Monday, February 07, 2011

684


I feel very at ease this year. I know we're only a month in, but considering how bad I was feeling, I'm amazed at myself.

At the end of last year I was beyond desperate with how things had evolved with Leila, kinder and my reaction to it. I can look back on it now and see just how on the edge I actually was. Aside from mild PND following Leila's birth, I can't think of any situation I've been in where I've felt more stressed.

I felt useless as a parent and judged every decision I made with negativity. I couldn't see a way forward. It was tied up with Leila's unhappiness at kinder, her separation anxiety and anxiety in general and I just had nothing left.

I felt I had to do something and in the end sought professional help and starting seeing a psychologist specialising in children. I went along to that first session in December thinking that she was going to give me tools, a written list preferably, telling me what to do to make life better for Leila and in turn us.

I don't know how many of you have ever been to see a therapist of some sort, but I was mildly amused to find it's just like the movies. The room has two comfy chairs, a clock on the table between us and the psych says "So, ....." and then waits for you to speak. I think they must spend a lot of time practising their staring down because I tried not to speak on occasion and yet she had much more will power than me, so you blab on to fill the gaps.

There have been no revelations, there has been very little feedback at all on her part and actually no proactive advice and yet somehow, I feel a changed person. It's very very strange. I am guessing that the act alone of simply talking to a stranger and venting in a way somehow is very cathartic. After the first session I wept that evening and Geoff kept asking "What did she say?" wondering what had upset me so. There was in fact nothing, it was just the release of it all.

I've tried to explain to friends how I feel different, because I really really do and think it's noticeable. I think when you get to the very depth of misery you realise that you can't go any lower, that you have to do something about it, you simply have to. Somehow, and I can't explain why because it wasn't conscious, but somehow I decided to simply not be upset anymore, to be happy. I stopped fighting against Leila and started being there for her in a very basic and honest way. It seems so simple now, but she's really responded, is more confident, is happier and I certainly am. Her reactions fed of mine so much, we fed off each other's miseries and it was awful. Now we've turned the corner and we're both feeding off each other's happiness and it's infectious. It was actually never really about her and more about me.

I'm a very self sufficient person and although I've had difficult times in my life, I've always had the attitude that I can work it out for myself. I'm not a therapy convert, I'm not addicted and for now have no need to go back. But I won't suffer through a situation again, not when the simple act of talking to a stranger, albeit for an hourly rate, can turn your life around.

14 comments:

Julia said...

Wow, what a journey you've been on. It takes courage to go and speak to someone and good on you for following through. So happy to hear of your happiness on flip side of it all. At the end of the day many of us have the same fears and worries for our children. Leila is lucky to have you. You are clearly sensitive to her and her needs. x

Selina said...

It is fantastic that you are feeling better about and within yourself! Good news.

Michele said...

as both a mum and a psychologist before I was a mum this is really interesting to hear (well ...read). Glad there has been a turn around. Something in your post I think the part about 'being there for her in a very basic and honest way' made me think of an approach called Circle of Security have you heard of it. It is all about attachment, the relationship between child and primary caregiver and not at all saying this as think you have 'attachment issues' please dont misread but thought of it as it has as one of its main components this idea of "Being With' as a concept meaning the parent/adult "Stays with" a child and with strong feelings both emotionally and physically BEING WITH the child - present and connected and calm (easier said than done) and acts as a CONTAINER for the childs feelings both positive and negative and 'loans them our strength". Great program. Google it for more info. Also a great book by Otto Weinenger called Time In Parenting and then Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child by Daniel Goleman and x? Gottman I think as well. And there is the No-Cry Sep Anxiety book too by Elizabeth Pantley. Ok thats a lot of info sorry if too much or unsolicited advice - just cant help myself so much info out there and sometimes hard to filter through it all to the good stuff : )

Michele said...

PS if you want a good insight into "therapy" you must see the (v addictive) HBO series called In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne. Aired in the US with one show a night roughly = to one session with the therapist and each client then week ends with his supervision session. Saving up for the box set. V v cool show

LJ said...

I cannot tell you how much I needed to read that wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. xx

Kristi said...

we went a few months ago regarding quinn's eating or lack of eating. i thought we were there to talk about quinn and within 15 minutes, the therapist turned to me and said do you carry a lot of anxiety. oh yes thats me, little miss anxiety. without says the words i got what he was saying stop putting it on your son and he will eat. i am glad your are feeling good, long may it continue.

Lena said...

I'm so glad to read that you are feeling better - and Leila as well. Lena xxx

Feronia said...

I think it is definitely a matter of talking to someone outside the situation, who is able to have more objectivity about it. It is about allowing you to talk, sometimes very subtly guiding the conversation, and even guiding the silences. I'm so glad it's done some good :)

Sarah said...

Hey Vic,

I am in the same boat. My Aspergic 12 year old. We are ripping shreds off each other. HUGE caboom and then he could see what he was doing to me and I to him. We are the adults so we like to think it is all us and yes I am with you on that but also the child needs to realise what they say and do also effects us - we are also human and vulnerable.

We have phases here - all seems managable and okay then it starts to spiral down ward... holidays - long ones don't help as he gets bored - he needs the routine and stimulation. More than I can give with what I am expected to do and can do!

I like what Michele wrote - some good stuff there...

I am so pleased you have found some peace. I on the other hand am heading back to the peace stage at the moment. I am taking some action - on a different path now to avoid the phases let alone the depth they can get to. Respite, outside help and etc. Lets hope I get there and it last longer and I then feel I am with my son and I am enjoying and loving him as much as I want to!

Sandy said...

Good for you! I really feel for you. I am so sorry that things got so desperate. I wish I could help alleviate some of it, lending an ear or something. You're doing a good thing for yourself and Leila. I am proud of you. It's really hard to seek professional help. I've been to the therapist for myself and I can honestly say that she really opened my eyes to things about myself that I kept missing or overlooking. Best wishes to you and Leila, always!xoxo

PlumStitches said...

that's great you're feeling so much better. i do think therapy helps you put it all in perspective. maybe it doesn't provide all the answers, but it certainly can provide relief and an outlet.

two little buttons said...

its a hard journey parenting, but Leila is so lucky to have you that cares so deeply. your idea of basic and honest parenting resinates with me and my Archie.
i'm so glad you have come out the other side feeling more positive. good on you. and thanks for sharing, its nice to know others are going through similar things. xo

manda said...

thats really interesting and has got me thinking....which is in fact the last thing i need to be doing , seeing as im an overthinking kinda girl. but yay for you and leila.

handmade romance said...

i am so happy for you and for leila. you are such a good mum for recognizing and taking steps to seek change. so glad to hear there is happiness for you two xx