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Being at Odds with a Child with O.D.D.

Oppositional defiance disorder is an often misunderstood mental disorder. it is perceived to be a child being a brat because they didn’t get their way. I get that, but there is always more to these fits and it’s all about a child’s inability to regulate, filter through and communicate their feelings. YES! O.D.D. Is selfish just like most mental disorders and illnesses are. These kids do act like brats and as parents we are pulling our hair out to figure out the fix to the problem.

If you have ever dealt with a child having an outburst and sat as they screamed at you ‘I wish you weren’t my mom!’ Then you might understand this illness more than you think. If you’ve ever been cussed out by a ten year old as they slam their fists into the wall then I feel your frustration. If you’ve ever sat and cried wondering what you did wrong to end up with a child acting this way then I know your pain. I too have sat silently biting my tongue as I wanted to throw a fit that matched the ferocity of my child. I also have looked in her eyes as she stared blankly at me as she told me that she wished I was dead. I’ve cried the tears of hurt from those words and fought against my feelings of anger towards my child for being so spiteful and disrespectful. I’ve also held the child as she cried after and loved her through the crash of the comedown. It’s not fair.

As a mom to my threefold who all suffer from mental disorders and illnesses, I know the pain, fear, challenge, and chaos that comes from Mommin’ mental illness. It ain’t easy! You are THAT mom. Being THAT mom means you deal with the judgment, scrutiny, and guilt that results from your child’s illness. You are also THAT mom who is willing to try just about whatever to take away the pain your child experiences and find a path to peace for all of you. Being THAT mom means going above and beyond for your child, advocating for them, seeking help, and learning about the issues they are experiencing and how to mom mental illness better.

Oppositional defiance disorder is just one disorder that two of my threefold suffer from. It also may be one of the most difficult that I manage. Due to its aggressive and volatile nature and the violent behaviors that come with the uncontrollable anger it is often difficult to find the right way to parent this problem. At the end of the day I always try to find solutions that will help us shorten the outbursts and maintain safety during these situations. If I can pass along advice to other parents who are trying to find a way to manage mental illness by telling our story I will. The following will hopefully shed a little light on what oppositional defiance disorder is and how you can manage the meltdowns.

Understanding & Parenting Tips for Oppositional Defiance Disorder

What is O.D.D.?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a mental health disorder in which children are unable to regulate their emotions properly and display those behaviors through outbursts. These outbursts are often aggressive, violent, destructive and are marked by angry and vindictive actions. The behavior displayed is usually seemingly disproportionate to the situation that triggered the reaction and their age.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a disorder that affects roughly 16% of school aged children according to NAMI. Oppositional Defiance Disorder ranges in severity from mild to severe and the severity is dependent upon how many areas of life are affected. These different areas are family, social, and school environments. The severity is also determined by the frequency and intensity of the outbursts.

Diagnosis

Determining if your child has O.D.D. requires a diagnosis from a mental health professional after an assessment of their behavior and a thorough history of the behavior from parents, teachers, and if possible the child exhibiting the behaviors. Usually a history of one or more outbursts per week that are not age or situation appropriate is the largest determining factor in a O.D.D. diagnosis.

A thorough family history of mental health disorders and illnesses along with any other behaviors or symptoms the child may display can help the evaluation to find the proper diagnosis for your child. O.D.D. is often linked to others disorders and illnesses that need treatment and to be addressed in addition to the anger. Childhood trauma, parenting, stress, bullying and lack of control of environmental factors can also be found to be root issues that have your child unable to express or comprehend the complex emotions they are having. Mental illnesses such as mood disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and PTSD are also linked to oppositional defiance disorder. Therefore an evaluation would bring more understanding as a parent to what factors are playing into your child’s behavior.

What is an Outburst?

If you don’t know what an anger outburst is then you probably don’t have a child with O.D.D. A child with O.D.D. can get irrationally angry and aggressive when a parent denies the child’s request for candy before dinner. They could react in a violent manner when asked to complete simple tasks. Disrespectful and vindictive behavior can be shown when a teacher redirects the child from continuing talking out of turn. A rage fueled argument could arise with a friend of when the child feels that the friend is not following their interpretation of the rules. This emotional ineptitude is expected in children younger than five, but beyond that age they should have began to filter their emotions and communicate them in a healthier way.

