One of the biggest things which challenged us in obtaining help for Jacqueline and even her sisters, was the barrier of language.
For children they don’t have a developed vocabulary with which to express themselves and what they are feeling or experiencing….tummies hurt, head is funny, I fell and hurt my bum! Kiss it better! while offering the injured posterior in all innocence for a magic healing kiss just like any boo boo on the knee…….
Even educated adults struggle with conveying what they experience when it comes to mental illness, professionals have their own language their Own Jargon, to discuss between themselves the features and symptoms of illness, while only those who have spent years being chewed up by the system have picked up enough of the language to trip and stumble their way through communicating symptoms and experiences.
for Shannon her’s were her “Illusions”, she has had All her life, seeing things which she knew were not there, spending days dancing through the world surrounded by pixies butterflies and flowers in her own little paradise.
We knew she was experiencing something, particularly at the age of 7 when she almost broke her own Jaw when she suddenly without warning decided to “Fly” literally through the fish and chip shop window with a resounding BANG! She genuinely believed she would at that moment take flight and like any bird discovered an invisible yet definite stopping force…..
At the age of 12 her illusions became dark and began scaring her, she was hearing her name being called when it wasn’t, shadowy scary girls and monsters moving at the edge of her vision, rabid dog’s coming for her, Severed limbs and heads, she cried desperately for help. Headspace turned her away but mum was persistent and obtained a referral for her to CAMHS (child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) who 3 years later are working towards discharge because she is doing SO well.
Jacqueline’s wasn’t just the behaviour, it upset her as much as the rest of us, her struggle with vocalizing what she was experiencing and trying to deal with. Her outbursts scare her as much as the rest of us if not more so. She beat herself up emotionally over what she did during them even more than any parent could ever possibly punish a child for, the Regret and remorse every time, she would keep her own tally of her damages and who she hurt.
At about the age of 3 and onward she would refer to it as the Other Jacqueline. There were two Jac’s inside of her, like the little girl with the little curl, one was good, very very good, and one was an evil Jacqueline who had a mustache, a curled up one like a villain who was very very very very bad, and it wasn’t her choice who was driving at any given time, but she fought it hard every time!
my little girl does she fights it very very very very hard.
Her Favourite Passage, literally, she has damaged the page in every bible we have simply due to leafing to it so often is…..
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
She would read it over and over and over and over again. As if all she had to do was Believe and God would make her good, or that somehow when she isn’t good she isn’t loved by God.
My Baby is Good, and my babies are loved very much by God. It is why he gave them to me, because he knew they would need a Mum with patience, compassion, and love in spite of the hurt fear and anger thrown at her. Because what they would need to grow to become beautiful young ladies would be empathy and compassion more than anything else.
To help them we first need to listen, then we need to believe them, then we need to support them so that other’s will listen.