Saturday morning started with an 8am game. It was cold, but M player very well and the team won against a good team. They haven't had the best success lately, so it was nice for the girls to get a win and, more importantly in my opinion, play some good soccer.
I could tell from the moment she walked off the field something was wrong. I told her she had a great game and she rolled her eyes and mumbled she was awful and let her whole team down. Her teammate that was staying with us chimed in some more positive comments and she shut down. By the time we got into the hotel room she was in full meltdown mode.
I got her friend out of the room with another family for lunch. M cried and cried that she wanted to go home and be with her family. When I said, fine, we'll leave, she screamed she didn't want to leave. She couldn't make any decisions about eating. Showering didn't help. Anything I said was met with more tears and arguments. She simply could not control herself. I gave the team manager a heads up that we may be heading home. I gave M a deadline for getting herself under control or we were heading out. She managed to gather herself for the pre-game team meeting in the lobby, but I had to go down with her and sit nearby. She got about 15 minutes in the warm up and then fell apart again, crying and refusing to play. I went over to the bench where she was sitting and got the same "I don't want to go" but "I can't play" arguments. I told her that playing was the least of my worries and all I wanted was for her to feel better.
After the game (which they won), she got back to the hotel room and started up with the crying again. She calmed down enough to go to dinner, but was completely washed out and non-verbal. To be honest, I probably shouldn't have brought her out, but I needed out of that hotel room and was starving.
We got back to the room after dinner and, again, I sent her friend to another room where a group was doing homework. Desperately, I got on the phone and called home, hoping talking to them would break the cycle. She got on the phone with A and within 10 minutes she was back to normal. She chatted with K and explained she didn't feel like playing and then cracked jokes with L. Her security blanket worked even across the phone. At one point, I walked out in the hallway and cried on a another mom's shoulder out of relief and exhaustion.
If we had been at home, I'm sure the fit would not have lasted as long. I have my tricks and other team members (the boys and K) to get her out of her downward spirals. E is often the trigger for her episodes at home so unfortunately she's not included in the solution set. One phone call home and she was back to normal M. A little tired, but normal. By the next morning she was fine, played great in both games and was back to her usual goofy self.
The constant question during and after the episode from everyone was why? Was there a trigger? It seemed to be centered around the pressure of the game and her internalizing the coach telling them to not let each other down and to work hard. We increased ADHD meds a bit this week after two years on the same dose. Was it the medicine? That was the opinion of sister C, even though I explained it was a tiny increase and she had been fine all week on it (BTW...she was perfectly fine yesterday and today on the medicine so I've pretty much ruled it out as a cause).
I tried to explain. Nobody outside of our immediate family really gets what it's like to live with someone with mental illness. Living with a child with anxiety disorder is really hard. Throw in the ADHD and the trauma and grief, and it's a fun cocktail of stress and worry. There is often no logic to her reactions and emotions. If she doesn't understand why she's acting the way she is, how am I supposed to?
Is she sad? Is she having her period? Maybe if she talks to the other girls she'll snap out of it? Or my favorite, "All teenage girls act like this, my daughter can be so dramatic too!" How do you explain to someone that this isn't normal teenage girl drama?
It was exhausting trying to explain to everyone who, in their well meaning advances, wanted to understand what was going on. It was also very isolating. I avoided other people as much as possible on Sunday at the games. Another reminder of the "otherness" that I often feel when in social situations. We look like a "normal" family on the outside (whatever that means). Inside, though, we are still struggling to adjust to our new reality. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll said it again...it's all so complicated. At this point, I don't even really care about the why, I'm simply glad she found her way back to normal.