If you think of a toddler who throws a tantrum when you remove a toy from their hand or say no that would be similar to how a child reacts who has O.D.D. ‘Don’t take candy from a baby’ comes to mind as the type of fit a small child has. While it’s understandable that a two year old throws themselves on the floor, hits, screams or cries in response, it is not acceptable for a ten year old to throw a fit like that in response to a similar undesirable outcome. ‘Don’t cry over spilled milk’ would be a good example of the triggered response of a child with O.D.D. has to unwanted outcomes and minor inconveniences.

Outbursts consistent with those seen in oppositional defiance disorder often involve the following characteristics:

  • Extreme anger out of proportion to the situation.
  • Yelling, screaming, and crying.
  • Destruction of property
  • Cursing or other obscene language
  • Hitting and kicking objects or others in their space.
  • Throwing objects at others or in the vicinity.
  • Berating the person who has redirected, reprimanded or refused the child.
  • Manipulative, spiteful, and vindictive behavoids exhibited.
  • Self harm or threats of suicide.
  • Lack of care of consequences given or stated.

Parenting the Problem and Seeking Support

I know how challenging parenting any child can be at times, but it’s a completely different ballgame when you have a child who suffers from any form of mental health disorder or illness. An explosive and potentially violent or aggressive child is anxiety inducing for everyone involved and can feel hopeless for a parent who is trying to handle this behavior. It’s important that you are aware of the possible triggers, the surroundings for safety and how you can help to deescalate the outburst quickly and effectively.

As a mom to two children who were diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder at the age of eight and nine, I am going to give you my do’s and don’ts for managing the meltdowns that come with oppositional defiance disorder. These are merely my experiences, my understanding, and the suggestions I was given from articles, books, therapists, and parenting coaches.

What DIDN’T Work

I would’ve tried just about anything to stop the spiral that consumed my daughters and I multiple times each week. I didn’t want to feel like the failing mom who couldn’t control her kids. I would’ve paid anyone to step in and just ‘fix’ the issue. I was tired and nothing seemed to be working. I tried to find the fix, but everything I was doing seemed to trigger my child. I would beg for a quiet day and walk on eggshells in my own home to keep the peace at home. Many of the things I tried didn’t help but instead only intensified or lengthened the outburst. I felt like I had a tiny tyrant in my home who was holding my family and I hostage. She expected us to all bend to her will. I don’t recommend the following actions when trying to overcome the outbursts of O.D.D. :

  • DON’T give in! Don’t give your child what they want to avoid the outburst. Doing so will only cause them to use these outbursts to get their desired outcome quicker.
  • DON’T threaten without follow through! Do not threaten to ground them from electronics for a month knowing that’s a consequence you won’t uphold. Threats are empty and lead to lack of consideration of consequences.
  • DON’T scream or yell back. Do not engage in an argument. Do not match their behavior. Doing so will likely not only throw fuel on the fire but it will also demonstrate the behaviors you are trying to deter.
  • DON’T take it personally. Do not allow the spiteful words of your child become your truth. Your child doesn’t hate you or wish you weren’t their mom. They just want you to hurt as bad as they are in that moment.
  • DON’T leave your child unsupervised or with someone unprepared for the possibility of an outburst. Do not allow others who are uneducated about your child’s disorder to care for your child. Do not leave them unattended for lengthy amounts of time {more than 30 minutes} and not at all when experiencing an outburst.
  • DON’T react with aggression or physical punishment. I don’t disagree that you can protect your child from himself but don’t use corporal punishment to have the child comply with your commands during an outburst.
  • DON’T give them the attention for acting badly. Do not react or respond to their every distorted reaction, aggressive advance or their requests for you to do or stop doing whatever they are demanding of you in the moment. Giving attention to the negative behaviors will give them a sense of control over you. Attention whether positive or negative is still rewarding to a child with O.D.D.

What DID Work

Now that we have discussed what we shouldn’t do we can move on to the tips that may help you calm your child while having an outburst from O.D.D. I’ve tried these and although we haven’t completely eliminated the outbursts, I can say my ability to control myself and my reactions and understand the root cause has been extremely beneficial in managing the meltdown when it arises. I’m not going to pretend that O.D.D. is cured in my threefold, but it’s makes Mommin’ this mental illness a little more manageable than it was previously.

