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Can I have the day over? Zoe was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression today. She has been so (mentally) unwell that she hasn’t been able to face school for pretty much a year now, and so we’ve been having her attend classes by internet hook up. We were very excited about this to start with, but less and less is driving her into panic attacks.

This morning she had science. She had already vomited her breakfast worrying about it and had mentioned that Science was scary, but we continued. I was in the kitchen cleaning, when I heard her making an odd noise. Thought she was just sniffling, so it was about 5 minutes before I checked on her. She had a pink, woolly scarf noosed around her neck, and she was pulling it as hard as she could.

Her father was out of town (he’s often out of town), and so I rang the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Luckily they have a crisis line and they were able to provide a counselling service that she responded to. It transpired she’s tried that stunt before a few times, but I hadn’t seen her. By the end of the phone call we had a plan – Zoe will do relaxation exercises before class, or if it was Maths or Science, then for the first 20 minutes of the class itself.

The counsellor was great, much better than the woman we have been seeing. Zoe responds very well to logic and plans, and this woman praised her obvious determination and resilience. It was just what we needed. This all took up about half the day.

The irony isn’t that Zoe finds Maths and Science particularly hard. She takes after her dad, and has the Maths Olympiad certificates to prove it. She just can’t cope with the fact that she might have missed so much, and the more she feel she has fallen behind, the worse it gets.

Sometimes I joke about it, but the reality is that I have two children who have expressed suicidal ideation that I have to guide to adulthood. Luckily I have huge amounts of flexibility with my job.

It could be so much worse. They could have substance abuse issues, or we could have had communications breakdowns, or they could be isolated with no friends. None of that is true. But I have to admit, today was a bit rough. Especially as the Zoloft withdrawal effects kicked in and I have been feeling a bit off.

Tomorrow’s another day though.

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