Friday, March 14, 2014

Attachment, Detachment

These past few weeks have seen successive waves of mental health diagnostics on B., for whom something is clearly quite wrong, and the news just keeps getting worse. Other people's mental illness is a humbling thing. Unless she acknowledges that she needs help, I am powerless.

With such a child, it's a tricky tightrope between attachment and detachment. Empathy with one in crisis takes its toll. Doubly so, when one is receiving the blame for the crisis itself (I am the reason her boyfriend broke up with her; I am the reason she was called awful names at school.) This is the voice of her attachment disorder, RAD (etymology buffs will recognize the brilliance of this abbreviation). So, rather than a hug in her distress, soothing words and blandishments of love, she wants things (armor for the battle at school): "if I loved her we'd go shopping now." This feels like soulless manipulation. I can't do it.

Compulsive Shopping Disorder is a bona-fide illness in DSM-V.
For weeks, through the preparation for her permanency court hearing, through visits and team meetings with social workers, medical appointments and therapy sessions, emails and phone calls with school personnel, B. has colonized my waking hours. All the help in the world provides no answers, only more to think about. Yesterday, I decided to detach a little. Change the subject. Breathe.

I visited the community radio station where my opinions and insights are respected, saw my dear colleagues, and got a small, very do-able assignment.

I went to my yoga studio, where I haven't been for 2 months. I took with me the yoga block that B. had stabbed with a carving knife:

Today, I will sew.

I am working on a quilt by Iowa quilter Pat Speth from her book Nickel Quilts. The design, called Paducah Nine-Patch, is featured on the cover photo of the book.

I had to adapt the pattern a little (here's the original size block, a bit "wee" for my project timeline, those smallest patches finish at 1 inch):

Here's how far I've gotten (the smallest patches finish at 1 1/4 inches. It makes a difference!):

I am also FMQ-ing the Shy DNA quilt for a "FOB" (Friend of B.'s), who had a birthday recently (FOBs are in short supply these days).

As I read this once before posting, I feel my chest constricting. May the rhythm of the needle and the floating foot restore some ease to life.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you detached for awhile. Maybe do that a little more often? I'm praying for you and the family in the meantime. I love you girl. Keep you head up.