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Sadie, how is your DD?


MaryMak07

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I have to say, I feel pretty down on my parenting atm. Mental health issues are nature plus nurture, and there's not much I can do about the nature bit, but we've fallen down big time on the nurture bit. 

 

It's sobering when you realise you actually failed to equip your child to make it in the adult world. 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I feel the same sometimes with my DC's mental health issues. I wonder, was I not patient enough when they were bitty? Too demanding? But then I tell that voice to STFU. It's pointless and we did our best. The more I learn about DH's family, the more I see how genetic it really is, however. As an outsider for many years, I was not aware of their struggles, but now I see that my DC are far from the only ones in the family with similar issues. It's so strong that it probably would have given me pause if I'd known before getting involved with DH- the family seemed perfect from the outside. I see it now in the kids' grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other cousins, but nobody talks about it. Then, I add in my family's genetic predisposition for things like autism, aspergers, and neurological disorders, and it's a wonder we are doing so well!

 

Lots of love for your family and DD from us.  :grouphug:

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I have to say, I feel pretty down on my parenting atm. Mental health issues are nature plus nurture, and there's not much I can do about the nature bit, but we've fallen down big time on the nurture bit.

 

It's sobering when you realise you actually failed to equip your child to make it in the adult world.

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

I'm no expert on mental illness, but I'm pretty darn sure your daughter's is not your fault.

 

There are always things we could have done better differently as parents. In the realm of infinite possibilities, this is always 100% true. Moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour, ... But, we do the best we can with what we have and know at the time. You can raise two children in the exact same household with vastly different results. No one can know what those results might be, especially when you throw in individual perception.

 

We have a family member or two whose perceptions and "memories" vastly differ from the rest of the group, and even with video evidence, they have trouble accepting reality. It is not anything any one person has done to make them that way - they are just "wired" that way. So no matter how they are "nurtured", they will view it in the worst possible light. It's tough, but it is what it is.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

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I have to say, I feel pretty down on my parenting atm. Mental health issues are nature plus nurture, and there's not much I can do about the nature bit, but we've fallen down big time on the nurture bit.

 

It's sobering when you realise you actually failed to equip your child to make it in the adult world.

Many, many (hugs)

 

I am in the same exact place right now.

 

I'm even pretty sure DD got the "nature" portion from me too.

 

More (hugs)

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I've been where you are when everything went south for us about 5 years ago.  It was awful.   We don't have the mental illness to deal with but oh my it was just awful anyway.  I went into my counselor's one day, bawling my head off, "I've screwed up my kid!!!!"  He leaned back in his office chair, put his hands behind his head and said, "Myyyyyy, you're powerful.  You have THAT much power, that you can screw up a whole person.  Wow."  /sarc off.  he went on to say, "Look.  You were never going to be the world's first perfect mom; your son was never going to be the world's first perfect child.  So.  Where do we go from here...and backwards isn't an option." 

 

I have learned a lot in these past 5 years, but this meeting was really a turning point for me.  He told the truth.  I still cry from time to time, thinking about what I might have done differently, but I'm no longer flattened by it.  We have forgiveness.  And I *remember* (as NOT in "forgive and forget") so that I don't keep doing what I did before.  Remembering is important for THAT reason but remembering to have something to beat yourself up with doesn't do anyone any good.

 

I am so sorry you are in this hole.  It's a bad hole to be in.  I'm sure you can still see my claw marks on the side from when I was trying to get out of that hole.  

 

Hang in there, and do the best you can from now on, remembering so you can learn, not so you can beat yourself up.

 

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I have to say, I feel pretty down on my parenting atm. Mental health issues are nature plus nurture, and there's not much I can do about the nature bit, but we've fallen down big time on the nurture bit. 

 

It's sobering when you realise you actually failed to equip your child to make it in the adult world. 

 

I'm not sure anything makes you feel like a crappier parent on a daily basis than a child with a mental illness. At first, I didn't realize what was going on with her. I tried to be strict, insist she stop "acting this way." I took things personally that had nothing to do with me. Even now I think back on all that and wonder how much damage I did, how much better she'd be if she were parented by the me that exists now (that only exists because of who she is) from the start of her life. I wonder constantly what I should have done differently when she was little. I constantly struggle with how strict I should be. Should I cut her slack because of the challenges she faces or should I be strict so she works to cope with them and overcome them? What happens in a few short years when I'm not there to tell her to take her meds every day, drag her to her psychiatrist if she needs something adjusted? I worry about her future, and feel like I have completely failed so far. Nothing in my life has made me feel more at a loss than parenting this child. I've lost more sleep parenting her as a teen than I ever did when she was a baby.

