- panic disorder,
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
- social phobia (or social anxiety disorder),
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Now, many people would argue with us that this was the wrong thing to do...but here is my argument: if you child had diabetes, would you deny them insulin? Of course not. The anxiety disorders weren't just making her uncomfortable. They weren't a little bit of an issue. They were a HUGE issue. A sweet, caring and loving 12 year old had shoved herself inside her closet, between her dresser and the wall, shaking and holding her knees crying uncontrollably because she feared going into a social situation to do something she loved. It was time to medically intervene.
Life since then has been a ride of ups and downs. She struggles with being on medication. At thirteen, she feels stupid being on them. She feels like something is wrong with her. On both sides of her genetics, there is anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, split personality disorders (from severe abuse as a child) and manic depression. We've talked with her doctor and we all agree that keeping her brain as stable as possible right now, during her teen years, is the most important thing we can do for her future.
Unschooling her has been the best choice ever. She is able to pursue her hopes and dreams, her interests and at her own pace. She can sleep as much as needed. She is not graded. She is not judged. Is she still uncomfortable in social situations? Yes. Do we push her? No. Is that hard sometimes? Yes. Sometimes I just want to get out of the house and do something without it causing massive anxiety attacks and hours to get out of the door.
She was very brave last weekend when just the two of us ventured into Boston, our new home town, on the subway and spent the day walking around the city. She was certain we would die...be shot, be stabbed, be hit by a car. You name it. When none of those happened, she was convinced we'd get lost, be stolen, raped and killed. When that didn't happen, I decided it was time to buy a banana and have a talk about reality and fears. We sat in Quincy Market, looking at everyone having a good time and talked about how her fears can hold peopleback. Then, we picked up the rest of our bananas, pretended they were phones and acted like crazy hooligans while we walked back to the subway. When we made it home, we was so excited she ended up jumping up and down and punched herself in the nose by accident.
Nothing bad happened. We ended up enjoying our day, to the best of her ability, just the two of us, in a new city. Amazingly, I am still here typing this in our new office, in our new home, in a new state....and we are all okay. :) We're going off to the mall now to have the kid's feet measured and buy new shoes. She's not panicking a bit at the moment. I know once we get there, she will fear her little sister will be stolen and that we'll be kidnapped, but that's just another day in our life. Time to go prove that fear wrong!