There are parenting aspects to this mental health journey I’m currently on. To the point, the fact that I can’t be home with my kids this summer as planned because I’m in the Intensive Outpatient Program three days a week. What’s really getting to me is that they are both dropping to the lowest common denominator with this…they’re sitting around all day when I’m not here watching TV and playing video games.
I have them signed up to work Community Service hours this summer, and I’m trying to find things for them to do while I’m not here, but I don’t want kids in my house when I’m not here, and I’m worrying about the kids wandering the neighborhood; well, more Gillian than Aidan, he’s 15 and I trust him to make good choices. I trust Gillian’s choices too, but at 12 years and 80 pounds, she is so tiny I’m still afraid she could get grabbed. Even knowing she screams louder than a siren, I still worry. And she’s isolating, not wanting to spend a lot of me with friends. I can set up playdates for her, but I’m not around a lot to reciprocate, and I’m trying very hard not to let local parents know what I’m struggling with right now. I don’t want it to effect how her friend’s parents feel about her, and we live in a very small, suburban area.
The other aspect that I need to take into account is that I haven’t been present even when I’m present. I haven’t been emotionally or even mostly physically available to them, I’ve been so depressed and detached. or anxious and distant. I’ve been learning skills to stop this negative behavior, and change it for the better, and I’m already incorporating it in the time I have with them.
How badly am I damaging them while trying to get well? Is it better that I’m *not* here while I’m not well? They’re more or less used to me this way, sad as it seems. These untreated issues have persisted for years. I suppose the damage is done, and the summer is almost over, but I feel such deep sadness at the thought that so much time has been wasted with me unable to connect to my family. One thing I’m told over and over at my program is to stay away from the ‘coulda’s’ and the ‘shoulda’s’ and the ‘woulda’s', so I will try to concentrate on the positives and know that I’m doing better today than I did yesterday, and hope that tomorrow I’ll learn even more skills to bolster my parenting.
My therapist has told me that they’re not out of the house yet, so there’s still time. I need to make the most of that time to reconnect to the people I love, and believe that it’s not too late.