Finding my role…

I’m currently sitting in a waiting room, with my child, C, who is seeing their psychiatrist. There is also a therapist and an excellent pediatrician. And a gender counsellor. We are experimenting with using the pronouns they them instead of she her, so I’ll try here.

They are having a hard time. They have some serious depression and anxiety. It has been here for a few years, but grade 7 was hard. They did not like school and although most days were ok, the bad days were very very bad. C feels persecuted and disliked and socially awkward. They often wish they were dead, because the pain of trying feels overwhelming. It’s very hard to hear that from ones child, but I am thankful they are willing to share their darkness with me. I am thankful I am a safe haven.

Many days are good. We adopted s fluffy grey rabbit and named him Frank. He has made us all a bit happier. He is funny. Summer is easy. There’s no school and little routine. I have to work, but it’s easier with no school. And we still have our nanny, so someone is home to make sure the kids are fed and watered. They sleep much of the days.

I continue to practice yoga. It is part of me, and it has changed my entire way of being. I’m less likely to take things personally. I’m calmer. I’m less frazzled and more steady.

The last few weeks of school really shook out calm. C pretty much fell apart and became suicidal.I was scared for them. My anxiety became electric. It was like my skin was on fire and I was so distressed. It took all my effort to continue on…and I mainly did by plodding. I just moved ahead, no huge goals or plans. Just maintaining the basics and giving myself space. And it helped me get back to now, where my mind is able to find some stillness and peace.

I try hard to stay in the now, but I’m beginning to worry about how school will be in September. I’m trying to find the balance between offering my child support and enabling them, trying to protect them so much that they aren’t able to deal with even small obstacles. I wish I knew what was right.

I often think about how life would be if I hadn’t quit drinking. Would I have seen c struggling? Would I have been able to cope? I’m not sure. I was having so much trouble coping myself back then. I just don’t think I could have handled this…well, not very well anyway. Even today, c was being bitchy and stubborn (they are 13 after all) and eventually I broke down and cried. The meanness that can come from a child is unmatched. Of course, c felt guilty…but is how we learn empathy…

Sigh. We are going to all get in the car and go on a short road trip this weekend, and 5hen a longer one in a few weeks. Maybe the change of scenery will spark something.

Thank you all for listening and being here. I suppose kids all have their ages and phases and developmental times that challenge us in different ways. Writing this has helped me remember that this is not easy, but I’m doing it. And, like one of my favourite yoga teachers said last week, if it wasn’t this, it would be something else. Yes.

Stillness and peace,


46 thoughts on “Finding my role…

  1. I was where you are exactly, with the agony of watching a child suffer and feeling like I couldn’t do anything about it. Therapists helped tremendously, but dear God, it’s so painful to see that struggle. I was drinking then, and I did miss the signs, though I had enough periods of sobriety that I could half-way deal with it. And unlike your child, mine didn’t talk until much damage had been done. You’re way ahead of the game there.

    This child is why I believe in miracles, because I know they received one. The healing has been tremendous, though there were often no sign of it during the struggle. Slowly but surely, and with as much help as I could find, they walked out of the darkness.

    Today, all is well for them, and they are so compassionate for having been through such a difficult thing at an early age. I’m praying that like with my child, there are much brighter days ahead for both of you, Anne.



  2. I wish I had some words of wisdom. All I can think is how fortunate C is to have you for a mom. I’m sure you will provide much needed compassion and acceptance. And a reminder that better days are ahead. Maybe a period of safety (like inside a turtle’s shell) is more important right now than anything else. Big big hug to you both. -jen

  3. Oh Anne…

    I am so sorry that this is so difficult, for all of you.
    I have no experience with this, but love Shawna’s reply, hopefully that same healing is available for c…they deserve it, you deserve it.

    I am thinking of your family, and sending great love and support to C…how brave they are.

  4. Sorry to hear these times are so difficult for all of you. I am however VERY HAPPY C actually speaks about her issues, not only to the therapist but also to you. I am happy for that. 🙂 Wish I could have done that when younger.
    And yes, the meanness. I remember from myself this period in time where I was still under my parents wings but wanted to get out. I had no idea how to do that. I somehow followed a subconscious pattern which I thought would help me. In my case that was “hurt and confuse you as much as I am hurt and confused.” 😦 When I look at it now it meets me as a result of traditional subjugation to my parents and opposition to their rule at the same time. That sounds like puberty, does it not? 🙂
    But both togehter make a rather toxic mix. 😦 Because of the subjugation I did not actually take the place I could fill and that caused a feeling of suppression and opposition. Because of not standing in my own ‘space’ / ‘responsibility’ I could not voice what I needed and thought that lashing out would keep people at bay and make me earn my spot. 😦
    Not sure I hope you recognise anything of your daughter in this…. :-/ But this is how it worked for me. I think if my parents had been able to help me work out what I wanted things would have been different. But then again, one never knows, part of puberty is to break bonds and build new stuff. It ‘just'(?) very, very hard to find out what to break and what to build :-(. Sometimes I thought it was ‘good’ (?) to lash out at my mother. I wish now I would have had other tools then. But maybe, maybe, maybe, the eggs need to be broken to make the omlet. I do not know.
    Wishing you well. Sending hugs,
    xx, Feeling
    Well, as you know, I don’t have kids so it is easy to say stuff. 😦

