One of the problems about my cyclothymia discovered when I was going through CBT and counselling is I've either blanked out or blocked huge swathes of memories in my life. Lots of people do this a bit, I've subconsciously made it an art.
I can't remember a lot of my teenage years. I remember being depressed a lot during them, but I also know my head concentrates on the negatives, the failures, the embarrassments and forgets good times.
For a while in counselling we tried to rebuild some of these memories, but the painful destructive stuff kept taking over. So I now I've given up on looking back and try to divert my energies to making NOW good, fun and happy. And trying to make the passing through the valley of teenage as painless as possible for my kids.
The dreaded teenage years have hit Goth Child like a meteorite crashing into earth....and the huge crater it's created is raw and open.
Luckily for Goth Child, the many ways in which she's similar to me are matched by plenty of dissimilarities. But I feel so much for the poor thing. Her body is changing in all the predictable ways and the hormones and growth spurts have left her exhausted and not in control of her moods or emotions. I'd totally forgotten how tired you get in your early teens....and yet this is the time when we pile more pressures on our youngsters.
In addition to the emotional upheaval we dumped on her moving her to another continent (which I have to say I'm sure she coped with far better than I ever would at that age) she's just moved from Junior High to High School and boy, do they work them hard here in the States!
For safety's sake I'm not going to tell you what time she starts school, but let's just say it's 2-3 hours earlier than most UK schools or even workplaces start each morning.
I don't know how many studies I've seen over the years ('benefit' of being a journalist) about teenagers functioning best with later starts in the morning, but that's not the Arizona way. In fairness to the school district, the extremely early morning start is justified by it meaning kids can get out of school in the early afternoon, so avoiding walking or biking home in the highest heat of the day. But still.
And Goth Child is the last person on earth you'd call a morning person.
I keep telling her that it will get better.
I keep trying to find ways to make each day a little easier, supporting her in any choices she makes.
I keep giving her hugs when she gets so tired and frustrated all she can do is cry.
I keep trying to tell her that things don't have to be perfect, there are always second/third/seven hundred and twenty-second chances....this seems to be the hardest thing for her to take in - she thinks she HAS TO make the right subject choices NOW as it WILL affect her whole life, she thinks she HAS TO get that perfect shot for her school photography project because THIS rainstorm might NEVER happen again - I suppose this is just one of those things she's going to have to work out for herself.....and with her being so much like me, it could be another twenty years before the penny drops.
Teenagers eh?! Who'd 'ave 'em?
Me, that's who :)