 

And I have to hide all this so I don't make her feel crappy for making me feel crappy.

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I have wonderful parents who spent a ton of time with me, would do anything for me, and love me unconditionally, always. My mental health issues have very little to do with my relationship with them. Genetics, on the other hand, are a powerful thing.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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I'm not sure anything makes you feel like a crappier parent on a daily basis than a child with a mental illness. At first, I didn't realize what was going on with her. I tried to be strict, insist she stop "acting this way." I took things personally that had nothing to do with me. Even now I think back on all that and wonder how much damage I did, how much better she'd be if she were parented by the me that exists now (that only exists because of who she is) from the start of her life. I wonder constantly what I should have done differently when she was little. I constantly struggle with how strict I should be. Should I cut her slack because of the challenges she faces or should I be strict so she works to cope with them and overcome them? What happens in a few short years when I'm not there to tell her to take her meds every day, drag her to her psychiatrist if she needs something adjusted? I worry about her future, and feel like I have completely failed so far. Nothing in my life has made me feel more at a loss than parenting this child. I've lost more sleep parenting her as a teen than I ever did when she was a baby.

 

And I have to hide all this so I don't make her feel crappy for making me feel crappy.

Many (hugs)

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I have to say, I feel pretty down on my parenting atm. Mental health issues are nature plus nurture, and there's not much I can do about the nature bit, but we've fallen down big time on the nurture bit. 

 

It's sobering when you realise you actually failed to equip your child to make it in the adult world.

 

 

If you didn't beat your child, chronically berate her, or neglect her to extremes, then this mental illness is in no way your fault. Now, if you did any of the above, then I guess you're a crappy parent and should be ashamed - but really, I think we both know that you didn't. Life dealt your kid a bad hand. It happens. It's got nothing to do with your parenting at all. I think as a society we like to believe that we can avert mental illness by better parenting because so long as we believe that, we can believe that it will never strike our families. But that's silliness! That's like thinking you can avert tiger attacks by wearing a stone with a hole in it around your neck! (No tiger attacks in the past year, must be working!)

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Don't let the stupid professionals make you think that! 😬

 

1 in 3 people suffer a mental illness. I'm pretty sure the parent weren't all to blame and many of them function in the adult world most of the time. I know some amazing people who have amazing parents who suffer from mental illness.

 

Hope you guys find a smoother road waiting for you ahead...

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It would be wonderful if we all had the ability to see into the future. To identify with laser-like accuracy our children's future struggles long before they manifest. To have exactly the right responses delivered at precisely the right time and in the perfect tone. To know at every moment what to do, what to say, and how to react.

 

But life isn't that way. (I wish for my own children's sakes that it were.)

 

We can only do the best we can in the moment, forgive ourselves for our mistakes (so much easier said than done), and try to do more and do it better with each day. You're a loving, involved mom who's doing everything she can, Sadie. Your daughter is blessed by that.

 

 

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Hug to everyone who is feeling the same burden of responsibility. It sucks, and you have my 100% sympathy.

 

No, I didn't beat, berate or neglect my dd - but that's a low bar! In particular, I think my parental failing was accommodating too many of what I just considered 'quirks' and not challenging them early. I don't overestimate my power to cause mental illness, but heck, the kid was with me everyday for 17 years - the responsibility for not getting in with treatment early rests on my shoulders. I can't exactly blame the school, lol.

 

Oh, for a time machine! Oh, to turn back the clock!

I feel exactly the same responsibility. Although my brother, my mother and possibly my grandmother suffered from depression, I can't help feeling that I could have done more earlier to help my child. Hugs.

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No, I didn't beat, berate or neglect my dd - but that's a low bar! In particular, I think my parental failing was accommodating too many of what I just considered 'quirks' and not challenging them early. I don't overestimate my power to cause mental illness, but heck, the kid was with me everyday for 17 years - the responsibility for not getting in with treatment early rests on my shoulders. I can't exactly blame the school,  lol.

 

You were trying to be a loving and supportive parent, weren't you? And unless you're an expert on the subject of mental illness, or at least have seen people with this specific condition and know what you're looking for, how could you have known what you were seeing?

 

When we know better, we do better. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had.

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I have to say, I feel pretty down on my parenting atm. Mental health issues are nature plus nurture, and there's not much I can do about the nature bit, but we've fallen down big time on the nurture bit.

