child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Saturday, December 10, 2011

my niece

It has been a stressful couple of days.  I called my mom-in-law yesterday and learned that one of my nieces is in the psych hospital.  Again.  She called 911, said she felt unstable, like she was going to hurt herself.  The ambulance took her to Children's Hospital where she stayed for several hours before being transferred to the  mental hospital.  This isn't her first merry go round with this.  Her life's timeline could almost be told from trauma to trauma, from suicidal intentions to hospital stays to cutting to running away to hospital stays.

This time feels different to me.  Something about this time feels very disconcerting to me.  Something feels very, very wrong this time. I know some view her as just wanting attention.  I don't.  She is a hurt young lady.  Sure, I guess there is some need to get attention in all of this.  But I get angry that her parents refuse to see her hurt.  Her step mom insists that she is just an angry teenager with no legitimate problems.  Her dad  is clueless and will never see her as anyone more than the girl who annoys his wife.

Hey, I can't say that if I were in her shoes right now that I wouldn't have made the same call.  She's hurt.  She's lonely.  She's unloved and unnoticed at home.  They don't want her.  They say she is just trying to get attention.  And you know what I think about that?  I say, hell, if the girl is attempting suicide to get your attentions, then maybe you should pay attention to her!  Now, I do believe there is more, much, much, more to this.  I believe she wants to die until she starts to and then gets scared.  I believe her intentions are real and based out of a crappy hand that life dealt her.  But then when she thinks about actually dying, she is afraid she will let someone down or hurt someone or that she just gets plain old scared of dying.

And here is where it gets hard for me.  I get it.  I know what it is like to live life measured from one suicide attempt to the next.  I know what it is like to be a teenager drinking myself to sleep at night to escape the pain of being me.  I know what it is like to hurt my body simply because it hurts less than the emotional pain.  I know what it is like to hurt my body just to see if I can still feel anything.   And yet, I want to see her want to get better.  I can't make her better.  She has to decide on her own that this isn't working for her and take the steps to make her life what she wants it to be not what she was dealt.  And it puts me in the hardest position of anyone in the family. 

I know her hurt all too well.  Sure things have been different, we have dealt with different painful experiences but we both have known very deep pain.  I'm the only one who completely validates where she is at emotionally.  I also know that she is almost an adult now.  In a few short months, her parents will kick her out and she will be left to figure it out on her own.  She is pretty much at the point now that life is going to be what she makes of it.  And I find myself angry that no one has prepared her for such a life.  Her parents think only of how quickly they can get her out, it's all they have thought of for years.  They say she is lazy, but they never taught her how to work. They get mad that she has no coping skills but they have neither modeled them nor helped her find to a professional to help her learn them.

My niece is about to enter the world as an adult and she is terrified that she doesn't have what it takes to make it.  So she threatens suicide and gets a warm bed, 3 meals cooked for her and doesn't have to listen to her step mom berating her all the time.  Doesn't sound like too bad of a gig to me.  Hey, I'm a functioning adult and have days that I miss the hospital and having no responsibility in taking care of myself. I think that maybe that is why it bothers me so much more this time around.  I think it is sinking in that she is nearly an adult but doesn't know how to be one.  I think she is terrified that she will not be able to make it in the big girl world and it seems easier to opt out before the time comes to face it.

Of course, I also think there is a little bit of a jab in there at her parents who don't want her.  Of course, I do think there is some "NOW they'll pay attention" in there.  I do think she could kill herself but I don't think she will, at least not yet.  And it breaks my heart to say not yet when referring to my niece.  It breaks my heart to see her depression spiraling out of control only to be told that she is fine and just trying to get me to feel sorry for her.  I see her pain, probably better than all of the family combined, and I can not help her other than to tell her she isn't crazy and that she can make it through this.  I feel really helpless.  And I know she does too.  You can only feel helpless for so long before you either fight back or give in. 

Here's to praying she fights back instead of giving in.  I sure do love that little girl, she has had my heart from the first time I ever met her .  I wish I could make it all better and it breaks my heart that I can't.

1 comment:

  1. I will say a prayer for her tonight. and for you too.

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