Tuesday, May 22, 2012
(bitter) Sweet Sixteen
On Saturday we celebrated E's sixteenth birthday.
C and I took E and 4 of her friends to a deli in Annapolis to attempt their famous milkshake challenge. It was her idea and we added in some walking around and a boat tour of Spa Creek. We capped off the day with a big family party which included a barbecue, whiffle ball game and s'mores in the backyard. I think she had a great day. She was sweet and gracious. It was a start contrast from the previous Monday...
Monday night we were having a nice family dinner (me and the 5 kids) when the subject of the beach this summer came up. We are doing our big in-law family trip to the Outer Banks, NC this year in July as opposed to August (we'll go to Hilton Head then). E does not want to go. She doesn't want to miss swim practice. When I explained that she can get workouts from her coach and that we don't want to go without her it escalated into her yelling "you are not my parents...you are not my family!"
M started crying, saying "What about me? Aren't I your family?"
D slammed his fork down, stomped into the family room and started loudly playing Wii baseball.
L ran over to the couch and hid under the covers.
A slunk upstairs, closed his door and quietly started drawing. He was up all night with "stomach pains" and didn't go to school the next day.
Fast forward to Thursday (2 days before her birthday). My phone rang at the office from her therapist finally calling me back after requesting we talk before E's next session that afternoon.
She thinks E is clinically depressed. She is recommending medication. When she talked to E about it, she was open to taking something to help. That in and of itself lets me know how serious this is. From the beginning she has prided herself in "being strong" and showing no emotion. She has only cried in front of any of us 3 times since the accident.
The glass half full Peg thinks this is a step in the right direction. I'd rather have her reaching this point in her grief at the age of 16 in our house where we can help her and give her the support she needs rather than when she's in college or on her own in her 20's. As seen in the story above, her behaviour has serious ramifications for the other kids. A better E will make for a less tense household.
The glass half empty Peg is freaking out. I had no idea things had gotten this bad. As her therapist explained her symptoms, I paused and thought, "ahhh, yeah she is like that." Stepping back, it would be shocking if she wasn't depressed. Her entire life was wiped away. Her parents died, her sisters were split up, her dog died, she left her home and her neighborhood. My heart hurts for her.
In the last 2 years, my emotions have run the gambit....anger, frustration, sadness, stress, anxiety. But for the first time, I am scared. I'm scared what this means for my family. I have brought two traumatized children into my home and it's starting to wear on all of us. My kids are so stressed out. K and I are so stressed out. We never get a break. My kids never get a break.
Mostly, I'm worried about E. Medication is a scary thing. I have first hand experience seeing my sister S have suicidal thoughts after taking an antidepressant and then having to help check her into a psychiatric hospital. She was 26. E is only 16.
Doubt is entering my mind again about whether or not our family can endure this storm. About whether or not I have the ability to meet all of the kids needs and especially those of these sad, desperate little girls.
I have a appointment for a psychiatric evaluation set for June 7th. I've called the head of the therapy center where the girls (and our whole family) has received help. Dr. L reassured me that they'll help us through all of this. I talked to her swim coach. I'm trying to take some stress off her shoulders as much as possible.
I haven't slept in 5 days. I haven't been able to eat. I just snapped about the boys to just get to bed and leave me be for a few minutes. The crisis that is our family continues. Sigh.