Those who know me well understand I suffer from bouts of depression and am an all or nothing person which makes me not a particularly easy person to live with on top of that I am also a "fixer" and slight control freak. However, I do my absolute best to do what I can to support and help my girls to achieve better health and stability.
To this end I go to one to one therapy via adult mental health services and also go via CAMHS for specific family therapy and support. Also both myself and Dave have been assessed by our mental health team as they need to understand our flaws and issues to be better able to help the girls as it gives them the bigger picture and helps them see why we do what we do as parents and help us improve our interactions/decision making processes. It has been noted that we are a unique family as each individual member has specific issues to deal with and these have a knock on effect on everyone else within the family unit ~ we have been told we are complicated and unlucky with what we have had to address over the years. This makes us cracked, definitely, but absolutely not broken.
The girls have had chronic illness & issues since childhood, Tara her bowels, Tasha her chest and Keisha her social problems then in later years ME, anxiety and depression, which means we have been to so many meetings, seen so many medical professionals and had so many plans of treatment/action over the years that it is easy to become disillusioned with the system.
However, this time around, after yesterdays team review meeting for all three girls it has to be said we are feeling more positive than ever before.
We have been incredibly fortunate after our previous years of searching for the right people to work and establish a bond of trust and understanding with, to have been linked with our allocated CAMHS team of family workers, therapists and psychiatrist. Together with their help we have since been referred to an Occupational Therapist who is specialised in helping with our daughters issues, along with a Paediatric Consultant within the NHS (so no more huge private doctor bills) who is open to working with the rest of the team to provide a cohesive holistic care plan for them. Our dietician referral has gone through and our appointment is for the end of the month, which means we will meet and have another team member on board then too. In addition to our hospital team we also have our wonderful osteopath who is now also considered a friend, we trust her and value her advice and support and quite frankly wouldn't be without her. Tasha also has her fortnightly visits with her peer mentor who is also invaluable and Tara has just started with her Nisai virtual education, the staff at this online school are geared up to working with children with ME ~ which is a huge relief and means we don't have to push to gain their understanding as it is already there for us.
M.E. and mental health issues are a truly difficult illnesses to negotiate. It varies from sufferer to sufferer and the symptoms wax and wane and change continually. Some days can be truly horrific whilst others they can appear to the outside world to be perfectly "fit and well" ~ being "invisible" illnesses makes it, at times, very difficult to explain.
So, back to what I was saying ~ we had a review meeting yesterday with the team. Our OT is going to meet with myself and the girls mid next week to discuss setting up their heart rate monitoring pacing schedule. It is a very slow, gentle, progressive regime to prevent the body being put under any stress and has had good successes with other teens. Our CAMHS team are organising regular contact between professionals at all times and to that end they have each others email addresses, so will update the rest of the team after each encounter with the girls ~ this way everyone working with them is always 100% up to date with their progress/issues/problems which means we are always moving forward. All the way through this we will be supported as a family via our family worker. and the girls via their one to one sessions. They will be helping us to address any emotional issues we may encounter along this journey together, chronic illness and mental health issues cause so many fractures and misunderstandings that mean it is incredibly important to work at maintaining clarity when emotions threaten to take over.
We have hopes and dreams for the girls and their future ~ we are focusing on Tara completing her 2 years of Nisai and then moving onto College to do her 4 one year modules to gain her media qualification. Tasha is hoping to be fit enough to enrol in College to do a part-time art foundation course in September 2015 then after that follow some kind of tuition to explore her photography. Keisha is applying for jobs whilst also writing and creating some unique and beautiful jewellery in her small workroom downstairs. She has managed to complete her 4 weeks of NCS and then went to the Leeds Festival, huge achievements and I am so proud of her at working towards beating her demons.
We have also been astounded by certain individuals, who despite having issues to address themselves have given unconditional support and friendship to us. I know those people know who they are and I just want to let them know how cherished they are.
So cracked, yes most definitely, but broken ~ never.