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Living in 3D

Writing used to be cathartic, therapeutic.

If necessary, I’d write in the middle of the night.

For the last few months, I’ve struggled to force it. Until this week, the reluctance to record has baffled me.

I don’t easily admit, even to myself, “I have a problem.”

As you may know, the last 6.5 years have been a true roller coaster. When I scrolled through a few posts from a couple years ago, I read HOPE. I read PROGRESS. And I realized

I’ve been living the last few months in 3D.

But not the thrilling “let’s see a movie with those fun glasses” 3D.

Discouraged. Depressed. Distracted.

These three D words have ruled my life of late—and I didn’t even realize until now.

Discouraged

I drive Hubby a little nuts sometimes. I am the Optimist who makes everyone roll eyes at least once in our friendship.

Hitting every red light? Maybe God knows if we get to point X in ten minutes, we’d be crushed by a falling tree. He’s slowing us down on purpose. 

Traffic is at a standstill because a tree is blocking the road? Well, thank goodness it didn’t crush us. 

Cashier had a horrible attitude? Maybe she just found out her mom has cancer. 

Lost that job (this has happened to both Hubby and me)? God’s got a plan. We’ll be fine. 

I have an immune disorder? (This one took a few months to find silver lining…) Well, I guess this will force me to take better care of myself. 

Our boy is in residential treatment? This will give me the ability to focus most of my attention on helping our daughter excel in school. 

Give me your worst scenario and I can find a silver lining or a probable reason it can all turn out for good. It’s a gift and a curse, because sometimes I can come across as flippant, but I generally have this belief that God will work it all out in the end.

I’ve always applied this belief to our kids. I still believe.

But this boy is wearing me out.

He doesn’t seem to care about coming home.

I’m resigned to the knowledge that he’s not coming home anytime soon. And that even if/when he does come home, it’s likely many of our dreams for him will never happen.

All that is okay, but without even realizing, I’ve become discouraged.

Depressed

The discouragement has pressed down on my soul for weeks. They say expectations are the death of everything. Our lives would be better without the word “should” in our vocabulary.

Unmet expectations destroy relationships. Bring destruction to the best-laid plans. Decimate optimism.

Underneath it all, here’s the narrative my heart wrote when we brought these two kids into our home:

Siblings experience trauma and too many re-homing disruptions until they are 5 and 7. At that time, they find stability with a loving couple who provide them with everything they need. Although the first year is terrible, subsequent years grow easier and within three years, they are well-adjusted, happy, bright, inquisitive children in love with learning about the world around them. The entire family enjoys traveling, playing together and finding ways to help others. When the kids turn 10 and 12, the family travels to Peru on a missions trip, where the children are thrilled to bring love to others who may have had an even tougher early life than the one they experienced. 

I have recently confronted this narrative I didn’t even know was lurking under the surface of my thoughts.

This is not our story.

Right now, our girl is flourishing, although she periodically reminds me (usually when I praise her for progress) that “it’s all still in there, in my head. It might come back.” And it might, but we’re prepared.

Our son has been in residential treatment since October 1 and shows no sign of wanting to come home. Although I do understand that trauma played its ugly part, on some level he’s choosing this.

In recent conversations, he’s informed us that he wants to stay at the center because they “let us watch lots of TV and you don’t” and he likes to play basketball. Ironically, when they have gym time, he usually plays in a corner by himself—something he can easily do at home with our hoop. (His TV complaint…totally valid. Not going to change.)

He also informed us that he sees the situation in the following light:

You’re putting in a lot of effort, and I’m not putting in any effort.

At least he’s honest.

The death of my narrative has depressed me more than I was able to acknowledge until now.

Distracted

Discouragement and depression are not my usual modus operandi. I’ve felt a dissonant fracture within…and been unwilling to address it.

Giving me relief for a short time: Once Upon a Time, a series about happy endings.

I’m a sucker for fairy tales rewritten, as well as pirates in leather and guyliner. Win-win.

The show is true Brain Candy; almost a soap opera with fairies. And SOOOOOOO distracting.

As I watched Emma Swan learn to BELIEVE, there was no room for discouragement or depression.

As Regina the Evil Queen became my favorite character (the reason for her Evilness was underlying trauma and heartache), I forgot my own heartache.

Finally realized I had a problem.

Hubby went on a business trip and I watched the series until 3 am.

Used the Netflix app to watch in my spare moments.

And I didn’t really want anyone else to know, which was my first clue I needed to quit.

The second clue? Realizing I’d burned through hours of the show, time I could have used for…ANYthing else.

Sometimes I’m a little slow, but when I finally get it, I get it.

This week, I faced my 3D life.

I listened to an audio version of the Bible to fight the Discouragement (audible.com is fabulous—and no, they don’t pay me to say it).

I admitted to Hubby that I’ve been dealing with Depression lately. He’s incredibly supportive, giving lots of hugs (my favorite) and a package of amazing cupcakes (my less healthy favorite).

My Distracting Netflix app went the way of Candy Crush (an earlier addiction I needed to delete from my phone).

