Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years

By Cheryl Dellasega | Go to book overview

13
Discovering Boundaries:
Saving Our Daughters,
Saving Ourselves

We try and we try. We try when everyone else gives up, and we try when professionals tell us we should turn our energies elsewhere. Despite consistent recommendations to place Ellen in residential care, it was another thing I refused to do, sure she wasn't that sick. It was only in the fall of eleventh grade, when the physician who had cared for her over the entire three years of her illness spoke honestly to me, that I realized I could no longer fight the battle for Ellen.

"How's it going?" Dr. L. asked, as he always did at the beginning of our clinic visits. This time, he had come out to the waiting room where I sat alone, which I knew meant something was on his mind.

"Not too well." He'd heard that from me before; knew all the reasons that might be so: Ellen's school troubles, weight loss, worsening depression—I'm sure he had the list of her problems memorized as well as I did. Further, like me, he could sense when she was going downhill long before her weight dropped to life-threatening levels.

"What's going on?"

"Her rages are out of control. I'm afraid of her—we all are." I went on to describe her escalating anger and depression as well as the

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