Single mom overwhelmed with sick child and battling ex

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    Hello everyone:

    My situation is very complicated but I will try to simplify it to just the basics. Please bear with me.

    Since January, my daughter, 15, has been very sick with chest and migrating pains all over her body. Over the last year, we have gone to a multitude of doctors, specialists and alternative medicine practitioners and no one has been able to help her. The pain continues and she gets progressively worse. At one point we thought she had Lyme’s disease but lab tests did not come back positive. To add to this, her dad and I have been divorced for 10 years and do not see eye to eye on anything. He is determined to only listen to the local children’s hospital which diagnosed her with anxiety. But putting her on Prozac, seeing counsellors have done nothing to help her with her pain. But then, using herbs, alternative medicine hasn’t helped either.

    You can imagine what it’s like for her to be in the middle of this fight. Her father and I are working with a court appointed parent co-ordinator and a counsellor to try to get us to work together but in the middle of this, he is also taking me to court for ‘retroactive’ child and spousal support. We just got a new place and he won’t give his consent for our children to go there because he says it’s too far and our sick daughter will be even further from her friends, who barely see her now.

    The list goes on and on and I feel like we are in the middle of a crazy storm. I have never experienced fear, anxiety, stress and hopelessness like this before. My divorce, my mom’s ailing health last year, all pale in comparison. As I see my daughter get more despondent and hopeless everyday, I crumble inside.

    I know that others on this site have gone through incredible challenges, I would appreciate any advice, wisdom, suggestions that anyone has. I need to be strong and positive for my daughter but I feel like I am going against Galiath. The irony is that my daughter fights me too. She is in such a dark place, every suggestion I make, she asks me with bleak eyes, what is the point mom, nothing works. Yesterday she talked about needing a space at the cementary as she is likely to be the next person in our family to die.

    I can’t believe how our lives went from relative mundane everyday problems to this colossol unknown enemy which we cannot fight.

    heartsick but refusing to give up Mom


    Dear Seekingwisdom:

    I am glad you posted here again. I hope your daughter heals from her distress and that your life circumstances improve a lot!

    First, the obvious: any and every disagreement between you and your ex husband, including disagreements about what is best for your ill daughter, hurts her, increases her anxiety and stops her from healing.

    She must be protected from the animosity between you and your ex husband.

    Then, of course, your own anxiety, as understandable as it is, harms her too. She needs as calm an environment as possible and that must be number one priority in her treatment, as well as in promoting your own well being and that of your other daughter.

    Anxiety, ongoing excess fear, is a cause of a lot, lots and lots of symptoms. Even if there is another cause, anxiety will add to the severity of the symptoms and produce new symptoms in addition to the symptoms of lets say a viral infection.

    Can you think of ways your ill daughter is witnessing distress between you and her father that can be eliminated? Ways to make her home environment as calm as possible? I am sure you thought about these things, but thinking more.. ??



    That sounds like a very stressful situation for you and your family and I’m sorry you’re going through it. I agree with Anita that minimizing the amount of stress your daughter witnesses between you and your ex could be helpful.

    It’s also important to take care of yourself as much as possible. Once, when I was going through a particularly hard time, someone reminded me to be gentle with myself and I strive to remember this whenever life gets difficult.

    I can’t tell you what your response should be to your daughter’s and mother’s health problems and the issues with your ex, and it’s likely only a very competent doctor and legal professional will have worthwhile opinions on those matters, but I will encourage you to do what you can to take care of yourself in a way that can help you decide how best to respond to all of these issues. Meditate, breath, practice present moment awareness, journal, or pray. (I find guided yoga nidra mediations from youtube or on a podcast to be helpful.) Do whatever works for you to get centered and as much as possible accept the situation you’re in currently, as unacceptable as it may seem.

    This doesn’t mean giving up on a solution, but rather ceasing to struggle against what is occurring, as those stressful emotions aren’t usually helpful. I would suggest making it a daily practice to get yourself centered and commit to not resisting against whatever arises that day. From this place, you may gain a different perspective as to how to best respond to these events. Even if the situation persists for some time, you will be in a better place to support your daughter and mother and face these challenges.

    Also, if you haven’t already, please tell your daughter’s therapist about her comments on death.

    Sending you my best wishes. May your situation improve and you and your daughter live happy, healthy lives.


    Dear Seekingwisdom,

    Some Lyme Disease test are more accurate than others, and false positive / negatives can happen. If you live somewhere where Lyme disease happens maybe a retest?

    The only other thing I might suggest is an environmental elimination test to see if there is anything that your daughter is being exposed to that is effecting her health.

    Not sure what hemisphere you live in, but when the weather is warm perhaps go on a camping trip (school holidays) and try to stay 4 – 5 nights minimum (more would be better if possible). Take / buy older – tent and equipment such as foam camping mattresses (less off gassing), eat only healthy whole foods, chose somewhere that has low Electromagnetic radiation (ie no free wi-fi and no cell / tv towers in distance), keep everything on airplane mode (and use mobile phone only for emergency), keep a good distance from other tents, try to avoid personal hygiene products (shampoo, deodorant, soaps etc unless all natural) and if you need insect repellent try natural herbs etc.

    At the minimum you get to have a holiday and spend some quality time with your daughter strolling in nature, swimming and catching up on novels…so not to much to lose to give it a try?

    I’m sensitive, to a list of things, which was causing a lot of pain and symptoms, including chest, skin and nerve pain and I adjusted my lifestyle which gave my body time to heal (still sensitive to some things but not so many things now)

    Best wish to you and your daughter.

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