I have a daughter. She is an amazing kid. The kind of kid that you think is 20 when she is only 11. She is wise; an old soul. She is thoughtful, honest and real. She doesn’t bully, yell or make messes. She is polite and thoughtful. She doesn’t bring drama. She does what I ask of her, most of the time. She watches her brothers, makes her own lunch, does her homework, cleans her room, says her prayers and does her chores.
But she is fragile. Very fragile.
She is on the verge of breaking. Her spirit seems to be drifting further and further away from me and I don’t know how to help her or how to fix it.
My amazing daughter is riddled with anxiety. The real deal anxiety. Everything makes her nervous… like the can’t sleep, sick in the bathroom kind of nervous. She is a classic introvert. She hates attention of any kind. Because of this, nothing seems to excite her anymore. She expects disappointment. She has no hobbies and can’t seem to stick to anything. She thinks she is bad at everything. She thinks she is ugly. She thinks she is fat. She is none of those things she thinks.
Her joy seems to have evaporated from her soul before my eyes. It seems to have evaporated with my marriage. I gained newfound happiness while she lost hers. I can tell she is angry, inside, but she is but she is too polite to rage.
I have tried counseling. I have tried tough love. I have tried doctors. I have tried incentives and journaling and artistic outlets and exercise. She hates it all. I am worried she will start to hate me, too.
How do you help someone who won’t accept help? How do you fix someone who won’t believe that things will be better? How can you force someone to find joy??? How do you save someone’s spirit before it completely dissolves?
It strikes me that this situation is similar to loving an addict who doesn’t know they need help or doesn’t want it. It’s slow motion movement to the ending that everyone already knows and despite the intense desire to fix it or change it you are left on the sidelines as a spectator. Helpless.