Hearing your child say that he is filled with pain, and he doesn’t want to hurt anymore; it is the most heart breaking, gut wrenching thing. You know you have to be firm and direct to pull him out of his panic attack, but inside, you are crumbling. Scared, anxious, worried, sad.
Every time he leaves me, I am worried. What if he finally has an attack that pushes him over the edge? What if he decides that he can no longer handle the pain? What if he’s too far away from me and I can’t get to him? Why can’t I fix it?
95% of the time, he is good. He’s happy, healthy, well adjusted and kicking butt. But there is that 5% of time when he wants to stay in bed, when he’s afraid of having another panic attack, when he can’t eat because his OCD has convinced him that food is evil and will make him sick.
When your gorgeous, golden skinned, big brown eyed, tall, athletic teenager tells you that he can’t eat because he is too fat, it makes you want to take every positive, loving, beautiful word and lock it in his head and heart to drown out the negative that he tells himself.
I try to be strong. I try to do all of the right things for him. I try to protect him. But when he has these moments, I feel like I’m failing. It feels like no one understands.
Honestly, I don’t even understand it. In counseling he recently talked about how he obsessively pictures food in his mind after he eats. He can’t make it stop. He sees all of the bad things about the food. Like if it was too greasy, or under cooked, or too well done, or too fattening. He sees it in his head, and then it makes him feel sick. When I told him that this is not normal, and typically you just eat food and then don’t think about it, he had no idea. This is so sad to me. It just shows that even when things seem like they are good, he is still struggling with things that we don’t even know about. He has been doing so much better with his anxiety, that it felt like we were finally passed the major struggles. But now his OCD is in full force, as if to say “you got a little too comfortable, sister. Don’t forget about me.”
In these times, I wonder what I could do better. Does he focus on his weight because of my weight? Is he scared that he’ll be ugly like me? Fat like me? Unaccomplished like me? What can I do to make sure he is better than me in every way possible?
I guess, all I can do is to keep trying.
I will spend every day of my life trying to show him how smart and funny and strong and amazingly beautiful he is.