  • DO give your child consequences that you plan to uphold. When giving consequences make sure to speak to your child after the situation has calmed down. Ask your child ‘what consequences do you think you should get for acting this way?’ Take into consideration their age and the root cause and be firm that this is unacceptable behavior.
  • DO make sure to let them know that you love them. You don’t have to like their behavior, but you always love them.
  • DO let them know when they have hurt you. If they said something particularly nasty during the height of their anger then tell them later. You will most often hear them say they didn’t mean it. This will help them to see their behavior hurts you, but also their response can ease the sting of the words they said to hurt you.
  • DO attempt to keep the child away from other members of the family during the outburst. Safety is key for not only your child but anyone who could be impacted intentionally or unintentionally by the outburst. Keep other children in an area out of sight and earshot of the child having the outburst. One triggered child is enough, adding another could intensify the outburst making it even harder to manage.
  • DO cut yourself some slack. You’re there, trying to support them and help them through this. It takes a lot of patience and love to be the parent they feel safe to express the good, bad and ugly emotions to. It’s hard being the safe parent sometimes.
  • DO encourage open communication instead of acting out. Brainstorm ways you and your child can deescalate the situation together. Ask your child how you can help them best during their outbursts and if you can’t oblige offer an alternative.
  • DO promote healthy coping mechanisms for when these big feeling arise. What can your child do to calm down when they feel tgat they are becoming agitated?
  • DO hug your child and comfort them after they have calmed down. You don’t have to understand the behavior to offer compassion. They are still just a child who needs your comfort, because the guilt will be heavy for their behavior and they need to know you are going to love them through the hard parts.
  • DO tell your child what they did that was unacceptable and how you don’t reward bad behavior. Come up with ideas together of rewards for positive behaviors and talk about ways to earn those rewards.
  • DO set routines that your child can adhere to. Chores, homework, bedtime, and other obligations the child has should be scheduled along with the free time. Once the child becomes accustomed to a routine then they can mentally prepare for what they are supposed to do and when. This structure will allow your child to feel like they know what to expect as well as what is expected of them.
  • DO seek support from teachers and therapists, partners and siblings as you navigate. Communicate warning signs and solutions that work well for calming your child.
  • DO seek therapy as a way to help your child learn to better process and communicate their emotions. A therapist can help give you insight into the child’s behavior and also act as a safe place for your child to release troublesome emotions. The therapist can also help your child to develop coping mechanisms that they can use when they have intense emotions.

It’s important to understand that Mommin mental illness isn’t a one size fits all parenting style. You are the person who knows your child best. I would love to hear your tips and tricks for taming down the tiny tyrant who is terrorizing your home too! Share in the comments or send me an email at mythreefold@gmail.com

Mommin’ mental illness ain’t easy! Finding the balance between permissive parenting and authoritative parenting while maintaining awareness of mental illness is difficult to fine tune. Trauma informed parenting teaches us to be mindful of our children’s mental health and their current stressors while maintaining an authoritative approach. As a trauma drama bipolar momma bear I am uniquely familiar with how mental disorders like O.D.D. can make home sweet home leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s not going away, but staying consistent with your child is key. Stay patient and stay positive. You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Resources:

  • NAMI.org
  • AACAP.org
  • Childmind.org
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Mending a Broken Heart

Another emotional week is coming to a close for my threefold. ALL three are home. Hopefully for a long time! It’s been up and down around here. I’m just trying to ride the waves of emotion and be the support my threefold needs me to be. It is a hard job, this mom thing. I will be tending to broken hearts and broken promises for the foreseeable future. Being a teenage girl is hard too.

#1 experienced her first big love over the past year. Her boyfriend {we’ll call him ‘J’} and #1 have been together for about 16 months or so. This is her first long relationship. Many of her firsts happened with ‘J’. She has been in love and it’s been beautiful to watch that young love. I actually really like ‘J’ and know he has been a good support for #1 through a very tumultuous year.

Tonight though, ‘J’ called it quits with #1. Her devastation and complete breakdown was heartbreaking for me to witness. I watched and tried to calm my sweet little girl as she hyperventilated and cried uncontrollably. I wanted to hold her, but during panic attacks she has increased sensitivity to touch. instead I sat on the cold floor with her hushing calmly and telling her that she would be ok, even if she wasn’t ok in that moment, she would be. I felt helpless I wanted to fix it, but there are no magic words to mend a broken heart. Instead, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I tried to calm her insecurities and her feelings of worthlessness.

