Relapses are a bitter reminder that a mental illness must always be managed. I received a message from a college friend last weekend that her 14-year-old Aspergers daughter had been admitted to inpatient treatment for severe depression. Her daughter is a cutter and had a similar episode a year ago. People cut to mask the pain they feel inside; to distract them from it. For many, it’s a very shameful behavior but one that can become addictive quickly. Other behaviors that mask internal pain are drinking too much, overworking, gambling, shopping (guilty), eating disorders, the list goes on.
Chloe struggles with depression too and for a kid with Aspergers, it can often go unnoticed because of their deep thinking, introverted personality. My friend’s message perked up my awareness and reminded me the importance of checking in with both my girls. It’s easy to get wrapped up in my own thoughts and life that I forget to be conscious of my daughters’ behaviors and body language, especially Chloe’s. Sophia is good at expressing her feelings but Chloe struggles with identifying what her feelings are in the present. It can take weeks for her to process them then connect feelings to thoughts and words.
I want to thank my friend for sharing with me her family’s current struggles with her daughter. It was a good reminder for me to be aware of our loved ones, especially those who struggle, and check in periodically. Sending positive energy your way, IU sister!