My heart’s distraction

Self care.  Something I preach and reach for often has become an obscurity in my life.  If I am honest I’ve slipped into the defense of my mental health and forgotten how to be forward thinking in the care of my physical, mental, and spiritual self.  It has in fact reeked havoc on my body.

Right now and for three months I’ve been on guard.  Watching for the attack that will come seemingly out of no where.  No that’s not true.  It comes from somewhere dear to my heart somewhere I never thought I’d have to protect myself from.  The truth?  I live with a beautiful intelligent and volatile teenager.  Like perhaps many of you.

This isn’t to bash her character.  I’ve done my research.  I understand the hit that her prefrontal cortex is under.  I understand that with the mass amount of change she has undertaken her own mental health is in stress mode.  She’s not making her best decisions.

The problem is in almost every action she takes I see myself in it.  I know where she has learned it and where she has practiced her technique.  I can trace the time almost by the hour, day, year that her world became a little harder to understand.  Where the impulse to defy and conquer a passive and permissive parent became the objective. I see it in her.  More importantly I remember it in me.  Living so closely with another human has huge potential for triggers and explosions unless there is a very intentional focus on communication and all parties see the value.  If I had to throw it into an equation I’d say we are discussing issues reasonably 25% of the time.  Which is amazing, yet I worry it’s not enough to get us through these times.  Will our relationship stand the test of teenage to adult growth?  It’s hard to say.  Most days I am successfully acting like the adult.  Not taking the bait.  Not satisfying the urge for deliberation and confrontation.  Not finding offense in the way she expresses or presents herself.  But that’s only most of the time.

I know, in the recent past our children were to come first.  I still do feel the truth in this to a degree but at this point in my adulthood I know better.  I have first hand experience that proves the health crisis that ensue when you are not taking care of yourself first.

I’ve just pulled out of a health scare that lasted for 4 months…..four months of not even noticing that the deterioration had taken such an incredible turn.  When mentioning it to friends the deep concern that laced their gaze is what woke me to my own conditions.  I guess I simply did not have space to care about me with the chaos that seemed to surround me.  (as a side note – alternative medicine saved the day – I fully believe this).

Anyways, this is where I have been.  This is what has been consuming my heart and mind and physical resources.  I just needed to air it; share it with you.  I feel like it’s such a common condition “raising teens” yet no one discusses it.  As though the lack of good decision making of another human poorly reflects on our parenting.  I’m here to declare – It doesn’t.  Not even a little.  These kids who are undergoing transformations they are struggling to understand don’t mean anything by it.

Try not to take this personally.  Try to make your own good decisions under the chaos.  Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.  Be patient, kind, and loving toward yourself.  You need you more than anyone else does.  Take plenty of baths, eat well, get a massage, go for a walk.  Whatever self care looks like to you – find it.  Do it.

You deserve peace of mind.  You deserve compassion.  You deserve joy.

In healing and ongoing wellness.

Amanda Zentner

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