    1. You know, that makes a lot of sense. C does seem to be very confused at what they want. There are so many options, I think it’s overwhelming. Wanting both freedom and protection. It can be toxic, because both people feel hurt…but perhaps talking about it will lessen that some.
      I am grateful for the open dialogue, even if some days it hard. If I can be a safe space I will.

      I will consider that a lot. Thank you.

  5. Hey love, I’ve been there with both of mine . Thank God I was sober. You will get though this. What a lucky kid that they are being listened to and having their feelings validated. I swear both of mine came out of it stronger. Sending much love. Here if you need. Just let me know and I can send my mail Xx

  6. I can’t find the words to comment properly right now, but I related to this so deeply, that I know I’ll read it and read it again. Love to you all. X

  7. Sending you so much love, Anne – thank you for sharing what your family is going through. Hoping that C finds peace and relief from their struggles. You’re a good Mom. And you’re so right about being sober and aware.


  8. I don’t think there’s many life experiences more difficult than watching a child struggle. They are in so much pain, and as you say, trying to find the balance between supporting and enabling is so,so, hard. The road trips are a good idea, time to talk and connect.Our family always did our best talking in the van, away from devices and distractions,safe in our metal “bubble”. Sending you hugs and support. 🌻

  9. I can relate from when I was a teenager. I struggled with depression and hated school. Being able to confide in my mom really helped. It’s so important that C is confiding in you. Teenage years are tough but we get through them. Sending hugs.

  10. Sending ALL my love to you, to C, and to your family.* Having you in their life means everything, I’m sure. In the huge hurdles, challenges, fears, and unknowns, as well as in the quiet, gentle, and mundane. I just keep thinking the word ‘Love’ and hoping you both feel it surrounding you. -HM.

  11. Hi Anne
    Sounds like you are really listening with your heart and trying to be what your child needs at this time, that is all that matters. My Husband is a high school teacher and he was telling me at the beginning of the school year ( first day) he was doing roll call and the office had not informed him that one of the students was transitioning from Female to Male and my husband called out the name that was on the attendance which was Alice. He said the entire class said in unison ” he identifies as Eric” He was amazed at how accepting the kids were and they were not mean to Eric. He apologized to Eric and the class was really great all year. I think these things are really hard in elementary school and once you get to high school your child will find other kids that are experiencing similar things and they will have many different classes so it won’t be always with the same kids for the entire day. Glad that C feels they can talk to you and I personally found 13 to be so very hard.
    Thinking of you,

    1. Thank you. It makes me happy to know the world might be evolving a bit. I never expected this…so it’s a bit surprising. I guess parents want their kids to have easy lives.
      I hated 13 too…

  12. Anne, I’m so sorry your family is going through tough times. Being a teenager is an extremely difficult time especially with identity issues. I’m glad you child is open and honest with you and is speaking to a professional as well. Thinking of you. XX

  13. You and your child have to go through this time, no over, under or around it! This I know you know, and you are doing a brave, wonderful job of it. C will benefit from your strength. Hold steady and may your stillness and peace be stronger then ever at this time. xo

  14. I have been thinking on this post every day. I have tried to imagine what this must be like. It’s so hard to grasp all the moving parts – school – therapy – depression – family ….. Math nerds like us need concrete answers! Patience, strength maybe some good old “screw what the rest of the world thinks”. I bet you are trying out every possible scenario in your mind. “Run Away!” (Monty Python style) would be my answer. Lol. I hope your travels bring some peace for a while. And I love Frank!!! Hugs, hugs and more hugs!! And hope, and strength, and love. Lori

  15. It is so great that C has you, Anne! I struggled a lot as a teen with many similar issues, and I didn’t have anyone. The fact that you are there, completely present, compassionate and empathetic, and that she TRUSTS YOU are huge. I understand that this is hard. I also know that you have the strength to do this. So much love to you, Anne.

