What a long, strange… well, you know

By Mir
November 19, 2015

In an interesting the-universe-has-a-weird-sense-of-humor turn of events, I received a fairly heartbreaking question for my Alpha Mom column on the same day that Chickadee received her first college acceptance. (This is the school she’ll attend, but not her only application, so I say “first,” but really, it should be “one and only that matters so far as she’s concerned.”)

It was right around this time, about four years ago, that we started a long, slow slide into the darkness ’round here. Every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did, and usually exponentially so. There were a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of tears and worry, LORD, years and years of worry, even after things started getting better. Can you hold your breath for years? It sure felt like it.

During the worst of it, I would’ve punched you right in the face if you’d tried to tell me how that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, blah blah blah. Whatever. And yet… I look at my daughter, now, and while I know that there will always be challenges, I also no longer doubt that she can best them. She lived. We lived. We’re all stronger for it, even if maybe we would’ve happily stayed a little weaker. (Ha!)

What I remember most about the bleakest times is not how sick she was or how scared I was, but how those who loved us held us up. And so in response to a distressed auntie worried about her nephew, mostly my advice is to keep being there. I promise, it will not go unnoticed.


  1. Sheppitsgal

    Yay! Congratulations to Chickie 👍👏

  2. Kim

    Sending you a hug right now. Because I freely admit, while I tried to be supportive then, I did not get it. I did not get it at all.
    And now I look at my girls and hope I never have to.

  3. Karen

    Man, I remember. What a long journey, I’m glad to hear about this fabulous and important milestone. Go team woulda!

  4. Katherine

    Congrats to Chickie! I hope she will eventually let you tell us where she is going – or at least broad descriptions ( big/ small, in or out of state, etc)

  5. Alison C

    Aw you’ve made me cry! Many congratulations to Chickie and hugs to all the family xxx

  6. Stacy

    Hi Mir, I’ve been reading your blog for a long, long time (more than 10 years), and I have a question. My daughter just turned 7, and she is slightly “quirky.” She is quirky the same way I was quirky growing up. But, mental health issues run in my family, and she is already showing signs of severe anxiety. Since I have been reading your blog for so long, and Amalah’s blog, things began to “click” and I looked up ASD symptoms for girls. Guess who has most of those symptoms? We just got a referral for therapy due to the anxiety issues. So, do I press for testing (or whatever they do) for ASD? Or do I just watch it? We homeschool, but are military, so have great health-care. What are the benefits of knowing vs. having a hunch? I would really appreciate your take on this. And, I think you are very pretty and shiny! Thank you! And congrats to Chickie! That’s very, very exciting news.

    • Mir

      Stacy, if you’re been reading me for that long, you know that I’m always a fan of knowing over not knowing. There’s a lot of crossover with various diagnoses in terms of how you deal with them, but having a solid diagnosis means you know exactly what you’re dealing with and how to best approach it. Do you HAVE to have it? No. Might it be helpful? Yes. I would ask for testing (and also I would press for someone who specializes in girls on the spectrum—lots and lots of girls end up with a missed diagnosis early on that is only corrected years later).

      Either way, getting support for the anxiety now means fewer problems later (hopefully), so yay on you for being proactive. I hope therapy is helpful.

      • Stacy

        Yeah, that’s what I figured. We’ll start the therapy and talk to the therapist about it. Being military means a lot of stress (husband is currently deployed for 8 months, will get back for 6 weeks and then leave again-for Japan-where we will join him 4 months later). So, don’t want to push for a diagnosis if it really just is stress related. But, since we do have great insurance, this would be the time to take care of it. Thank you and I LOVE your blog.

        • Mir

          The thing about stress is that it’s a big ol’ spotlight on our underlying issues. Yes, some of what’s happening is stress-related. But if you know why this is her stress reaction, you can address it better. Best of luck!!

          • Elizabeth

            Just went through the testing with my son…would add that (in the wealthy SF Bay area even with TONS of medical resources) it takes MONTHS to get from referral for evaluation to actually getting therapy. My vote would be for starting the process sooner rather than later, as you can always call it off if it seems needless, but if things worsen, you’re still months away from getting actual help. (Unless the situation is truly desperate. There’s help for that.) Best wishes to you– and thanks to Mir for paving the path for us.

  7. suburbancorrespondent

    I, too, would have preferred to stay weak. I am just not that fond of that sort of self-improvement.

    • Mir

      I need a like button for this comment.

  8. Brenda

    My therapist has commented to me numerous times over the past year how well I’ve been doing, both in general and in dealing with my dad’s sudden death. Basically I handled it well because I had many years in my earlier 20s where I was a broken mess, and after years of hard work I have much experience in utilizing coping tools. Plus when you’ve been to hell and back before, another trip there just doesn’t seem as impossible to survive. Still not sure all that pain was worth the strong, independent me, but it is what it is.

    • Mir

      Brenda, from what little I can see across the Internet, you’re a credit to the human race. Seriously. I’m glad to know you, lady.

  9. Lucinda

    Hooray for Chickie! So pleased to hear the good news.

  10. Jenny

    Go, Chickie, go! Congrats!

  11. Karen


    • Karen

      You’d think I could get that right. Congrats!!!

  12. el-e-e

    Such great news. Congratulations to your girl!

  13. Springsteen fan

    Mir, so very, very happy for Chickie, you, and fam!!! What a long and winding road it’s been to that letter, and the beginning of a wonderful new road for her. You and your brood are doing great!!!!

  14. Mary

    Quite choked up here. And I haven’t even clicked the link. My sister flew herself and her three-month old down to my home the year I had unending panic attacks. She cared for me and my two little ones, while my husband continued to support the family, while I found a way past the scary.

    So happy to be part of your support system, even though it’s only across the miles. You are a treasure. You say what we all feel.

    Sending lots of love.

  15. Chris

    Congrats to Chickie (and to her proud parents)!!! What an exciting milestone.

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