How Helping Me, Helped Me, Help Her
I had been parenting my traumatized daughter for 7 years. She has severe RAD. Her behaviors were completely out of hand. She was a mess. *I* was a mess! I had gained 20 lbs. and felt bewildered. I was wondering who's life I was living because this certainly could not be mine. I was not THAT parent. MY kids were good and well behaved and were always perfectly groomed in the cutest clothes. Being depressed is not something that had ever been an issue for me but I felt it was creeping in and considered consulting a doctor about medication. I didn't feel like myself anymore.
One beautiful spring day I dusted off my old bike and went for a ride. It. Felt. Amazing! For one thing, I wasn't home to get the calls from school...BONUS! That year I rode every chance I got. It felt so good and freeing with the wind blowing my cares away. I registered for a 50 mile all women cycling event. The most I had ridden was 15. I was nervous and didn't know if I could do it. I did. Then I registered for a triathlon. I didn't swim.....or run! (I'm not that smart) I decided I better change that and started training. I started swimming, running or cycling every day. I did the triathlon and my attitude toward my life and my situation and my daughter started to change. Then I ran a half marathon and I was hooked. Crazy was still happening at home but I seemed to be gaining better coping skills.
SELF CARE.....I had always considered that to be a night out with my husband or a massage or a girls weekend away. But those were only temporary fixes. My emotional self came back with a vengeance as soon as I was slapped in the face with my real life. When I spent time actually WORKING on me and feeling better about myself I was more loving and able to help her when she was having her "moments". I had gotten off her roller coaster of emotions and when she realized I wasn't riding it with her sometimes SHE would get off too! It didn't seem to have the satisfaction for her that it used to. Sometimes, it doesn't matter what we do, our kids are stuck. STUCK. Sometimes, the best we can do is work on ourselves and be there for them when they are ready.
I'm not a fitness expert. Not even close. I called exercise the "E" word. Cursed it. Hated it even! Ice cream was (still is) one of my best friends. But I can say the "E" word, it's addictive and I have an addictive personality so...there you go.
My daughter goes to New Hope Academy (http://newhopeproject.weebly.com/). An incredible school that specializes in helping hurt kids. I've been taking the kids on a run each week. We talk about how we feel while we're running.....awesome, the sun feels amazing, I like the wind on my face, it feels good to keep up with the group, burning fat, I'm exercising, we're getting healthy blood to our brains and hearts. All words from the kids. The look on their faces when we're done and the proud feeling of accomplishment I see in their eyes says it all. The shame they are consumed with vanishes just for that moment. It's a priceless gift.
It hasn't been an easy process. The key to success for me has been this: always be registered to do an event....or 2. Something difficult that feels like just a little more than I've already done. FEAR is a great motivator! That will look different for everyone. For some it may mean a 5k and for others it may be an Ironman. Doesn't matter. You're moving! We've incorporated it into our family dynamic. Together we have completed 5 and 10k's with more to come and the kiddos are having great time, when the whining is over anyway! I'm far from my goal but I'm on my way and I'm totally lapping the couch sitters. I have worked hard to get where I am. So has my daughter. She has done a tremendous amount of healing over the last few years and so have I. I'm proud of her.....and me, too!
- Amy Hanson - BeTA Alumni
44 yerar old mom of 5
(2 bio, 3 adopted)