Instead of sitting on the floor we drove to the gas station down the road. We have chocolate. We have funny tv shows and movies and we have a little heartbreak hotel set up. My newly appointed adult daughter will be sleeping in her mom’s room tonight. She will be comforted with chocolate and inappropriate humor. We will ride the wave.

As I sit writing this little dramatic comedy in the making, I am stealing away my moment to cry knowing this pain will linger with her for a while. I know that the first love and the first heartbreak that usually comes with it will be forever etched in her memory. She is tough. My stick of dynamite in a tiny 4’10” body. She has grown so much and has a bright future ahead that is bound to include more love and more heartbreak. This love will be the beautiful high school story she tells one day to her own child when they experience that first love…and the heartbreak that will break hers to watch. I’m loving her through this one knowing that life goes on and that she won’t allow the heartbreak to break her completely. I’m staying positive because I know she’s got this. I’ve got her…and I’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Domino Effect

I never liked dominoes. I never was interested in playing the game. I would just line them up, stand them up on their ends and push the first one causing the rest to fall over as I watched with amusement. I would create twists and turns with the rows of upended dominoes to see how far it would continue on after the first push. It was entertaining for me. Much more so than the game itself was. This is what it feels like is happening in my life, but I’m not amused with watching as everything falls apart around me.

It’s March 1st. I should be writing a February Goal Getter recap and a March Goal Getter Guide. I should be spouting off about everything we have accomplished and how we do it. I should be writing a congratulatory letter to myself as I get to say this week I will have successfully raised one of my threefold to adulthood. #1 of my threefold turns 18 in only a few days. I should be planning a 18th birthday party and car shopping. I should have a promotion and a raise in my sights. What I shouldn’t have is two daughters in crisis mode leaving mom to manage the onslaughts of stress, financial worries, emotional turmoil, and trying to figure out where I went wrong. Yet here I am mommin’ mental illness and trying to manage my own. It’s been the domino effect of triggered responses.

It was a week to the day I discharged #3 from her psychiatric facility for acute care. It was that same day that we discharged #3 that #2 was admitted to the psychiatric hospital for her crisis management. Today, I was back with #3 for another admission for acute crisis management. Yes. That’s right. I have two of my threefold admitted for psychiatric care simultaneously now. As much as I don’t want to be the mom who says that, I am. I’m completely lost in my own emotional overwhelm and exhaustion from the past several weeks that I can’t worry about what that sounds like or how that makes me look. All I care about is that they get the help they need. Everything else is inconsequential at this point. My dominoes are lined up and life has begun to watch in amusement as each of us falls into the darkness of depression.

These admissions weren’t by my choice or even my recommendation. With # 2 hers was initiated by her outpatient therapist. With #2’s history I was pretty much guaranteed admission as soon as I said she had been inpatient for 17 weeks during 2021. With #3 the school has requested evaluation and assessment for mental illness and trauma treatment since her first out burst three weeks ago. #3 returned to school and now here we are with another outburst, more trauma disclosures and another referral from the school for assessment. I’m back to inpatient and trauma momma in the position of chaos coordinator and crisis management. Not the promotion I had hoped for this year. I didn’t ask for the domino free fall, however the pieces are left for me to put back in place. I’m trying to stop the falls, but they are being knocked down before I can even pick up the previous fallen pieces. I’m not sure how to stop the continued cause and effect from the initial piece falling into the one after.

I’m trying to figure it out. I’m trying to muddle through the whole situation. I’m flailing, but I can’t fail. This domino effect will hit a spot where the fall can’t continue and the progression will end. I’m not going to let my threefold down. They won’t be left to fight this alone. They need to stand up and I’m going to make sure they stay balanced whatever it takes. I need a break, but mommin’ mental illness is a full time job with no pay and no benefits. I’m broken and they are too. All I can do is work towards finding them the right care and keeping my sanity so I can manage this crisis as it comes. I’m scared. I’m sad. They’re scared and sad. I’m not sure how the next part of this story of ours will go, but I know that it’s going to be a hard one to write until they are home with me where they belong. In the meantime, all I can say is I’m trying to be positive. I might need some help along the way, but I’ve got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Destination Unknown

I’m unsure where I’m headed. I’m on the path I’ve been going down for a while, but suddenly there is this huge fork is in the road. A decision is there waiting for me to make up my mind. Which way? Both paths have darkness, obstacles, warnings and mysterious circumstances that look daunting. Both look scary as hell from here, but whether or not one will lead me to where I want to end up, I’m unsure. I can’t see what is beyond where I am in this moment. I just know my decision is one I not only have to make for myself, but for my threefold too. I’m the only person that can make this choice.

