My teenage daughter is not in school or college or work, has lost her friends and is able to do very little as a result of severe anxiety. But she has not given up on life, even though she is not living the life she wants. She still keeps trying…
Sunday began at 2am when she woke me up to unblock the toilet, a regular problem in this house. Luckily we both managed to go back to sleep afterwards.
She loves wet weather, so when I noticed heavy rain outside during the morning, I went in to wake her and offered to bring her out.
First I spent some time trying to persuade her to try on clothes I’d bought for her online, after our first shopping trip in years resulted in nothing being bought.
Afterwards she had a shower in case the clothes had been infected during the manufacturing process.
As a concession, she washed her hair. For some reason she now finds this difficult, and the ritualistic process is very hard to hear, but I know it means she is trying.
Eventually we left the house. I drove around for a few hours in almost complete silence, no radio and very little conversation. The pitter patter of the rain on the windscreen really did help her though, because she was able to chat to someone briefly when we stopped at one of her preferred cafes for a late lunch. We returned home, and she began to make herself a cup of coffee (also good). But then she dropped the lid of the coffee jar on the floor, and it was a while before she could bring herself to pick it up, and then she insisted on supervising me washing it very carefully before putting it back.
After that she retreated to her room for the rest of day, even eating dinner in there.
You see she says she is tired all the time, and I believe her. Her anxiety means she lives in fear every day, and even a small stress such as leaving the house can cause her to shake with terror. It must be absolutely exhausting.
She emerged occasionally looking for support with all her various worries, our last little chat was at 11.45pm. Then I could get some sleep.
That was Sunday over. Every day has been like this for the past few years, so Monday will probably be no different.