I asked my daughter to write this article with me, since it deals with her anxiety. We’ve written our parts of the story and woven them together to give you both a mother’s perspective on discovering your child has a mental illness as well the child’s own perspective. I’ve made the decision to simply use my daughter’s initials rather than her name.
CJ: Good progress was made in the first few months. Over the summer, our psychologist (a mother of two boys who are slightly younger than my own children) has limited hours. We didn’t go in to see her, but wound up needing to make appointments again that fall. School and a boyfriend (and the breaking up with said boyfriend) made her sophomore year of high school pretty crazy. And I was learning to read my daughter’s emotions better, too. With that, I often asked her what she wanted me to do, because sometimes – okay, oftentimes – there was nothing I could do to help.
I have to say that one of the worst feelings is the one that comes about from being completely unable to help your child overcome a problem. I’ve learned that there’s nothing I can do to fix her anxiety, aside from bringing her to someone who can help her. But I’ve also learned to be a better listener along the way. When my daughter comes to me to discuss her emotions, I tune all the way in.
This spring, something new happened. As we were preparing to wrap up her junior year of high school, my daughter came to me and said that she felt like she needed to talk to her therapist about starting medication for her anxiety. Coping mechanisms weren’t doing as much as they once did, and it seemed to be time to explore new avenues. While we had kind of chalked it up to Seasonal Affective Disorder, it wasn’t really lifting much with the increase of light and warmth as we moved into spring.
I had no problem with her wanting to get more help. However, I was concerned that this would mean that we’d need a new therapist, since only a psychiatrist can prescribe medications. …
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Text and Photos © Christine Johnson
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