  16. I am lucky in that my daughter went through her teens with just all the regular teen drama and nastiness but I watched my best friend struggle to find a balance between support and helicopter parenting. Her child had severe depression and suicidal thoughts, it was a tough time but like you she kept the openness to communicate and listen and sought support for herself so she had a safe place to vent. Remember to put on your life vest first.
    p.s. My friend’s child is now excelling at University and has a core group of friends that understand and can help when dark days appear.

  17. Hi Anne. I’m so sorry for what your family is going through. I can relate. My daughter went through the exact same thing with her eldest child (our beautiful oldest granddaughter) you are not alone. Thank God our grandchild reached out to her parents in time. She was diagnosed with depression, gender dysmorphia and bipolar. Between hospitalization and lots of therapy it has been grueling to put it mildly. On the bright side – moving her away from a certain group of (so-called) friends who did not identify as being male or female has made the world of difference. They were responsible for confusing her (brainwashing if you will) with their pronouns ugh! She is now back to being the lovely young woman we know and love. I’m praying the same for C. Blessings ♥

  18. Anne, I’m late to this but I get it completely. My C is a J and is 16. We have an appointment with psychiatry two days after we get home. For crippling anxiety, low motivation and panic attacks… it’s so hard as the parent. You are doing great, just being there, consistent and sober is security and the best best thing . Big hugs lily xxx🌷

  19. Anne, I have also been where you are. I learned so many things about my family, humanity, and myself when I experienced a child going through a deep depressive episode and suicide attempts. There is no deeper fear than that of potentially losing a child. There is no greater hurt than bearing witness to your child’s pain. I am hard pressed to find words to describe it.
    I am grateful every day, two years later, for the growth and beauty and returning health in my son, and for his precious life.
    There is a powerful, yet subtle balance in doing every possible thing you can to be there and support the one you love with your whole being, while also allowing them to be wholly their own self, separate from you (even with all the strong connections) and with a journey of their own to walk. There is so much grace in allowing yourself to open to others who also are also experiencing pain in this very moment all over the planet. To know you are not alone. That you are in good company. That emotion and awareness and caring are what connect us as humans. That there is so much love and compassion available when you allow yourself the tremendous courage to share your story and to connect. Such a gift.
    I honor your tremendous courage. I honor your journey. I am holding you and your family with loving compassion in my heart.

  20. Anne – sending big hugs and love – no advice, just as a mum know how much our hearts hurt when our children are hurting…hang in there – this too shall pass. A.

  21. Hi, Anne. I have some hindsight info for you: regarding school, it might not be a bad idea (if C is into it) to look at an online school, or charter or other alternative education. I made my daughter stick it out in regular HS but it was too much for her, at the end I enrolled her in online school so she would at least graduate (or get a GED, at that point the bar was very low). Anyway, not a bad idea to be open to options that may reduce anxiety.

  22. Hey Anne – haven’t been on here for a while, and wanted to see how my soberista sisters were. Wow, what a difficult & challenging time. Whatever does happen, you as you are now, are a wonderful supportive Mum. No doubt if you’d been drinking you couldn’t be so aware and supporting, even if you tried your hardest. (Whether due to being drunk, or the impact (hangovers, etc.)) Children are strong, stronger than we think – and they seem to be opening up a little, which is good. I do understand your dealing with bigger issues than a little playground teasing here, but the support and love you give/will give them is priceless.
    Hugs xxx

    1. Thank you. Things are pretty good right now. But I continue to look at options if grade 8 is no better…there are alternative schools, homeschooling, etc.

      I’m glad to hear from you!

      1. Glad to hear it, and yes, always options, and even knowing that I am sure will be a great help to them. That now is not, and does not have to be forever. We forget that as adults, and harder to comprehend as children.

  23. Sending you a huge hug Anne, about time I sent you one. My nephew is now my niece and has been for over a year now. I still stumble and call him by his name at times but she just smiles and I know and get it right the next time. Just love them through it, it’s not easy and hopefully the lines of communication will stay open between you. XOX

  24. Logging on for the first time in months and just read this. My heart aches for you, for the stress and fear you must be experiencing. I am reminded of the wonderful video put out a while back by the employees of a big tech company: “It gets better”. I believe that it will for you and your child.

    1. Thank you.
      Week one of grade 8 is wrapping up and this year I have been proactive in enlisting the school to suppport c.
      I have also looked into alternative schooling, but at this time she does want to continue at her current high school. With some accommodations.

      I’m trying to take it one day at a time. She has gone to school 3/4days. Seems like a good start.

  25. Wow, talk about a purpose-driven life! I am guilty of having my head down so often that I miss the messages of the heart like this. It can be so much more appealing for me to knock out another check list than to get quiet and listen.

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