 

It's sobering when you realise you actually failed to equip your child to make it in the adult world.

Sadie, many hugs. I have had at least two MASSIVE parenting fails as well. It is indeed sobering, but the good news is that parenting doesn't have to stop just because your child isn't a child anymore. If you keep the relationship, or mend it, you can fix mistakes.

 

Nan

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Please don't beat yourself up!  

 

Out of my four children I would have never guessed my dd would have suffered the worst.  My DH and two of my children had already been treated for depression and yet I never saw this one coming.  She was my happy, bubbly kid.  It hit her at about 16.  In the beginning, I didn't get her the care she needed because I refused to believe it was anything more than a phase.  A year and a half ago she was suicidal and the doctor was pushing to put her in the hospital.  DD refused with DH's support.  Thankfully the doctor hit upon a combination of prescription medications that has kept her more stable.  She still has suicidal thoughts and some pretty big dips, but she is pursuing goals just like your daughter is. When she was at her lowest she had no goals whatsoever. Having goals is huge. DD is very honest that I am the only reason she has not followed through on suicide.  

 

We have a similar story, and I will still say don't beat yourself up.  Depression is not black and white.  There is SO much we don't understand about the brain and how the body's chemistry affects it.  There is no way to know for sure how much is nature and how much is nurture.  I am not a perfect parent (I yelled at my DD when she was suicidal because I was beyond frustrated with her choice to die.  Lot's of guilt about doing that.) but because dd's depression was such a change from her younger self, I know it was a physical/brain change.  Though I will probably never know what happened, I know I didn't do it.  Her body did.

 

Support your daughter, love her, and move forward.  :grouphug:

 

This was shared on Facebook today - "Don't ruin a good day by thinking about a bad yesterday.  Let it go."

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Gosh darn it Sadie, even the professionals who spend their entire lives studying, researching, and working in the mental health care field don't know how to prevent mental health problems. They really don't. And yet we as parents feel all the burden on our shoulders to do just that and beat ourselves up when we can't.

 

I get it. I'm terrified of what may be in the future for my kids, based on family history and the tendencies I already see in them. I'm sure trying to avoid those worst case scenarios. But...lacking a crystal ball...and general omniscience...I really don't know if at any given point I am helping or making things worse!

 

All we can do is try to parent our kids as best we can. You've done that and continue to do that.

 

My parents...had some kids grow up with great mental health and some with terrible challenges. My inlaws the same. Parents are not all powerful.

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I catch myself doing this too, wondering what we could have done differently.  Because in hind site, I can see the little quirks (which we believed were perfectly normal).  He is wired very, very differently from the rest of our kids, and even when I read his baby book, I can see now that it was in him right from the start.  I can also see clear glimmers of the same traits in my dh's family.  Genetics are far, far more powerful than I had ever imagined.  I think in most healthy, normal environments that hardwiring simply has room to stretch and grow and continue.  

 

Sometimes I do wonder, if that same hardwiring had been plunked into a very different family, such as on a quiet farm in the middle of nowhere with no ambitions beyond a very simple life and day-to-day survival, if that hardwiring would have played out in a healthier manner, or maybe would have simply tapered off altogether.  But of course we are not that. 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  to you, Sadie.

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Hug to everyone who is feeling the same burden of responsibility. It sucks, and you have my 100% sympathy.

 

No, I didn't beat, berate or neglect my dd - but that's a low bar! In particular, I think my parental failing was accommodating too many of what I just considered 'quirks' and not challenging them early. I don't overestimate my power to cause mental illness, but heck, the kid was with me everyday for 17 years - the responsibility for not getting in with treatment early rests on my shoulders. I can't exactly blame the school, lol.

 

Oh, for a time machine! Oh, to turn back the clock!

My dad was an awful man, but the public school did more damage to my mental health than he did. I actually sat in a guidance office in high school and begged/cried for help with my depression (and the severe bullying) and was told that I was fine and to move along. My son has severe anxiety (among other things). His kindergarten won't offer any mental health supports unless he starts to fail educationally. Didn't matter what evidence we brought that he needs support.

 

Sadie, please don't listen to anyone who tells you the schools would have done better. Including your own voice. You did the best you could and you are still doing everything you can.

Sending hugs and hope.

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Quote feature didn't work. This quote is Sadie's:
In particular, I think my parental failing was accommodating too many of what I just considered 'quirks' and not challenging them early.
 
