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New Skills with School: Lemonade!

By September 6, 2014May 15th, 2020No Comments

First week down with the girls back in school and feeling successful. I was so proud of Chloe last weekend before her first day back. It’s common for those of us who struggle with a mental illness to try to bite off more than we know we can chew. Unlike those of you with “normal” brains, we tend to be hyper-sensitive and overstimulated easily. We can’t power through things or “suck it up” like many can.

Last week, Chloe told me she wanted to go to school full-time starting the first day back. My stomach dropped when she told me. The circumstances seemed all too familiar from the past three years. She would go into school all gung-ho and excited only to get overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, defeated and then depressed. Depression would turn into dread of attending school and then refusal, unable to get past her fear of failure. A self-defeating cycle that would haunt her day after day, causing her to miss a lot of school. Last year, Chloe was enrolled part-time but only attended about 30% of the time. We found an amazing school that caters to kids who struggle like Chloe. It’s called Armadillo Technical Institute. They have much smaller class sizes and are able to be very flexible with schedules and expectations.

After Chloe told me she wanted to go full-time, I remained calm and positive and encouraged her to use her new skills moving forward and listen to her body’s cues. Jeff and I let her know that if she needed to scale back we would be supportive and she shouldn’t feel badly about herself or ashamed. The days passed by as we planned transportation and meal needs for her full-time schedule. About 6 p.m. the night before her first day at school, Chloe said to me, “Mama, I’ve decided I only want to go to school part-time. I think it will be too much for me if I go full-time.”

“Hallelujah!” That was the best news I’d heard in months! Her self-realization of what was appropriate for her was a sweet lemonade victory and worth some of that misery and pain we all endured last summer. Cheers to part-time school for my Chloe!

Andrea Berryman Childreth

Author Andrea Berryman Childreth

Andrea Berryman Childreth is an award-winning author of the book, ON THE EDGE: Help and hope for parenting children with mental illness, founder of The Lemonade Project, advocate and parent coach. She has first-hand experience with parenting a mentally ill daughter and has struggled with mental illness, herself. Her goal is to help empower people to openly share their stories and improve access to equitable mental health services.

More posts by Andrea Berryman Childreth

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