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Monday, March 14, 2016


You know what the worst part of a rage is? The actual rage is pretty terrible, don't get me wrong. But the worst part of a rage is the collateral damage. The people who witness the rage and are destroyed, one piece at a time, by it. Watching the rager, himself, realize how he is negatively affecting all the people he loves the most. Watching him desperately cry because he can't stop his anger, and he knows how devastating his anger is to those around him. That's the worst part.

As a mother, I don't know if I'm doing enough to bolster the positives in our family. I don't know if I'm reassuring the kids well enough that they are incredible, special, and loved beyond comprehension. But I also don't know how else to show them other than what I'm doing.

"Is it enough?" constantly haunts me.

When my littlest people have to witness a rage from the older people, the pain is compounded. Having to hold my baby while she cries, having to wrap my free arm around my little boy while he whimpers, listening to their fears that someone is going to die from this rage, someone is going to die. Or hearing my daughter weep because we will have to replace yet another broken item that was damaged during a rage, and she's worried we won't have any money left. Or not being able to finish their homework with them because we're busy dealing with rages all evening. Breaks my heart. 

I don't know if I'm doing enough. I don't know what more to do to completely stop the rages. I don't think that's even a possibility at this point. I think nervous systems are out of whack, immature, and not healed. Right now, the rages are much better than they have been during crisis modes of the past. But the rages still happen and are intense and scary. Especially to a small child who witnesses it.

I worry that my little ones are growing up thinking that this is an acceptable way to behave. I worry they will gravitate towards people who are abusive to them in the future. I worry they suffer from PTSD. I worry the rages exacerbate their anxiety. I worry. All. The. Time. I worry about the ragers and their self esteem. I worry when the next rage will come. What will happen. What will be broken. Who will be broken. Whether bodies will be broken the next time, or just hearts. I worry.

Is it enough?

Is it enough that Alex and I are here? We are a constant, solid presence in our kids' lives. We are here through thick and thin, good and horrible. We lose it sometimes. We yell sometimes. We wish this wasn't our life sometimes. But we're still here. We get out of bed every day, put our feet firmly on the floor, and show up for our kids. We hug them, kiss them, give them unending snuggles. We work through rages to get homework done. We tell them, every day, sometimes every 5 minutes, that we love them. We are proud of them. They are wonderful human beings. We teach them to be kind, we help them learn to live in this crazy, unjust world as best they can. We find ways to experience fun and joy with them. We laugh. Sometimes we way too hard and at inappropriate times. Which makes the laughter even funnier.  

We're here. 

But is it enough? I don't know. 

I grasp every opportunity that passes by that may help all of my children. New medications, new supplements, new therapies, new books, new diagnoses...I constantly try to find new answers because I think there's still something we haven't figured out, especially about the older kiddos. I think there's still an unsolved mystery. And I feel like once I find that answer, many things will fall into place and we will have more peace. I could be delusional. There may be no magical answer. This may be as good as it gets. But I live in hope of always improving my kids' lives, and my own. 

Something interesting has happened to me over the past few months. When a boy has a rage, I don't feel like I'm caught in the middle of the tornado's eye. I feel like I'm watching the tornado from a distance. Like from a safe place in my basement that doesn't have windows that will crack. I don't feel the intensity of getting caught up in it emotionally. I'm able to distance myself from the rage, protect my heart, and help my family move through it. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I totally lose it and yell and scream and get angry. Sometimes I even cry. (Which freaks everyone out, so I try not to do that.) But sometimes it happens, because sometimes I still can't believe this is my life. But there's been a change in how I am able to function independently of the rage. I like it. It makes me feel less vulnerable to my boys' energy when they are having breakdowns. I don't take on the desperate, illogical energy anymore. I can witness it from arm's length and deal with it, not become it. I definitely like that. 

I know from the outside it's easy to say to me that you think I am doing enough. That what I'm doing is all I can do and that that is enough. But what if it's not? I've realized that no matter what I say or do or believe about my beautiful children, they are their own people who have their own beliefs about themselves. I can't fix everything, I can't heal all their wounds. I can hug them and reassure them that no matter what I will always always adore them. But I can't fix the tremors of their souls when they doubt themselves and believe negative things about themselves. I can't stop my baby from worrying about our money, or worrying that her brother is going to hurt someone or himself while he is angry. I can't stop my little boy from shaking with anxiety while he holds his puppy and watches helplessly as his brothers anger foams and spills over. I try to keep them away from the rages, to shield them, but sometimes it's just impossible. I can't help my ragers when they weep for their brother and sister and the pain they have caused. I can't make my ragers truly believe that they are good human beings, worthy of love and all things good. I can't stop their rages and I can't heal all wounds.

I just don't know if it's all enough.  

I do have eternal hope. I have hope that I will find the mysterious answers to all my kid questions. I have hope that my children are growing into kind, smart, wonderful people. I have hope that they are not too damaged by their own nervous systems or the world outside our front door. I have hope that they are always going to be ok, that Alex and I have done enough to anchor their self esteem and self worth. I have hope that the fact that Alex and I are always here for them is worth something. I try not to let my worry consume me. But it always naggles at the back of my brain. I'm sure every parent has this same worry. 

I guess all there is to do is keep getting out of bed every morning, keep showing up, keep telling the kids how crazy I am about them, keep searching for answers, keep on trekking to see what comes next for us on this interesting journey of life. 

I hope it's all enough.