 
My reply:

You know, this is something I ponder a lot for myself. I feel torn. On the one hand, as parents we're so often advised to let our kids be who they are. Don't force them to fit some mold. Don't overcorrect otherwise harmless quirks. At the same time, you don't want to start labeling every quirk or random odd behavior as fitting some kind of pathology. Especially if you don't have a lot of experience with what's normal and not. I wish I'd picked up on some things earlier for sure. But we hit the milestones. People with more experience than me didn't pick up on behaviors as signaling anything out of the range of normal. Doctors didn't bat an eye during the well visits or ask any questions that might have resulted in a light bulb moment. It wasn't until later that 2 + 2 started to equal something other than 4. So we're dealing with those results now. Every one of us has perfect vision in hindsight, Sadie. We do our best and hope it's good enough. When we find out it wasn't, we do our best with the new information we now have. It sucks, but it's all we have.

 

ETA: Quoting didn't work.

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Sadie, we all did try to do the best we can.  I know I have had a very difficult road with mental illnesses and learning problems and conditions at my house.  Particularly with my youngest who I did recognize that she has dyslexia at a normal age (probably sooner than a school would have noticed since she is very intelligent) but missed her ADHD(inattentive) and for a while, her depression too.  It was hard to tell depression versus normal mood swings and also how to distinguish between depression and fibromyalgia which she also has.  We had mental health history in our families, but not in us (except for anxiety which I didn't think was enough to stop having a child)..  So we decided to have children.  My kids were seeing doctors fairly frequently.  They didn't diagnose any faster than I did.  In fact, I diagnosed most of their issues first.  But I am not perfect and neither are you.  ANd for diagnosing, so what?  Normal antidepressants don't work on my one kid and it is questionable how well they work on my other depressive.  So diagnosing earlier really would not have probably made all that much difference.  But it has taken me some time to come to the place where I don't blame myself.  For me, the answer has been to rely on God's grace. However you find peace, I hope and pray that you will find it.

 

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I'm not sure anything makes you feel like a crappier parent on a daily basis than a child with a mental illness. At first, I didn't realize what was going on with her. I tried to be strict, insist she stop "acting this way." I took things personally that had nothing to do with me. Even now I think back on all that and wonder how much damage I did, how much better she'd be if she were parented by the me that exists now (that only exists because of who she is) from the start of her life. I wonder constantly what I should have done differently when she was little. I constantly struggle with how strict I should be. Should I cut her slack because of the challenges she faces or should I be strict so she works to cope with them and overcome them? What happens in a few short years when I'm not there to tell her to take her meds every day, drag her to her psychiatrist if she needs something adjusted? I worry about her future, and feel like I have completely failed so far. Nothing in my life has made me feel more at a loss than parenting this child. I've lost more sleep parenting her as a teen than I ever did when she was a baby.

 

And I have to hide all this so I don't make her feel crappy for making me feel crappy.

 

 

Right there with you. So much so. 

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I'm so sorry Sadie!

 

With my anxiety and depression I worry so much about my kids ending up with the same issues.

 

I worry about passing it genetically or through nurture and feel paralyzed sometimes.

 

But all you can do is the best you can do - which you have done and are doing!

 

Pray that you will find peace in the midst of these hard circumstances.

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I'm so sorry Sadie!

 

With my anxiety and depression I worry so much about my kids ending up with the same issues.

 

I worry about passing it genetically or through nurture and feel paralyzed sometimes.

 

But all you can do is the best you can do - which you have done and are doing!

 

Pray that you will find peace in the midst of these hard circumstances.

 

It is not entirely bad that our kids get their genes from us; it means that if we are able to figure out something that helps with our own difficulties there is a good chance of that same thing helping our kids as well; they will benefit from whatever we learn along the way. The fact that others in my family and dh's family have faced a variety of health issues (mental and otherwise) means that we actually have quite a wealth of experience to draw on when something crops up.

 

Things are still head-spinningly difficult, but I do feel like I have a lot more to go on than my own parents or in-laws had. (And of course mental health understanding and resources in general have come a long way in the past few decades).

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It is not entirely bad that our kids get their genes from us; it means that if we are able to figure out something that helps with our own difficulties there is a good chance of that same thing helping our kids as well; they will benefit from whatever we learn along the way. The fact that others in my family and dh's family have faced a variety of health issues (mental and otherwise) means that we actually have quite a wealth of experience to draw on when something crops up.

