Sunday, May 6, 2018

Krewson Lee at 8 Years Old

Dear Krew,

You’re 8! It’s so great! (Yay for cheesy mom rhymes!!)

Of course I am two months late writing this again, as I am with every one of your birthdays or your brother’s birthdays. Since I have to find a good time to take photos of you and then edit them, and then I have to write a long post, it just takes me some time. But I always get it done eventually. :)

What can I say about 8-year-old Krew? We sure love having you in our lives. You make us smile and warm our hearts daily. You love deeply and love to show people that you care through your words, hugs, and drawings. I have countless cards with hearts and poems on them where you've expressed your love for me. It's adorable.

As I say almost every year, you are our sensitive, introspective, and inquisitive boy. You are very consistent in those characteristics.

Also consistently from years past, you are still very cautious, careful, and responsible. You follow the rules, do not like to take risks, and are always concerned about safety.

Interestingly, we’ve discovered that at times you will decide that you cannot or should not do something (such as write a school paper that you don’t feel equipped to write according to your own personal standards) and you will adamantly refuse to do it no matter the rules. Your teacher even commented on this, mentioned that she’s had to learn work-arounds with you, because if you decide that you cannot do an assignment well enough, you will absolutely refuse to try no matter what anyone says. I tried to discuss this with you once and sway your thinking. I told you that you get grades at school, and that if you do not do any writing at all you will get a bad grade. Then I said, isn’t it better to write something and get an average grade rather than write nothing at all and get a bad grade? You replied by telling me that you don’t care what grade you get, all you care about is if you think it’s written the way YOU think it should be written. (Insert mom face palm emoji.)

You will react similarly in other situations, such as soccer practice and piano lessons. Some of it seems to be issues with perfectionism, a lot of it seems to stem from your struggles with anxiety.

Anxiety has been a hard thing this year. You’ve struggled with both social and situational anxiety. We had you seeing a therapist for a while, and we also do some workbooks together to help you with cognitive behavioral tactics. Your daddy and I are also reading books and listening to podcasts to learn how to best help you. It’s been a relief to see some progress lately, now that we’ve figured out some methods that seem to help you.

You also have times of what appears to be depression, which usually lasts a couple weeks to a month. We haven’t been able to figure out what triggers these episodes or what helps you eventually pull out of them. However, we’re always watching you carefully, ready to get some outside help if we need it.

You feel things so deeply, both emotionally and physically. You still avoid almost all movies and sad or scary stories. It’s rare that a day goes by without tears springing to your eyes over something. Sometimes it’s that you’re concerned about another person or worried you’ve done something wrong, and sometimes it’s because your socks are too scratchy or a sound is too loud or you feel too hot or too cold. Oftentimes it’s because you’re being asked to do something that makes you feel anxious, and you become so overwhelmed that you can’t help but cry. But I love this sensitive side of you. It makes you YOU. You wouldn’t be Krew if you weren’t tender. And because of it, you tend to see more quickly when others are hurting and reach out to try to offer comfort.

I't's not all tears and struggles with you, and I don't want to give that impression. You are also a very smart, witty, and giggly boy. You crack jokes and frequently use sarcasm (I credit that acquired skill to your father's influence). You can be goofy and silly and so much fun.

And interestingly enough, if you get overly comfortable or self-assured with someone, you can swing to the opposite end of the pendulum and become CRAZY. You’ll become loud, somewhat obnoxious, hyper, and smart-alecky. It’s something we’re working on learning to manage together. ;)

You have great body awareness and control, and when you put your mind to it you can do well at many athletic activities including soccer and swim team. It is usually the mental component that causes you to struggle. You get incredibly anxious when you think about others watching you, which causes you to panic and shut down while playing sports. But with enough encouragement and external motivation, we’ve kept you active with both swimming on the swim team and playing soccer. We've give you the option to switch to different activities, but you tell us that if you have to do something then you guess you'll do sports. (Insert mom shrug emoji.)

You are also still taking piano lessons, and it’s so fun to watch and listen to you read music. The last recital a couple weeks ago was hard for you due to all the people watching, but with a little extra encouragement you DID IT and we were SO PROUD of you!!

You love to read and it makes me so happy to see you in your bed or on the couch with a book in your lap. Your favorite things to read are nonfiction books full of facts and graphic novels (long comic books). You are also still very much into Minecraft and will spend hours playing it if we let you.

You are an amazingly creative child, coming up with all kinds of fascinating ideas, drawings and other artwork, and creations out of Legos. You also love to learn about science and really enjoy science kits.

You are still small (17th percentile for height), but we don’t notice it as much because you are one of the oldest kids in your grade and so you look average next to most of your friends. You’ve lost six teeth. You have longer hair now because you requested to grow it out, and I think you wear it well. :) Also I think your eyes are looking more and more gray rather than blue.

Alright buddy, I think that’s it!! We love you!!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

I'm getting better.

Slowly but surely, I’m getting better.

I felt a surprising lift in my mood within a day or two of seeing my integrative doctor last Wednesday. I’m not sure if it was because I’d finally realized what was going on and had it acknowledged, or maybe because I was feeling the effects of the supplement I’d added back in several days earlier.

This past weekend, alternatively and unfortunately, was pretty low for me. Every conversation, every activity, everything I did, it just hurt. It hurt down to my core, like I had just experienced some great loss although I hadn’t. I felt both raw and numb, if it’s possible to feel those things simultaneously. I don’t even know how to explain it. My gut hurt, my heart hurt, my soul hurt, I just hurt and didn’t want to be experiencing anything. I wanted to sleep until I knew it would go away.

Dave encouraged me last week to let myself cry more, so I tried to let myself do that over the weekend whenever I was in a safe place. Ironically, our pastor’s sermon this past Sunday was about pain and learning to safely express it and cope with it rather than trying to ignore it and letting it pass on to hurt other people. I took in a lot from his message, but one of the most fascinating things to me was when he said that toxins are actually released when we cry tears of negative emotions, but not when we cry tears of happy emotions. We are literally expelling the ugly things when we cry an ugly cry. So I’m officially trying to let myself ugly cry a little more. It’s apparently good not only for my soul, but for my body too.

This week, probably starting on Monday, I felt the cloud begin to lift. I no longer was feeling a heavy dread 24/7. Greyden had some slightly alarming EoE symptoms over the weekend and then on Monday also, and Dave and I found ourselves trying to somewhat quickly contact his doctors at the beginning of the week to decide on a plan of action. It took a couple days, but as of yesterday the doctors all agreed that it appeared that Greyden is having an allergic reaction to green beans and we need to permanently remove them from his diet. Of course this made me a bit sad for him, because the kid loves green beans. I was texting a friend about all of this and without even thinking I typed to her, “It could be way worse.” And then I was like, whoah, where did that come from. That’s an old Kara thought. That’s a “this sucks, but we got this” thought. That’s not a depressed Kara thought. And that was the moment that I knew my depression must really be healing.

There have been some other signs I’m getting better, including a new passion to write some support blog posts for other parents of EoE kids. I found a void in others’ lives and I want to help fill it. And again I’m like, where is this coming from? How do I all of a sudden have the energy and drive to do something for others, something that requires effort? And then I’m like, praise the Lord, it’s because I’m feeling better. The real Kara, the Kara I want to be, is slowly starting to emerge.

I’m on my way back.