words a friend said after I explained a recent outburst from Riely. Words I needed to hear andremember. Sometimes I get caught throwing everything into the depression basket. Wow, how unhealthy to label everything or blame everything on one diagnosis?
I’m sure that isn’t one of my better parenting acts.
“Oh, she is acting this way because of depression or anxiety!” No, she is acting this way because she is frustrated as all get out and needs to let off stream. She is acting like a 17-year-old! She is acting that way because she has a temper! I’ve acted the same way! Maybe even recently!
Yes, some actions and choices are colored by the disease and a lack of clarity during certain times.
But, to throw everything into one basket has the same effect as when I washed Alan’s white t-shirts with my new red shorts! He was none too happy wearing pink undershirts! And it still didn’t get me out of my turn doing laundry!
Sometimes the choices teenagers (really any of us) make produce unwanted outcomes. It simply is a part of personal growth. I find myself struggling between blaming these types of choices on the fact that Riely lacks clarity due to depression or that she is simply acting like a teenager.
Come to find out, I too lack clarity at times!
It gets tiring sorting these things out. Maybe that’s why I created the big depression basketto hold everything! That isn’t fair to Riely. It is a way of making excuses for her. Excuses she doesn’t need and never asked for!
I am sure these excuses stunt her maturity at times. I know without a doubt that Lynn, her older sister, watches on with skepticism. Alan also raises questions about the excuses. What the heck am I dancing around?
I have discovered it is helpful to have an objective person to talk with. Talking with someone, retelling events and experiences, gets me out of the conversation in my head. Me talking to me can be quite frightening!
Often someone else gives a perspective that is fresh, an angle I am unable to see on my own. Or that I simply need to hear out loud. I am lucky in this department. One friend, Miggy, is beautifully blunt and honest. I recall ranting about Riely’s boyfriend and what I wanted to do (probably beat the crap out of him.)
I was asking Miggy's thoughts on an action I was wanting to take. She looked at me and said, “Do I really have to say it how ridiculous that is?” I replied, “Yes, I just need to hear it!”
What a blessing.
Alan and I also have gone to counseling together so that we can better understand depression and anxiety. We need support and knowledge in order to parent as best we can. I also go separately. Seeing Dr. E allows me to speak unfiltered.
He doesn’t give pat answers. He listens, unjudging. Dr. E asks questions so that I can reflect and discern the answers that are true for me. Oh, he makes suggestions now and again. Some I take, some I stow away.
The realization of throwing everything into the depression basketwas just the beginning. With the new awareness I have my work cut out for me! I can tell when I am getting tired and need bolstering. Tossing things into the depression basketcan be a way of avoiding the actual teenage problems.
Maybe I thought she would outgrow both the teenage years and depression. However, not dealing with them separately means the “teenage” years could creep well into adulthood. Yeah, I want a 32-year-old teenager on my hands!
So, when I find myself tired and beginning to lump everything into one basket, I ask for help. Oh, not right away! That would make too much sense! Usually I bury my head in the sand for a time if I can. Avoidance!
Then I muster the strength to ask Alan (like I should think twice about this!) He is a hands-on dad. But, because of his travels, needs to be made aware of things occurring while he is gone. Or, I make a counseling appointment. Or call on a friend.
Then I look deep within for discernment, seeking God’s inner wisdom and courage. This should probably be the first step! But again, that would make too much sense! I have to say, the longer I am at this, the closer to the top this step becomes!
But hey, learners gotta learn!