Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply
Active scribe

Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

My hubby and have been navigating the world of a teen with depression for the past 6 months. Not long but some days it feels like forever. One step forward, two steps back and all that.

 

On the positive side I feel like we are slowly moving forward with talking therapy and medication. But it's starting to feel as though whenever she is faced with a challenge or a situation she doesn't like her go-to reaction is a physical one - headache (that doesn't respond to treatment), stomach ache, nausea etc etc - and as much as we hate ourselves for it our patience is wearing thin. Particularly when she can be doing fine the night before but next morning when it's time to face school...bam, sick. Ending up spending all day in bed sleeping/not functioning.

 

I do understand that psychological stress often masquerades as physical symptoms and it isn't that I don't believe her. I just find it hard to maintain a truly supportive parent role at these times, especially when we still have to function as adults, go to work, get things done etc etc but she can't be left alone.

 

We've gone down the path of making her go to school on multiple occasions (before the diagnosis, not so much since) but end up getting a call from sick bay to bring her home. School are fully informed, they have been amazingly supportive and flexible and willing to help whenever things get too stressful during class but once she is 'sick' they can't do much.

 

She's facing the end of Year 11 and it has been a really tough time academically. But some days it feels like she doesn't want to get better despite all the help that is on offer.

 

Needing some inspiration to be the parent/s I/we want to be!!

Super frequent scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Thanks so much for your open honest and brave post @Stephs_Mum... I totally hear you, and can relate.. There are times when I find myself responding with frustration instead of empathy - I know it's not good for me and it's not good for them - mostly I can catch myself feeling it inside and TRY not to show it on the outside, but I'm sure I don't hide my frustration 100% - and sometimes not at all - and I wodner about the impact that has.

One thing I find is that when I'm tired, stressed and run down myself, my capacity for empathy and patience is also diminished.. One thing I know I can do to help the situation is practice self-care vigilantly. Make sure I have my own support and people to talk to (including even a counsellor just for me sometimes), take time out, get proper sleep, eat well, move my body and make time for the things that I love to do. If I'm looking after my emotional health, the more capacity I have for empathy and patience.

The other thing I try to do is really put myself in their shoes. To do that I try to remember that sometimes it's not even about masquerading in physical symptoms but instead that mental health difficulties do cause physical symptoms.

Someone once explained it to me like this: think about the last time you were doing something that stressed you out - maybe it's public speaking, heights, and exam/test etc. You have a physical reaction to that stress - for me it's a knot in my stomach and clenched teeth and furrowed brow. And that's normal stress, and a normal physical reaction. Imagine now that for you it's a mental illness, that stress is amplified and so is the physical response - they are experiencing these symptoms that are not in their control...

And further to that, even if the symptoms were not physical, and the symptoms were all experienced as emotional/mental, then we need patience and empathy for that. I try to catch myself buying into the stigma and misunderstandings of mental health. If my child had a broken leg, or god forbid cancer, I'm sure I would have endless patience & empathy for whatever they needed to get get through the day and to get through this illness. So why is my thinking changed just because it's a different type of illness that I can't see.

Anyway, these are just some of the thoughts I've gone through myself, maybe something might strike a chord with you - my best advice really is self-care which builds up your capacity for patience...

Let me know what you think

Active scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Thanks so much @HalleysComet, I really like your explanation of the physical symptoms and will remember that. Re the self care - I know it but I haven't really been practicing it, lots of late nights, no exercise etc etc. I have also been toying with seeing a counsellor/psychologist myself for a new perspective so perhaps now is the time. Thanks once again - your supportive, non-judgemental advice is much appreciated Smiley Happy

Highlighted
Super frequent scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Hey @Stephs_Mum, I really do find that the less I look after myself the harder it is for me to cope with anything, Sounds like a lots of that self-care is missing from your life... Counseling could be a great idea, you could maybe start with Parentline, webchat or phone? But also for me, all of that other stuff - making time for the things I love to do and sleeping well especially - are just as important. Hope you can find ways to put yourself first...

Have you heard the analogy about the oxygen masks on a plane - you must put your own oxygen mask on first before your child's....

Active scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Thanks so much @HalleysComet, I really like your explanation of the physical symptoms and will remember that. Re the self care - I know it but I haven't really been practicing it, lots of late nights, no exercise etc etc. I have also been toying with seeing a counsellor/psychologist myself for a new perspective so perhaps now is the time. Thanks once again - your supportive, non-judgemental advice is much appreciated Smiley Happy

Super frequent scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Let us know how you get on @Stephs_Mum
Active scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Thanks @HalleysComet I've booked a GP appt to get a referral to a psychologist and had a bit more sleep! Re-reading my post, I really sound awful - was a bad morning 😞
Mod

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

@Stephs_Mum thanks for sharing this. Reading about your experience really helped me understand a parent's pov and an appreciation for just how challenging it can be. @HalleysComet's advice was so helpful and spot on. I agree that without self-care, it's next to impossible to take on life's challenges without getting doubly frustrated. Please don't feel bad for sharing your situation! This community is precisely so parents can come here and support one another Smiley Happy

 

Glad to hear about the GP appointment to get a referral and for getting more sleep!

Scribe

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

Have you ruled out glandular fever for your daughter?

 

Contributor

Re: Maintaining patience...how do you do it??

@HalleysComet thanks for sharing. I hope @Stephs_Mum will find it helpful.

Yes, we as parents need to take care of ourselves. When I am under stress with problems in my life, I sometimes yelled at my daughter even though she is almost perfect! Once I calmed down, I would apologize and explain to her the reason why I was frustrated. I think even though they are still children, they can have some of the not so rosy pictures of life. 

I don't know if it is ok to share your feelings about your daughter's illness with her. You might consult a professional, but I had always been very open to my daughter. when she had eating disorder, I blamed myself and I told her about it too. We then studied about the  issue and finally got over it.


New member? Introduce yourself here by answering our 5 question Q&A!