Updated: Mar 14
Hey friends. I hope that you are doing well, and that you continue to hold your head up high through these trying times.
Me? Oh... well thanks for asking. Today - well, well is not so good. See, today is a day that I unapologetically come to you all for some consoling. See, I am currently sitting in a Starbuck's writing this, while sipping on a pumpkin spice frap with an extra shot. And no - it is NOT on my meal plan, and in fact, has EXTRA whip cream! After the afternoon that I had today - this is the best alternative to what I really wanted. TRUST me!
Most of you know that one of my teenagers is at the most difficult time of their life. And, to top it off - they are dealing with a lot of mental health issues including a severe eating disorder.
Well today, their friend ED (eating disorder aka "ED") showed his ugliest of ugly heads and was spewing all kinds of ugliness. Of course, he took the vehicle of biggest and best thing that they hate me for at the moment... and used that to get us much gusto of hatred out of them that he could.
In case I haven't mentioned it lately.... I really, really, REALLY hate ED!!
"Adolescents seem to be the most at-risk group to develop an eating disorder and this is due to a number of different environmental, social, psychological and biological factors. Attachment theory, originating from work Bowlby’s (1969), offers a comprehensive framework for understanding the individual and family characteristics contributing to the development of ED in this age group." (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4530258/)
So, after the past few months of feeling like I have had a team of professionals dissecting my family and our relationships under a microscope with tongs and scalpels for the past few months, this article was one that made me feel like someone gets it.
See, part of the problem that I have with parenting this child specifically, is that I suffered a TIA within 10 days of giving birth to them. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or "mini stroke" is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain. I was in the hospital for several days and was separated from them.
Oh how I have thought about that the past few years that I have been in therapy and learning about the importance of proper attachment, especially to an infant. As I am positive that this is a big part of my own PTSD and issues with building attachment to others. Being given up for adoption at 3 days old - and not having a parent connection until that 3rd day... I feel like lead me to having issues with development of connections with others and an initial distrust for most people.
So, although my child had me and others the first 10 days of their life... they were extremely particular from the moment of birth. For example, the first few days of their life, they refused to sleep unless they were held. This continued for the first almost 3 years of their life. They were extremely light sleepers, and hated any loud noises, hated high-pitched toys or mobiles, hated to be swaddled, and the list goes on and on.
So, it wasn't surprising when they started to eat solid foods - that this too became an issue. I realized almost immediately that colors and textures were an issue. And although I continued to expose them to different colors and textures... ultimately would give into the select few items that they would agree to eat, just to get food in their stomach. But, this continued throughout their life. Every time I would take them to the doctors appointment, it was made out that I was being soft on them. And that I really needed to try to push other food items on them. I would again, attempt it for a while... and then would eventually just give in. No parents wants a World War every meal time. And, that is exactly what it would be.
Who knew... that 14 years later... this is all that they would remember? Who knew that these World War arguments, and attempts of me trying to do what the doctors, well meaning friends and families would tell me to do... would lead to a day like today??
I for sure as HELL DID NOT!!!
Well, according to this article, "When children grow older, they start to internalize daily interactions and experiences with their parents. In other words, they develop so called 'internal working models of attachment' that derive from variations in how caregivers respond to their child’s attachment behavior (Bowlby, 1969)." So, because we didn't have a solid attachment because of me being hospitalized right after they were born, and then having rehab, and not being completely "there" for them the first couple years of their life because I was still healing... apparently they develop their own model of attachment based on their daily interaction with me. Well... if your daily interaction with me would be a fight at every meal time because of me attempting to do what it was that I was told to do... then, it makes sense why today happened.
The article continues, "The idealization of parents is considered as a common feature of an avoidant attachment style and might explain why some authors have found a higher prevalence of this style in adolescent patients with ED (Latzer et al., 2002)." So, the funny (not-so-funny) part of this quote, is that my therapist believes that my teenager is of this attachment style.
Let me tell you, if you have an adolescent that is suffering with their own relationship with ED... read this book!
Granted... it's meant more for adult relationships - but it has some good advice on how to interact with differing attachment styles.
This article is making me want to find the book and re-read it.
But, the saddest part of all of this today... is I realized how alone in all of this that I really am. Especially because the past few months of the team of professionals continuously picking apart our family to find out where the issues are, and place the blame of where ED really came from. It doesn't help having the teenager seeing and hearing this, and contributing their own warped perception. Only to then be told that we have to give credit and acknowledgement to this warped viewpoint... because it is in fact their reality, regardless of how much truth is behind it.
So, you find yourself at times - questioning what is the real truth.
I literally feel like I am living my life as a mime. I act out my life... but can't say anything - because it breaks the picture for those that have their own viewpoint. Does that make sense?
I don't know y'all. I am completely confused what I need to do.
All I know is that I love my kids with every fiber of my being. I am trying to have faith that my positive influence will mean something to them. I am trying to love them through this very very difficult time in their life.
I am trying....
That's all I can say.
And so, it's just another day that I will pick up my bags, and trudge on the journey down the road.