Not Invisible

May is Mental Health Awareness month and hits close to home.

About a year ago, I wrote a post about my daughter, Elise, and her struggles with anxiety (you can read it here). After the 2020-2021 school year ended, I took her to a counselor. At the time, she was so anxious that her clothes felt weird, she was paranoid, and talked of wanting to kill herself…at 9 years old. We were all struggling and heartbroken.

After her first counseling session, we met with her pediatrician and she was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder). We put her on some medication and saw a huge change in her disposition…I felt like I was finally getting my sweet, smiling girl back.

Her anxiety and emotions ebb and flow, but we have come so far from where we were last year. I try to remember this as we go through the ups and downs of mental health.

Her Experience

When people hear of OCD, they think of constantly checking locked doors or counting obsessively, etc. That is just one way that OCD manifests itself.

For Elise, it’s more about the obsessive thoughts. When things go wrong or she feels hurt, she can’t stop thinking about it. If she thinks a friend is mad at her, she gets incredibly anxious and worries that they won’t be her friend anymore. Elise loves BIG and is incredibly loyal…and expects the same from others. So, when she feels that a friend doesn’t have her back or care the same way, it tears her up inside.

When she feels overwhelmed, she works on breathing, uses fidgets, or escapes the room to process. Oftentimes, when people don’t allow a person with OCD to use their strategies and get in their personal space, it can lead to anger and frustration.

My little girl is incredible. I’m so proud of her and how hard she works to manage everything. And I desperately want her to know that there is nothing wrong with her — she is amazing.

Being seen and known

Mental health is often an invisible struggle. I want my precious daughter to know that she is seen and known…and loved. As we work through her struggles, I want her to know that I’m always on her side, helping and praying for her. I want her to know that there are so many people looking out for her and caring for her.

My sweet, smart, and kind girl is so incredibly fierce and brave — facing some hard issues. But, I believe, that she is only going to grow stronger and develop an empathy for others and their mental health challenges. I’m hopeful and excited to see how God is going to use her trials now to help others in the future.


Can You Hear Me Now?

Do people still call their friends when they need to talk? Or is it just text messages?

I’ve shared my journey over the past year of increasing vulnerability in my relationships with friends. God has brought some amazing new friends into my life that minister to me when I’ve responded to his voice and shared my life.

Most of the time, I send brief text messages to my friends during the week and then try to meet-up for coffee or lunch. However, as I become more real with people, I feel the need to call a friend just to talk about things.

Sure, I talk on the phone with my family, but it feels like years since I’ve called a friend when I need a listening ear or need help. Perhaps it’s a reflection of how closed off I am in my relationships. Or, perhaps, our world is so busy, that I don’t think they’ll be available to talk. Probably a little bit of both.

So, what’s the verdict? Do people still call each other? Do you have a friend that you can call when life gets hard? I have friends that I believe I could call and they would listen. And I’m always free to talk with a friend who calls me. Face-to-face is always my favorite, but that phone call can fill the gaps.

I think I’ll call a friend today.