Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking down walls

I haven't felt like writing in weeks but it's amazing how two days in a row at home, in conjunction with some long overdue marital relations and a decent nap can make a person feel so much better.

This week has been an interesting one.  It's funny how something really unexpected and, well, crummy, can serve to wreak important and positive change.  We are going into week 6 (?) of DJ's hospitalization.  She is, again, being treated as an outpatient.  She has been coming home in the evenings for over a week now and it seems (knock on wood) that the self injurious behavior is becoming a thing of the past.  She has found multiple other ways to help her cope with her feelings of stress, anxiety and occasional feelings of despair.  Four days ago, however, she was only on her third night home and was still having to work hard to share her difficulties with us....that is, until I hit the house with my pickup truck.

I started a new job teaching 3 paramedic courses and Tuesdays are one of two 14-15 hour days, during which time I am on my feet nearly the entire time, talking, teaching and thinking.  Thinking is not my strong suit, so when I am required to do it for extended periods of time, I tend to be quite taxed at the end of the day.  I had taken my shoes off for the drive home, and on turning into my driveway, I leaned down to grab my shoes, and thought, "Don't be stupid, wait until you've come to a stop," but during that pause, I can only guess that my feet lost their orientation because when I stepped on what I thought was the brake, I felt no resistance whatsoever, AND the house kept getting bigger in my windshield.  Obviously, I didn't hit the brake.  Either I just tapped the accelerator, or my foot was completely disoriented, and I hit the clutch, because I was moving fairly slowly when I hit the house.  No airbag deployment, and I missed the load-bearing corner of the house by a foot, thank goodness.

Bulldog hears me hit the house, but after multiple years of overseas missions where he actually has heard explosions, he thinks he has heard/felt an explosion from our neighbor's house.  He immediately pounds on the bathroom door where DJ is showering to tell her to dress quickly, as there has been an explosion.  The poor girl has been subject to so many of our stupid 12/21/12 doomsday conversations that she actually thinks (albeit only momentarily) that Armageddon has begun.  Within minutes, however, both Bulldog and DJ realized that there was no hazard, especially since their wife/mother had removed the keys from the ignition and applied the brake after rebounding from the impact.

Bulldog begins to shore up the garage door opening with lumber while I lay down with DJ to make sure she's not rattled since it's time for her to get some sleep, as she must get up early to be back at the eating disorders unit the next morning.  I hear her sigh and she says,"I feel so guilty.  You guys are already paying money for my hospitalization and now this."

"This is NOT your fault and besides, we have insurance for these things," I reply.

"Yeah, but you'll still have to pay for my surgery....." and then she went on to say how she feels responsible.  She continues by saying how much she loves us but feels like she doesn't show it enough and how she thinks she is selfish.  I guess she needed a catalyst in the form of a 2000 pound vehicle hitting a stationary object to propel her to share some of her worst feelings with us.  I'm happy to put a dent in a wall with a pick-up truck if it helps DJ put a dent in her emotional walls.

Seriously though, I was so glad that she could say what she was thinking and how she felt.  It gave me a chance to set her straight and to remind her that "distorted thinking" is one of the hallmarks of anorexia.  "You are a joy to Dad and me," I told her.  "We are prepared for all of this, so don't worry.  Besides, this is what people who love each other do-they stand by each other because each of us is going to need someone at some point in our lives."

Since then, she doesn't seem to have anywhere near the same degree of difficulty in sharing her feelings with us.  And she makes use of art and music to support her, and she's even started texting a couple of friends again.  We are movie geeks around here and quote movies all the time to get our points across, so in attempt to illustrate the importance of her realizing her success, no matter how seemingly slight, I quoted a line from the movie, "Contact" to her: "Small moves (DJ) small moves."  She grinned.