Help Me!

Our foster child, J, continues to struggle. At times, she’s completely overwhelmed – like when the movie Mary Poppins was put on. She tantrumed for 2hrs over that. Even though I didn’t require her to watch it, she could not recover from the memories flooding her somehow connected to that movie. What happened I don’t know. Maybe J doesn’t even consciously recall. But the movie sent her into a tailspin. While screaming repeatedly, “Give me something to eat!!!” J smashed to pieces everything she had been given to eat.

But then there are days when J is exceedingly happy – playing at the beach then riding the carousel with Raine.

Sometimes it’s really great. Other times it’s really difficult. In those moments, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons why I’ve chosen this path.

The other night as I was getting ready for bed, J called out, “Help me!” I rushed to her room. There she peacefully slept. In the morning, J had no memory of the outburst. But the cry continues to haunt me.

Like countless other children, J is struggling with the trauma of abuse. She’s suffering the loss of her family and life. Fear reigns in her body, soul, and spirit. She pushes against the safety and proper structure of being a child who is cared for. It’s foreign to J having a mom who is plugged in and steering her in the right direction. All of that makes J behave in a manner that keeps me at arm’s length.

Still, in the midst of all her resistance and challenges, the cry is clear, “Help me!”


2 thoughts on “Help Me!

  1. A couple of ideas that you may already be doing:

    1) Keep a diary of what triggers her. Note not just the movie, but other things they may have been going on, like when she had last eater, if she had fought with her sister, if she slept well, if she had exercised much that day, how much time she had spent with you, if she was in a new place, etc. Sometimes it’s not just one thing, but a combination.

    2) Create a quiet place for her. This would be a semi-dark location, with lots of soft pillows and blankets, where she can be away from all stimulus when she’s having a melt down.

    3) Seek professional help. No one can do it alone and abuse often can leave scars that need professional attention.

    4) Take good care of you. Kids do better when their parents are in a good place. When you’re happy and relaxed and calm, your kids are more likely to feel this way, too. When they get upset and you stay calm, they learn you are strong enough for their big emotions. The way to stay emotionally balanced is to find time to connect with friends, eat well, sleep, exercise and have fun.

    5) Consider medication. Generally, I don’t feel that meds are the answer, but sometimes meds are needed. When we knew Silent One was going to have to do something that would trigger him (such as traveling), we would use Xanax to help him get through it. It really lessened his emotional pain and helped engage his rational mind to see that the world wasn’t ending.

    6) Exercise. Kids who suffer from high anxiety or anger issues tend to do much better if they are very physically active. The endorphins from exercise are a natural relaxer that helps them regulate their moods. The fear or anger levels are lowered. The build of excess energy in their bodies is expended, leaving them more open to cuddling, reading, and other similar activities.

    In any case, being there for her is the biggest thing you can do. Sometimes, our kids just have to go through the darkness and we can stand by them, letting them know they will never be alone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s