brunette child using colored pencils to draw a unicorn

We are currently going through a sermon series entitled “Turmoil” at church and how several of us have gone through some sort of tribulation in our life. I know we have… more than once or twice.

It’s simply the way life’s circumstances play out and we go through them to get to the other side. No one ever said life would be easy but sometimes I pray that children could be immune to the pains of the world.

JJ and I had her final play therapist appointment today. Hard to believe that 6 months ago today was when this whole journey began really.

Well, there was the 8 months of chronic constipation before the anorexia began, but it was 6 months ago today that we landed in the hospital for the first time.

And I must admit, I never imagined the journey that 5-day stay would take us on.

Each time JJ and I walk the floors of Children’s Hospital in Dallas we encounter someone who is lost. We always ask where they are trying to get to and then promptly direct them to where they need to go. This seriously happens every time we are there.

I tell JJ each time that we know way more than I care to know about that hospital. Of course, I realize there are other parents that know it far better than I from their own journeys and battles, and that makes me sad.

I know at least one of those parents all too well. Each of us travel a different path and I am grateful that ours has a good outlook from where we are now.

Princess, JJ and Monkey in their favorite comfy chair

Alas, this has still been quite a difficult walk for our family. JJ’s constant changing emotional state leaves us on pins and needles.

For the most part things have gotten increasingly better, although there are still days where things are just crazy. Her emotions do not seem to be cycling anymore and we have not had her on any medication for 2 months now so we are praying things get back to normal soon.

Today was her last appointment, alone, with her play therapist. She adores her therapist and I believe we made the right decision in taking her there after our stay in the psychiatric ward.

It was hard finding a therapist with JJ’s diagnosis, which included psychosis after the second hospital stay, that would take our insurance.

It was such a tough choice to make at the time because of the weekly downtown drive, but we could not have asked for a better match. We continue to work on JJ’s calming tools every day that she learns at therapy and are hopeful we will get there in due time.

But praying “due time” is soon!

JJ still struggles with handling her temper, although she is far from the point of threatening to kill one of us or fighting me with all she has.

She typically gets mad, tries her hardest to use one of her calming techniques and then either gets to the point of yelling out of uncontrollable anger or crying because she is beyond frustrated.

Her emotions are easier to bring down to a controllable level but we are not yet completely back to the JJ we knew before January. It seems as though it has been so much longer but it has only been 6 months.

JJ’s therapist wants to begin group therapy next month. JJ is not very happy about this because she truly enjoys her one hour spent in the playroom with just her and the play therapist.

This is HER time and just the one-on-one attention she needs. But, that is exactly why the therapist has suggested the group therapy.

Princess will accompany JJ to her play sessions and we are watching to see how they interact and what Princess does to set JJ off so we can know better how to manage it. This should be interesting to see.

I have to hope that the therapist is actually able to see the way they truly are to each other since they both tend to act better in front of others (of course). So, we’ll see how that all goes? 

Again, praying for good results from the group sessions that will get us that last step toward complete healing for my girl. I just want her well.

In summary, 6 months later and JJ’s chronic constipation is still a nagging problem some days, but manageable and improving. There are no more fits of rage or murderous threats made by my 7 year old. The crying, giggling and raging mad cycles have ceased.

JJ’s emotions are stabilizing and her appetite has increased. There are still bad days, but more good than bad. Our family has learned patience and understanding.

We have a new respect for the mentally challenged. This ordeal has taught my children to better be sensitive to others and to not judge a circumstance by one situation.

There is much to be learned, but mostly there is much to be grateful for.

I’ve done my best to be an advocate for my daughter when necessary or to handle the situations we were put into.

There will be more turmoil in the days, months and years ahead, but we will continue to walk with JJ through her daily battles.

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