How My Daughter’s Anxiety Affected Me
Anxiety – it’s a word that strikes fear into any individual who has suffered from it. People will tell you they are anxious about something, but that’s usually the normal level of anxiousness – it’s completely different from having anxiety.
For real sufferers it’s a debilitating illness. It squeezes the breath right out of you and immobilises you with fear. Sometimes that fear is genuine, based on a true threat, but most of the time it’s irrational, based on imagined threats and worries.
To suffer from anxiety is difficult but most of us find ways to cope over time. To watch someone else, someone you love suffer from it – is soul destroying. As a parent your main aim in life is to make your children feel loved, safe and happy. You try to teach them right from wrong, how to value themselves and others, and how to survive life’s complications. When something goes wrong you step in to fix it and everyone moves on, happy.
But what if there is something you can’t fix? What if something has taken over their body or mind? Alcoholism, drug addiction, physical illness, mental illness? Any parent will tell you this is the most soul destroying, heart breaking moment of their life. You feel helpless, useless, betrayed by life itself. Yet you know that you are still their parent. You know you would do anything for your babies no matter their age, so you stand up and you fight! You search for information, answers, solutions. You ask for help for your children, even if they don’t want it, even if they resent you for it! You make the difficult decisions, the difficult calls. Anything to get your child happy and healthy again.
At her very worst, Erin tried to take her own life.
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
That’s when my parent stubbornness took over. She could hate me for the rest of her life for what I was about to do but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that she got help and that she got better. My grand baby needed a mum, even though daddy is a good man; I needed a daughter, even if she resented me for the rest of my life. So I picked up the phone and called the NHS helpline. I was willing to have her put in to psychiatric care as long as it saved her life. Stuart and Erin tried to stop me but I stood my ground. They screamed at me, swore at me, ignored me. It hurt, but I was not going to let my child die!
The doctors and other medical staff on the helpline were amazing. They asked me to explain the situation, they asked me about how I felt, they asked about Erin. When they spoke to her on the phone I watched a lot of her stress drain away instantly. They didn’t have to take her away, they just had to make her talk – and she did. That was the turning point.
Erin and I repaired our relationship quite quickly. We were lucky. For some parents that might no be the case. But as parents we have a job to keep our children safe, I can happily say I try to do that every day and will continue to do so until the day I die regardless of the outcomes for myself.