Some days, I feel like my heart has been broken so many times that there is just an empty shell, where I try and paste the pieces back together every now and then. I watch my daughter struggle to keep her emotions in check. I do my best to keep her environment safe so that if (and often when) she loses control, she's safe and the people around her are, too.
Then I field comments from those who don't get it. Unfortunately, that's nearly everyone. "You really need to nip this in the bud," one nurse told me. I had to bite my tongue to keep from retorting that it's too late. I've spent years asking for help. I spent years trying everything they told me. I spent years ducking my head to hide the tears when the professional I was working with said that if I really was taking her advice it would be working.
Some days I feel like I've spent years pulling my family apart, just to make things worse. A label. We finally have a label that seems to give us permission to backtrack. That label tells us that we aren't crazy. There really is more going on. It's a buffer between what should work and what really does. But it doesn't cure anything.
Taking care of a child with anxiety is like watching a train approach a break in the track. You know you can't get ahold of the conductor. You can do everything you know how to minimize the risks and damage. You can clear the area, try to shove part of the track back into place and hope it holds. But you can't fix anything. The train is going to come by. All you can do is stand at a safe distance, try to catch the conductor's attention so he'll slow down and pray that all your worry will be for nothing.
Sometimes, she'll surprise me and sail right through that bumpy track without so much as a jostling her passengers. Other days, it's as if a quarter was left flat, something I totally missed, and it's just enough to veer her offrail. Unexpectedly, we're calling in damage control. Emergency vehicles. Sometimes, we over react. Others, we don't move fast enough.