Adam and I have faced a lot as parents, but perhaps the hardest has been helping walk through Brooklyn’s journey with anxiety and depression. We haven’t shared a lot about this, because it is a very private situation. We have always said we respect our children and what they have a desire to share, and until now that desire has been to remain quiet. However, as we have seen the support that our community has given to Lexi, both people we know and those that we don’t, Brooklyn has come to understand that there may be others out there that are going through what she is. Also, she has said that by sharing what she is going through maybe she can help someone else.
Let’s start at the beginning. Although a sickly little thing, Brooklyn was perhaps the happiest child you would ever meet. She remained that happy child until she was about 10 years old, and that is when we started to slowly notice her becoming more introverted. Brooklyn didn’t talk to us about this right away. It was over time that we began to see her performance at school change, and her withdraw from many of her friends. As a parent those are the “warning signs” that your told to look for.
Thank goodness Brooklyn isn’t a shy child, and that we have had great resources at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Brooklyn was accepted into a program for kids with chronic illness, where they could talk to a therapist who specialized with those kids. Brooklyn found an outlet in communication. She also showed us as parents that its sometimes easier for kids to talk to someone else, and not us. That’s ok. As parents we have to respect that our kids are independent of us. They have their own thoughts and emotions, and we don’t have a right to always know what is in their mind. Having someone to talk to is a valuable safe place for any person no matter what their age.
Unfortunately the program ended, and Brooklyn hasn’t had anyone to talk to in a few months. Shame on Adam and I for not realizing how this was effecting her. Brooklyn slid backwards and we didn’t notice. That is hard as parents. Hard to realize that there is a complex side to your child that you didn’t see. Thankfully we have a strong family and have been able to talk. We always want our kids to know that no matter how they feel, no matter what successes or failures they have, and no matter how different they may be, we will love them and support them unconditionally.
I admire and respect Brooklyn for asking to share her story with you. It’s her story not mine. So here is what she wants to share…
Today while my mom was helping me study for my finals I accidently told her about how my anxiety and depression have gone severely downhill.
I wasn’t going to tell her it slipped out after I said I was going to the bathroom and ended up almost having an anxiety attack. She knew I was having them more frequently in the past month or so, but she had know idea how bad its actually gotten I have one every other night and sometimes two nights in a row.
The only reason she found out about my depression is because I had to lie to hide it and mom could tell how big a toll lying to her was having on me she also realized my withdrawal from friends and how much more frequently I had been seeping.
Another sign was my rabidly dropping grades, you see I normally do pretty good or at school or at least average so when my grades unexpectedly dropped she knew something was up.
I wasn’t planning on telling her at all I thought I could pull myself out before I was in to deep that’s what I told myself anyway. the only problem was what I kept telling myself wasn’t true and I knew it I just couldn’t admit it.
I’m glad my mom found out though because if it had been another month I’m worried I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself out. As my dad said and I quote “you’ll get through this, its like eating an elephant it takes a while but you can do it”.
^ (Diary entry only) written by Brooklyn.
So for tonight I’m going to leave you with this image that Brooklyn drew for me when we sat down to talk tonight. She said the circle is her brain The blue lines are the positive things in her brain, and the red lines are the negative. She feels like anytime she tries to be positive the red just pushes the blue farther over. Again, this is Brooklyn’s journey and we are only sharing because she is ready. We will update more in the weeks again and share more information on what we are learning about anxiety and depression. As always, for those of you that choose to follow our story we thank you, we appreciate you, and we love your support.