I wrote this in June 2012, but never posted it. Life was frenetic then, as you will see.
Please take yourself back in time as I cover some of the events that shaped 2012 for my girls, events that will color their futures for many years to come.
I made reference in a post a while ago to teenage depression.
I had a lot of very nice comments and I didn’t reply to any of them. As you know, this is unusual for me.
That post was back in mid-February 2012. It’s been much busier in the four months since then.
Two of my girls have been in one hospital or another more than a half-dozen times in total since my last post. There have been many ER (Emergency Room or Casualty, for overseas readers) visits, some of which have involved grueling all-night stays. There have been extended stays in units. There has also been out-patient treatment for both of the girls. One now has a temporary Disability order.
A month ago my sweet Brigitte was ready to remove herself from this life. She had multiple plans for making this happen. She had been cutting herself. I didn’t know because of the clothes she wore. I’m not sure if these scars will ever heal completely. She was falling apart and didn’t tell anyone until after she had downed many pills. She’s lucky she picked Ibuprofen and not Tylenol (Panadol) or she would have died. In pain. And leaving behind unimaginable pain for her family and friends. Her depression pushed her to it. After weeks away (for the second time), she was returned to me a while ago, ‘fixed up’ by some clever doctors. Medication has solved this problem for her and she’s as cheerful now as she has ever been. It’s so very strange how a chemical imbalance in the brain can have such specific and dangerous effects.
Do you ever look at or hear about *those* parents that this happens to, and think that they should have seen it? That they should have known it was going to happen and done something to stop it? Or thought to yourself that they’re just not very good parents? I know I thought some of these things.
Living life on the other side of that equation is challenging. If you don’t know something is happening, how exactly do you know to go looking for it. What signs do teens show that are different from normal grumpiness or reluctance to do anything that doesn’t involve sleeping and friends and homework? Maybe better parents are quicker to see the signs…
As of today, one of my girls, my Charlotte, is still in hospital, for the fourth time. For me, the reasons are unclear. It hasn’t helped that she was assaulted while in hospital and police had to get involved — the Major Crimes unit — to consider what charges might be filed against another girl.
A few weeks earlier, Charlotte was causing problems for herself in a different way. She’d taken to exchanging what we will call “sensational” messages with a boy. His dad and I are friends. So, it was awkward to have *that* conversation with him. “Hey, did you know that your son is a senior and my daughter is four years younger? Any idea what they’ve been discussing together recently? No? Well, let’s go for a walk…”
To sum up, child-wise, challenges abound at my residence. Beds are or have been empty. Police, paramedics, and social workers have all stopped by regularly. Reports have been written (with a “no further action required” result each time). I’m a familiar face to the doctors and nurses at the local ER and get sympathetic greetings when they see me yet again. Alone or with my girlfriend. But never with my Runaway Wife. She refuses to participate, telling me that she needs to go to sleep, or she ignores my phone calls completely.
It will probably surprise you to learn that I’m relatively unruffled by all the commotion.
2011 was such a difficult year that dealing with these issues is easier. I’m mentally sturdy now.
Most recently, it has mostly been a case of one step at a time, responding to each crisis as it arises, and pondering what crisis might be around the corner if I don’t pay attention. It has been a deliberate process, even as I have watched the inevitable impact on my job prospects. There are times for fretting and times for simply responding.
It has helped enormously to have a girlfriend, especially one with such understanding of these issues, and one that has provided so much support. Together, we’ve not just weathered my own storms, but been able to work through some of hers too. There’s an entire post that I could write about the two of us. Our story is still unfolding and it would be hard to top the fun I had writing about our early beginnings.