I’ll admit, at the end of the school year, I had a feeling of impending doom about one of the kids. Juliana came to us from a very hard place and has struggled mightily to overcome her past. The details of what she lived through are hers, but the journey she has taken to not let it define her has become a family affair. Jules still has a lot of trouble with change. Leaving 2nd grade, her beloved teacher, and the school family was HARD. She takes these kinds of transitions out on me specifically. We’re not sure if it’s because she feels the closest to me, or feels the least connected to me. The exact why doesn’t really matter. I don’t take it personally anymore. It’s coming from a place she can’t control. For whatever reason, I’m her safe person to rage at.
At the end of the school year, we took a little step backward and the anger became significant. The physical lashing out wasn’t super severe, but oh, the emotions. The screaming, the crying, the lying on the ground, and sobbing, it was intense.
Then, this summer, she took a HUGE leap forward. She has spent writing pretty amazing things in her ‘Feelings Journal.’ Finally, after many moons of neurofeedback, integrative metronome and A LOT of play therapy she has come to a place where she has some executive functioning going on in her little brain and she can write out what she is feeling and then, most of the time, get it back in check. She still has a lot of trouble verbalizing how she feels, but we’re getting there, and I know adults who use journaling as a coping mechanism (like this one, right here). So, if she uses this tool throughout her life, I would be ecstatic about that.
She is making connections, enjoying successes, and loving life. She joined the Dive Team, did water ballet, and has even got to go out without Joe or I and spend the day with her fabulous teacher. She helped her organize her classroom for next year, which made Jules feel important, and connected. She has a whole team behind her, pushing, pulling, dragging, and ALWAYS cheering her on toward healing.
Jules, someday you’ll read these posts and feel so proud of how far you’ve come. I know how hard this has been. Hundreds of hours have been spent discussing your past, trying to reconcile it and make connections that were lost because of it. I can only hope that on the someday that you’re reading this you’re out there making all of it part of who you are, but not letting it be ALL of who you are. We’ve talked a lot about taking the challenges we’re faced with and using them in life to help and connect with others with the same struggles. You’ve embraced that idea. You have no clue how many other kids you’ve already helped, just by allowing me to share your story of healing here. I hope you continue that legacy. You have so much to offer this world, my sweet girl.
May there be many more summers of successes.
If you are in the trenches with your child who came to you from a hard place, please reach out to me. Juliana was diagnosed with ADHD FOUR TIMES before we made it to a therapist who actually understood trauma in children and what it means in a developing brain. ADHD was not ever her diagnosis. Way down deep, I knew that and kept on pushing for answers that felt right for her. Had we not continued to search for answers, she never would have made this much progress. If in your heart you think your child has been misdiagnosed, please reach out to me. There are resources. There are others out there fighting the same fight. There is hope.