At some point on my long journey back to sanity I came to understand that the endless loop of obsessive worry and fear thoughts winding through my brain would never alter the fact that my daughter has a mental illness that I simply cannot control. As much as I would like to, I can’t “crawl” into her head and make her believe that she is worthy of love and respect, that she doesn’t need a man to make her feel wanted, that her decisions are putting her life at risk, there are better choices, that she doesn’t have to be defined by her bipolar, that with help, time and hard work she will get better. I can’t make her decisions, I can’t live her life and I can’t keep rescuing her.
I came to accept that the challenges we were having with our daughter were simply too big for me to manage; I made the conscious decision to place her safely back in God’s hands. I have faith that, although I don’t understand or like some of the things that have happened in her life, this is her journey and for every “bad” thing that has taken place, there is a lesson and a reason that we will come to understand. I also believe that we attract what we think, and so I am choosing to think about my daughter as a beautiful, healthy and productive young woman, not as a victim who is suffering.
One month after her self-destructive and disappointing relapse, miraculously, our daughter is still clean and sober. In fact, the morning after the setback she joined a women’s (huge step as she is just beginning to understand and appreciate the value of female friendships) 12 step group and is working the program hard. By the grace of God, she has found another job (she found and lost 2 others while in BC) and is working 4-5 days per week; fingers crossed that this job will last and give her a much needed boost in self-confidence. Working at this job keeps her busy and prevents her from thinking of other, much more creative, albeit destructive ways to earn a living (more on this in another entry). Her “house mother” is allowing her to stay where she is until they find somewhere safe for our adult child to live; her father is paying half of the usual monthly fee as a goodwill gesture. My husband and I have stood our ground and have stopped providing her with financial support (another miracle given my history of co-dependence). Truly, she is miles from where she was just 30 days ago and for that I am grateful. Will this positive streak last? History would say that it is highly unlikely; my growing faith in God tells me otherwise.