A few weeks ago the girls met the new psychotherapist for the first time, you can read about it here.
On Tuesday afternoon they had their 2nd session with him and also the family therapist. I felt a little more prepared this time, or at least I felt I knew what to expect, I didn’t/couldn’t tell the girls about the appointment until I collected them from school, if I’d told them any sooner their anxiety levels would have hit the roof. So once I rounded them up and got them in the car I dropped the bomb shell that we were going to see the nice man and lady at CAMHS again. Baby girl seemed excited, middle girl didn’t comment or react and big girl simply replied with ‘oh yes he did say we’d go again soon didn’t he mummy’.
Knowing how much they’d struggled with the last appointment I wanted the girls to also be prepared and hopefully less anxious. I had no intention of allowing them to unravel again regardless of whether that was what I was supposed to do or not, I still have no clue how they expect me to ‘be’ during these sessions. So in the car on the way there I talked to them about how they’d been a little worried and unsure last time and how they didn’t need to worry because I was there to keep them safe and we go to the session together as a family and we would come home together afterwards as a family. I also reminded them that if someone was talking to them it was generally polite to listen and not talk over them like they did last time. I reminded them that there was a box of activities that had been put together especially for them and that was what they should play with and that the rest of the toys in the cupboards around the room were not for playing with today. I assured them that they didn’t have to do anything they didn’t want too and if they wanted to just sit down and do nothing then that was fine or if they wanted to come and stand by me, hold my hand or sit on my lap then that was also fine. I reminded them that the nice man and lady at camhs were there to help us all with our feelings. I emphasised a lot on the words ‘help’ ‘safe’ ‘family’ ‘mommy will take care of you’, I didn’t want them to feel like they were alone, which is how I think they felt last time due to me ‘sitting back and letting them unravel’. I really wish I hadn’t done that now but I didn’t know what was expected of me. This time I was prepared, we all talked about it together. Big girl talked about being polite and remembering to use manners, middle girl echo’d big girls comments and baby girl commented on how climbing all over me wasn’t a sensible choice. We all appeared quite calm, I felt confident the session would go more smoothly.
The minute we walked in to the room big girls anxious voice reappeared, baby girl became fidgety and wriggly, middle girl just smiled, widely.
After a brief ‘hello again’ introduction the girls busied themselves with the box of activities, well all except baby girl, she chose to climb all over me whining , hugging me so tight she almost choked me and constantly asking for the toys in the cupboard around the room, you know, all the things I told her not to do. The psychotherapist did his usual trick of making me feel utterly incompetent by commenting/wondering out loud, how big girl and middle girl must feel they need to look after themselves whilst mommy is so busy taking care of baby girl. At one point big girl was making something with paper and glue and the psychotherapist commented how it looked like she wanted my help but wasn’t sure how to ask for it, like that was MY fault!? Was I supposed to offer, wait for her to ask, wait for her response, it was all too much to think about, I offered to help her, she declined it, just like she always does. Big girl likes me to help her only when she asks for it, she sometimes likes to notify me that she needs help by standing nearby and showing me her struggle, but if I offer help, she rarely accepts it, instead she’ll wait a while and then ask me to help, which was exactly what happened here.
The whole time this ‘mommy slating’ was taking place baby girl is emotionally sucking the life from me by squirming and wriggling all over my lap with her arms tight around my neck whining down my ear and whimpering like a baby, which incidentally also gave the psychotherapist something to comment on, so all the while I’m trying to soothe her without neglecting her sisters needs and missing something the psychotherapist could ‘wonder out loud’ about. I made a huge point of ‘wowing’ middle girls pictures that she was contently sat on the floor with and tried my best to keep up with big girl flitting back and forth in an attempt to spot her next need before the psychotherapist, all the while my hand is still stroking baby girls back in a pointless attempt to calm her, I say pointless because actually I think she was playing me, She was only interested in doing the things I’d asked her not to and she is clever enough to know that the chances of getting away with it in front of people, was high. I’m confident if I’d told her not to sit on the chairs and pick her nose then that would have been exactly what she would have done. Why? who knows? No really, I haven’t a clue why she does this.
The session ended, we left. We came straight home and I followed the girls to the garden and sent them to bounce it off on the trampoline whilst I stared in to space like a zombie listening to their constant demands of ‘mommy watch me’ ‘mommy look at this’ ‘mommy did you see’. They were anxious, they were struggling, but I could barely keep my eyes open let alone construct a sentence. The life had literally been sucked out of me, chewed up, minced, chucked about a bit and made in to a great big fat black cloud of self pity above my head. I wallowed, they bounced.
Next week the appointment is just for me. Joy!