Daughter came into the TV room a little while ago to talk to me about a problem. I have seen her anxiety level increasing, and she has been on edge. I’ve attributed it to anxiety over Granddad, or problems with Boyfriend, or the fact that her period started this week. I can come up with lots of reasons. When she told me she needed to talk, I figured it was about the soap opera at the workshop.
The good news is that she is no longer identifying the voices as being external to herself. She knows they are the product of her own mind. The bad news is that they are telling her to hurt people she cares about, starting with me. When I asked for details, she told me there were so many thoughts and voices in her mind she can’t separate them out. She told me her muddled thoughts are why she’s been getting up at night and eating.
She wanted to tell her friends at the workshop that she wants to hurt them. I suggested that wasn’t a good idea. Last summer she was in the psych unit three different times. Hearing her express these concerns sets my mind to racing. I find myself going over my schedule and figuring out when I can fit this crisis in. I wonder if we can still go see Dad on Thursday afternoon. I try to figure out how urgent this is. Can she wait until her appointment with her therapist on Monday afternoon?
For tonight, I reassured her that I trust her to resist what the voices are telling her. I told her she was stronger than the voices. I gave her the option of sleeping in the recliner in my bedroom (where she is now camped out). I assured her I would call the psychiatrist tomorrow morning.
But I start going through my calendar: Wednesday afternoon I promised to drop by a book and CD at the nursing home to a couple questioning how God could allow their current suffering. I need to go visit the crew at the other nursing home, where 5 of the saints currently reside. Wednesday evening Daughter has softball practice. Thursday afternoon I have a meeting about reworking our children’s ministry program. After the meeting, we’re supposed to head to Dad’s apartment. Saturday she has her softball tournament. I still want to make a low sodium meatloaf and some soup to freeze for Dad before we leave.
The psychiatrist and the hospital are over an hour away. How will I squeeze in daily visits? How will I pay for the gas? Can I trust them to manage her diabetes when her insulin needs are changing?
Then I sit back and take a deep breath. Daughter came to me and told me about the voices. In retrospect, I should have known. But just like Dad thought his congestive heart failure was just allergies, I thought Daughter’s hearing me calling her when I wasn’t was just a result of hearing voices from outside because the windows were open.
We’ll manage. Dad will be disappointed (as will Sister, who had assigned Daughter and me the task of cleaning his apartment) if we can’t get there, but he’ll understand (I’m not so sure about Sister). Daughter told me. Daughter is seeking help. For now I’ll focus on that, and remember that God will walk with us every step of the way.