I am tired of asking for directions from people who have never been where I am now or don’t understand the struggles we face trying to find a better way. Everyone seems to think they know best, but no one has walked in these shoes or been inside my mind. It’s not as easy as ‘choosing to be happy’ mental illness isn’t a choice and it’s not an excuse. I apologize when I do wrong, I don’t blame my illness for my every move.

If I get angry I apologize and I recognize that I’m at fault. If I’m stressed I may be irritated but I can reset and refocus. I don’t let every single life stress melt me down into a puddle of pity. I do buck up and get back on the horse and jump the damn hurdle. I give myself pep talks and positive affirmations. I meditate, I journal, and I work in my therapy. I do try. It’s not always the quick or easy response people expect, but I get back on track. It’s not without effort.

Right now, I’m not in a good place. I know that is a fact. My thoughts betray me faster than I can counteract them. I can be laughing and ignoring all of my problems one minute and the next be in emotional distress holding back the tears. I’m trying. I fall apart more often. I’ve isolated myself a lot more than I know is healthy, but it’s not because I want to be alone. It’s because I don’t want to be told I’m moping or sulking or enjoying a pity party. I’m m not trying to be negative. I just am not seeing the silver linings of my current situation. I don’t need toxic positivity. I need the validation that this is a shitty time and that I am allowed to not be ok. I need that support. Not some grass is greener and rainbows come after bad storms bullshit. I know it gets better. But damn it, right now it’s not even close to that better.

I know I’m a badass and I’m tough. I know I’ll get through this and get to my desired destination eventually. I know my threefold is going to be ok. I know that I’ll ride the struggle bus until I can make my way back to the fuck yea freight train. I know.

Right now, I also know this is not fair. I know that this is not what I wanted, needed or even expected to be happening in our lives. I need a little less heartache, hard time, and headache. I need more help to understand why this is happening and how I can avoid it again. Who can honestly say they have admitted and discharged a child from a hospital, admitted another child back into the hospital all while dealing with a narcissistic, drug addicted ex, still worked 70 hours, signed settlement papers and managed to keep a fairly level head all in the same week? If I can’t have some rough days and a hard time smiling after that week, then damn, I’m sorry. Im exhausted. I am completely drained emotionally, physically and mentally. If I knew I would not lose everything I’d worked for I’d probably say I’m entitled to have my breakdown now. I won’t let myself have that breakdown. However, my depressed and anxious mood shouldn’t be just understandable but acceptable after all of that.

I’m not going to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. I am going to have my feelings. I can’t always mask them and I won’t shove them inside so I change into someone else’s version of me. I’m aware I am a fighter, but I won’t pretend everything is ok and that I am just up against an obstacle. I may not be entitled to a breakdown, but damn it, I AM entitled to be upset, stressed out, and straight up mad that this all is occurring. I’m not going to let it be all consuming, but I will let the emotions out in the safety of my home or my car or in a public bathroom if necessary. I won’t apologize for that.

The depression will lift and I will figure out which road to take. Whether I take the right or the left, face more challenges or find myself lost in the big unknowns I ALWAYS find a way to head back in the right direction. I’m not walking on crutches, I’m not making excuses for my darkness. Not today. I have a reason to have my feelings right now and if anyone wants to tell me to suck it up and keep going because it’s bothering them to see me ‘give up’. Then my response will now be that my life is not a spectator sport. I’m not currently accepting any applications for life coaches. Opinions aren’t needed and the facts are I’m allowed to feel like this or to have any other feelings. You have no clue the amount of strength it takes to deal with what I do inside my head let alone my threefold and all of the trauma, lack of sleep, anxiety, work and constant pressure. When you get your hell week participation award I will then be more open to listen to how you would feel, do, behave and react to my current situation. If you can’t support that then I suggest you shut up with your buck it up bullshit. Today is not the day, and my dear, I am definitely not the one you need to preach the ‘live, laugh, love’ or ‘fake it til you make it’ bullshit to. You can peddle that toxic positivity to people crying over their kid not making honor roll and getting caught smoking pot. Those are high class problems. Mine are life altering issues that have longer lasting effects than those things. I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve still got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Learning to Let Go

