Trying to Survive:
Getting Through a Day,
an Afternoon, or an Hour
How do you hold your life together when your child is falling apart? What do you do to stop her crisis from destroying your other family members, who are just as precious to you as she is? Is there ever an end to the turmoil?
I only have my own answers to those questions, and they all relate to keeping myself functional. When I fall apart, it seems everyone else does, too. During the years of enduring Ellen's problems, I've learned, somehow, ways to avoid collapsing, although I can't say they always work. Sometimes I simply have to recognize the difficulty of that day, knowing I've survived before and can do so again. I've even come to make a game of it—classifying my days by my mood.
My "nightmare days" are the most benign. Did you ever have a really bad dream that woke you with a start and gave you a chill each time you remembered it? That's how those days feel to me, except the things that scare me really happened. The most notable one I remember was when Ellen first got restrained in the hospital. I didn't see it, but the nurses told me about it. For the rest of that day, the image of her bound up and immobile kept coming back to me, making me shiver with horror.