Before I started writing this four-part series, I sat down with my daughter (now aged 9) and asked her permission to write about it. It is her journey as much as it is mine and sometimes, I forget that.
As with most parents, we just assume because we know our children that we know exactly what they were or are feeling. I am sad to say that that is not always the case.
At the time, I thought I was doing the best thing for her, but I failed one big test – I forgot to ask how she felt about it. Don’t get me wrong, I asked if she was okay with seeing someone but as parents do, I sugar coated it to cavity levels. I had no idea that some sessions actually made her angry and overly anxious, made her hate me and made her “chest feel like someone was squeezing it.”
So, for this week’s article, I want to hand over to my daughter to tell you exactly how she felt and how therapy made her feel in her own words.
How did you feel when we told you that we were going to see someone to help you with your behaviour?
I felt really nervous and happy. I didn’t want to go, and I didn’t like mum and dad for making me go because I didn’t want to know if there was something wrong with me. I was happy when they told me it was to help me though. I was nervous in case there was something wrong with me and because I was meeting a new person, which always worries me.
What was your first thought when you met her? Went into her room?
I thought maybe I might make a new friend and her room was fun. It had a lot of toys and the couches were really comfy. She was really pretty and nice as well.
How did talking about it all make you feel?
I was nervous at the start, but she was really nice, and it made me feel really good. I liked talking about it but also a little sad to know that there might be something wrong with me. I liked how she told me nothing was wrong with me and that I was awesome though.
How did you feel when we kept going back?
It was a little annoying because all I wanted to do was draw or play. Sometimes I didn’t want to talk to her, and it made me angry when you said I had to.
Do you think it helped? How?
Yes, it helped because I learnt that nothing was really wrong with me and that talking to her was just something to help people when they were struggling and that I wasn’t the only one. I know what to do now when I struggle, which is good.
What did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed talking to the therapist. She was nice and it was nice to have someone that wasn’t you or dad to listen to me without being mean or rude.
Do you think it was worth it?
It was worth it because I got chicken nuggets at the end and I learnt how to play with people properly, but I am still working that out as well. I am much better at it than what I was though right?
What were your top three emotions?
Happy, sad, and worried. Happy because she worked out the problem. Sad, because what I heard wasn’t what I was hoping for and worried because what happens if I had a reputation and if it would keep happening and I wouldn’t learn how to control myself.
All of it but mainly when her and I talked about school and my friends and what I liked to do. She liked my drawings as well.
Less favourite part?
Being told that I had a few issues like anxiety and anger issues and that I didn’t play with people properly. I felt like I was a bad kid, but she told me I wasn’t.
Would you change anything?
No, I wouldn’t change anything because it really helped a lot. Because I’ve got a lot better at working out my anxiety and anger issues and everything else. I know how to calm down now and how people don’t like it when I am a space invader. I can do it on my own sometimes too.
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Honestly and emotionally written by Casey and Mackenzie Luxford