Yes, I know, hard to believe. Nonetheless, here I am at a loss for words. I’ve been quiet this week. I’ve been trying to figure out how to let go. I’ve been trying to find a way to teach my threefold to let go. Yet, I’m finding the actual process of letting go is hard, however it’s critical to find healing and to move forward. I’m writing this still unsure how to proceed. It’s imperative that we find a way to let go of the past so we can move forward into the future.

It’s been a long and emotionally exhausting week, yet again. I was excited for things to get better as I was discharging #3 from the hospital and signed my final marital dissolution agreement after two long years. I just knew that was going to take so much of the weight of worry off of my life and off of my threefold. I was right, it did. I however wasn’t expecting that weight to be thrown back on me mere hours later. I was speechless.

I was sitting in the therapist’s office for my threefold and waiting for the discussion about #2’s relapse. I could see the anxiety in my daughter’s face as the therapist and I looked at her wondering why we had been called to meet. I was sick. My stomach was in my throat as my body tensed. #2 had been having increased intense thoughts of suicide, with a plan, and the means to complete the plan. I couldn’t breathe. It was only a couple of hours before that I had picked up #3 after her 2 week hospitalization. #2 hadn’t said anything to me. Why didn’t she tell me? Sooner?! I was unsure of what to do. I knew that her being suicidal and with a recent self harm relapse, I was most likely going to have to seek a higher level of care for her. That’s not anything like how I thought this day would go. I was stunned.

I’m not sure why we didn’t follow the safety plan. I did my part, I thought I was doing everything right. I locked up the meds, I gave her support, we talked and checked in often, I was doing skin checks, she was never without supervision for longer than a few hours, but never left alone. I couldn’t figure it out. We were doing good. She was doing so good. Why. Why?! I got angry and I was scared. I was scared for her, for my threefold and also for myself. Why wouldn’t she have talked to me.

My anger met fear, and my hurt saw her pain. I couldn’t understand in that moment, but I understand much more than I care to admit now. It’s not weakness, it’s not attention, or a pity party for ourselves. It’s the past scaring us out of our future. Over the next few days, my own thoughts would betray me. I too am vulnerable to my own darkness. I wanted to quit. I wanted to stop fighting my own battle. I hate to say that I thought about it, I thought about it too much. What if it was all my fault. I needed to blame someone and that person needed to be me, because I couldn’t blame her. She is only a child with an illness and more pain than is fair. She was my responsibility therefore I was to blame.

It’s hard enough managing mental illness in yourself as an adult. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have the trauma, stress, and all of your darkness swirling at the same time and during such a pivotal time in their lives. I truly wish I could take their pain and destroy it or give it back to myself. They don’t deserve to have life be this hard, this young.

I’ve found we all are still allowing our past lives to hold so much power over us. We’ve suffered from that pain. When will we let it go and move into a future that isn’t controlled by our past experiences? I know that’s the only way we find our way forward. It’s so much easier said than done. I’ve been trying to let go of the past, but I know it’s so much more difficult when the other people in your life are working on healing too. We can trigger and influence each other. We validate the past, but when can it stop taking our future?

This is my journey, this is our journey. I’m not perfect and some days I’m barely holding on. Some weeks I question everything. I am just as damaged as my threefold or anyone else in the world. We’ve all been damaged, but some of us can’t find our way to fix it. I want to fix it. I want to fix it for my threefold. Now I must figure out how. This process may take time, but it’s time to move on.

I’ll figure it out. We’ll find a way. We always do. For now, I wait for the #2’s discharge. I distract myself from my guilt and fear. I keep running away from my own darkness. I keep fighting. For all of us. Even when they stop, I won’t. As scared as I am that my threefold and I will let the past steal our future, I know we have the strength to overcome the fear and move forward. I will be hopeful and lead us to a future that frees us from that past. We can do this. I’m positive. We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M