And now, I’m ready to go

4D

Discouragement, Depression and Distraction will always be with me, but I’m also

DETERMINED

I’m sure the 3 D-words will sneak up on me from time to time, but I’m Determined to stand my ground.

Letting go of “my” narrative will likely be a battle I fight for the rest of my life. Remaining vigilant and keeping myself focused won’t be easy.

Admitting my flaws and weaknesses is always frightening, but one of the great lessons in Once Upon a Time is this: your flaws hurt you when you try to hide them. Out in the open, they simply make you human.

Our son described us to his counselor as “The Grizzly and the Pit Bull.” Hubby is the Grizzly Bear, fiercely protective of our family. I’m the Pit Bull, ferociously hanging on to keep us together and make sure the kids get whatever services they need.

Pit Bull.

Determined.

This week, I live in 4D.

Ephesians 6:13

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

So put on all of God’s armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing.

*Verse from BibleGateway.com

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About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'll give it to you straight. Success, failure, truth.

Posted on March 21, 2018, in Adoption, Christian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Thank you for writing this one. I’ve been feeling this way too. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my escape of choice. I sing along to the musical episode by myself when I’m struggling. Reading your words about having a child in RTC helps me. It’s good to know I am not alone in this pain. My feelings are not so abnormal. Hugs to you. Thank you and PLEASE keep writing. Many of us need to hear your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AHHHH BUFFY!!! That’s so funny. I’m guessing we’re probably around the same age so you might like this one (which means you probably also watched Full House) I recently discovered Fuller House on Netflix…the first season had me CRYING with laughter. Total mind candy (and some of the situations are just so relevant, which is probably why they’re so funny). YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT ALONE. Sending BIG hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you wrote this in 3D and 4D. I’ve been going through life that way too…albeit nothing similar to what you have been going through with your kids. Your resilience has been amazing and it takes courage to admit the big D(epression). Sending you big hugs and lots of silver lining with the determination under your belt! X.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel you here and I’m going through some similar stuff with ours. You keep going becasue you have to but fuck why does the world keep fighting you?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can understand your story from the child view. At 13 I was in a Convent School for bad girls. Went in as a drug addict and a badass, or so I thought. My grandparents fought so hard to get custody, I went to their home when we could leave on weekends. What happen that changed me was the very strict yet always telling me positive things. Before you could blink and eye I was a good kid. My past is nothing like your son’s but I understand trauma. I feel bad the your son chose not to love. I pray he understands why you tried so hard and want to be a family again.
    You have given more love and strict home & school rules. That’s parenting, you have gone way beyond trying to provide a calm loving environment. Never blame yourself, you gave everything you had to give.
    I’ll pray for all of you.
    Remember in the end you land on your feet.
    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement. I somehow missed this comment the first time around; I just saw I hadn’t replied and opened it to see what it was. It’s hard not to be discouraged but we’re hanging in there. You’re right–the one saving grace for my mental state is that I think I can truly say we have tried everything possible (at least, the strategies of which we’re aware). Definitely no one can say we didn’t try our best (even my son freely admits this, which actually helps me feel better about the situation). We’ll just keep trying to do everything we can and leave the result in God’s hands. XO

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So good to hear from you!! You have been in my prayers and OH I hear you about the dreams we have for our family, for our kids and then…WHAM!
    Such an honest post that comes from your heart!! HUGS and more HUGS and LOVE!!! And just so you may not feel as guilty, I have watched the Once series as well. For yes it does take you away into a Fairytale! I understand.
    Hang in there my dear and I look forward to seeing more of your writings and Kudos to your hubby for his awesome encouragement and hugs to you and yes cupcakes always work, just like chocolate! 🙂
    Love ya my friend and sometime we will have that face to face coffee chat!

    Like

    • LOL thanks! I wasn’t feeling guilty so much about watching, just the fact that I was watching it to much and wasting so much time. But it IS fun. 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind support. I appreciate you!!! Hugs back! (and yes, coffee sounds fabulous!!)

      Like

      • Aww you are very welcome!!
        Yes time slips away so easily. I will admit that Rumplestilskin was one of my favorite characters. 🙂 I had a love/hate relationship with him. LoL! . Have you watched “This is Us”?

        Liked by 1 person

        • 🙂 Haven’t seen it yet. You like it?

          Like

          • Yes I believe you would love it! It’s just so REAL! Yeah, no fairytales this time. Real families dealing with real struggles that aren’t just all fixed in a hours time. Know what I mean.
            I would suggest you start watching the first season first though or you will be confused for the shows really build on each other.
            The 2nd season just ended ,so you have plenty of time to get caught up. I feel bad for here I am telling you about something else to take your time but it really is very good! Just keep tissues with you when you watch it.
            .

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, Casey, how many times I have circled this tree! I forget that our God is not as interested in the product as he is in the process.
    As I read your piece, I thought to copy Ephesians 6:13 here for you. By the time I got to the end of your writing, there was a smile on my face.
    And encouragement. Because this is what I needed to hear.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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