 

Things are still head-spinningly difficult, but I do feel like I have a lot more to go on than my own parents or in-laws had. (And of course mental health understanding and resources in general have come a long way in the past few decades).

Really excellent points maize!

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We took the week off school this week. I feel guilty about that, as ds is not a little one anymore, but school was the only thing I could chop - sadly, dealing with hospital/visiting dd, working for pay, and making sure the laundry and meals get done all come ahead of algebra.

 

That can always be made up during the summer, or by working a little extra next year. If he was enrolled in school-school, he might still miss weeks due to "teacher didn't plan for this so everybody watched movies" or "flu outbreak" or, yes "family problems". (I had to tell my own kids last week that we're going to be schooling straight through summer. It's not anybody's fault, but due to our own family problems we missed about a month.)

 

I've been thinking about why blaming myself is so attractive a thought. I think because it still gives me the illusion of control. "If I did better, I could have changed this outcome."

 

It is extremely challenging to consider that possibly I couldn't have changed the outcome.  I'm not quite ready to say 'I didn't cause this' but I can sure as heck see that I can't cure it.

 

*hugs*

 

That makes a lot of sense. It's hard to ditch unproductive thoughts - and that's not your fault either :)

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The consultant is a freaking Freudian, who talks over my dd, projects a pathological view of assertive young women and generally dismisses her experience. Awesome. He seems to have never heard of the therapeutic relationship. Am not looking forward to trying to get information from him tomorrow.

 

 

Not happy.

Ugh!

 

I am so sorry. I hate it when the best you can hope from a particular professional is that they don't do too much harm. Is this a person your dd has to spend much time with (not sure what a consultant's role is--is he a medical doctor? Psychologist?)

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All kids are quirky.  Some are really weirdly quirkly.  But most of them just grow up and become (vaguely) normal adults.  So I don't think you were missing big glaring signs of impending problems.  My guess is no one could have told it was going to be a problem.

 

I know kids who were way weirder and quirkier and displaying concerning signs than my kids.  They have gone on to become functioning adults (ok, some are a bit medicated, but still, they function.)  But my kid has not.  She thinks she's functioning, but the reality is that she's alienating anyone who ever tried to help her.  Her favorite weapon is abusive emails.  She's sent these to many professors from college.  And she's been fired from a good job and probably will never be able to get a good reference from them.  Which means she may never get a job ever again.  

 

And we're left having to explain to friends and coworkers that we aren't the cause of the abuse directed at them by our daughter.

 

Maybe she'll grow up eventually.  Maybe she'll get out of the toxic relationship she's in that may be the cause of this.  Or maybe not.  

 

What I find interesting is that she didn't go down this path as long as we (her family) were still in contact with her.  So we must have been doing the "right" things to keep her on track.  As soon as she cut off contact with us, things got really bad.  She was ripe for an abusive relationship that turned her abusive as well, but I'm refusing to feel guilty for that.  That's on her.  And the abuser.  But she should have known better than to get involved with that. 

 

To be honest, I'm not sure I EVER felt guilty.  I jumped right to anger.  And I've never let that go.  Anger's probably not the healthiest thing in the world to hang onto, but better than guilt in my book.  I believe it's keeping me sane.  If I were feeling any guilt, I'd be a mess.

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Psychiatrist. In charge of treatment and discharge, as well as permission for escorted leave. 

 

Who apparently believes the cure for depression is articulating one's anger with one's mother. Sigh. No. She just wants her treatment plan to be clearly communicated. She doesn't want to articulate anger with me. (Who knows, she might, but I'd think that's something she'd discuss with her actual therapist, the one she has a decent relationship with, not with some bloke she's met for less than an hour over the last fortnight.)

How frustrating. 

 

I'm sorry.

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I feel devastated by a turn of events re diagnosis. I can't share details.

 

I can't sleep for crying. All my friends are asleep, so there's no--one I can talk to except here right now. I just wish I could sleep and have a few hours of oblivion, at least.

Oh Sadie, I am so sorry :(

 

I have known people who had at least half a dozen different diagnoses over

time, diagnosis is so subjective sometimes it just depends on the way a particular doctor or therapist is perceiving symptoms.

 

Some diagnoses are more frightening than others though, especially when considering long term impacts.

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I feel devastated by a turn of events re diagnosis. I can't share details.

 

I can't sleep for crying. All my friends are asleep, so there's no--one I can talk to except here right now. I just wish I could sleep and have a few hours of oblivion, at least.

 

I am so sorry, Sadie.  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  

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