I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving night, with a big mug of tea and a full heart. We had a wonderful day with family, but there is one thing that has been on my mind more than anything else when I think about what I am thankful for. It’s how far we’ve come from the daily agony of having a child with mental illness.
I watched a documentary about a boy with autism the other night and remembered all too vividly those long inconsolable meltdowns. The hopelessness of facing another day, another week, another year, with the same issues. The isolation from the world of normal family life, the separation from your child by illness that has stolen them away, wondering what the future holds for them, for you. Not daring to hope, but needing to hope enough to try the next treatment, the next therapy. Living in survival mode and when there was a lull in the symptoms only being able to try to catch up and take a breath.
I have been breathing for awhile now. She has been stable for many months. I don’t even remember since when. It wasn’t sudden or dramatic or the result of one particular thing. It has just been all of the right things coming together, in a way that only God can take credit for.
This past week she made the honor roll at school. She is figuring out her social world and building relationships with her peers. She takes personal responsibility for her homework and her time. And I most proud of how she helped me chop vegetables for our thanksgiving cooking this week. She worked WITH me. It sounds like such a simple thing but it’s one of those that I naturally expected my little girl to do with me, and I have had to set aside so many of those dreams.
I used to not even dare to think that maybe the stability would last. But it has. The right combination of 4 different medications, weekly therapy with the same therapist for 6 years, and sending her to school. But mostly just waiting. Living the life God gave us to live, with the child he gave us, one day at a time. Sometimes just barely surviving those days. Relying on the prayers of the people who loved and cared for us, when I didn’t pray myself. It was a LONG eight or so years and I’m sure there will be some very tough times ahead. But I’m taking a breath now to say, she’s stable, thank you God, she’s stable.