The D word

In the last family meeting we had at the hospital for my daughter, she adamantly stated that we can’t say the D word or even talk about it. In the 12 year old folder inside my brain words like dick, dickwad, dickface, douche, douchebag, douchecanoe, dipshit, and dingleberry immediately jumped out but thankfully I have a mostly developed frontal lobe now and I didn’t blurt them out. Instead I asked her what D word she was referring to and she said, you know, DISCHARGE. I said I totally understand, I hate that word, it’s so gross and makes me think of Monistat commercials. Whoops, frontal lobe must have been sleeping. She said, EWWWWWW mom, you’re so gross, I’m not talking about that discharge, I’m talking about discharge from the hospital. Discharge was not only a nasty word in my filthy mind, but it was a terrible word in my daughter’s mind.

She feels safe where she is right now so why would she want to transition out of that place back into the stressful place called life? The counselor sitting with us assured her that we wouldn’t say the word but that we would talk about her transitioning home because she’s ready. She’s using the tools of therapy such as “loving her dandelions” and “riding the wave”. She is doing the hard work and it is time for her to apply all of that into real life. And yes the hospital has helped her heal and get better, but too long and it could go completely the other way.

She’s reading her life history today to her group and then she is able to come home the next couple of days to try out this thing called life outside of the hospital. If all goes well, we could be talking about the D word this Friday. Just like her, I am scared shitless about the prospect of her transitioning home. Will she be safe, will she feel ok, will she want to hurt herself again, can I be the mother she needs me to be right now. Maybe I should start some dialectical behavioral therapy because they have this philosophy that everyone is doing the best they can and yet can always do better at the same time. They teach us to love our dandelions, the weeds that we want to go away so badly but are a part of us. This is what I will strive for as she comes home, to do the best I can, to learn, to love my dandelions, and to do better.

I did say to her as I was leaving last night, It’s all about the D to which she cracked up and gave me a huge hug. Here’s to the D word.


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  1. Been at this same spot, our daughter wanted to live at McLean ART indefinitely. It was safe, comfortable to be around other girls who were struggling and not judging her for that. I highly recommend continuing with DBT for yourself and your family. There is an outpatient group affiliated with McLean 3East in Cambridge, MA (not sure where you live). 3 meetings a week, one that is individual DBT for our daughter, one that is family DBT for just our family and with the same counselor that does her individual, and one that is a mixed family group with parents and kids involved. Our daughter could recite the DBT program and notebook verbatim, but we have found it very difficult to get her to apply anything other than distress tolerance when she is already over the top emotionally when we are at home in her “regular life.” Usually she reverts to “no one understands me around here or at school like they did at the hospital.” One day at a time….

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