Saturday, May 25, 2013

Emotional Literacy

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Emotional Literacy is made up of ‘the ability to understand your emotions, the ability to listen to others and empathise with their emotions, and the ability to express emotions productively. To be emotionally literate is to be able to handle emotions in a way that improves your personal power and improves the quality of life around you. Emotional literacy improves relationships, creates loving possibilities between people, makes co-operative work possible, and facilitates the feeling of community.
*taken from Wikipedia

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Lilah went to see our Psychologist again.


It had been three months since the doctor had seen her.   She was very impressed with the improvements that Lilah has made in this time.


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Lilah now seems to understand who her immediate family is and that this is where she belongs.   When asked questions about what she had chosen to put into the sand table, Lilah explained that it was our house in Phoenix and that it was a very fun place to go.   She smiled when she said that in Phoenix, she could swim in the pool everyday.   She laughed when the doctor asked if mommy liked to go in the pool too... Lilah knows that I will only go in the pool if it is very, very hot outside.

She understood that our family is a unit that sticks together.   We travel together, but we are always together, because we are a family.   And she belongs here with us.   Forever.

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This is, of course, something that we need to continue to work on.   We need to continue our therapy at home in order to keep her anxiety down.   She is doing much better with her anxiety... but we do still have our moments. The Psychologist said that this typically takes about three years to achieve.

And she will likely always be a somewhat anxious child.   She just needs to learn how to recognize it and deal with it when it does arise.   

I am learning about myself throughout this process as well.   I am a fairly anxious person.   I know what I can handle and what I can't and when things spiral out of control, my heart rate rises and my anxiety goes up.   I was  thinking some deep breathing and yoga would've have been good for me this past week!

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The Psychologist had Lilah and I dance around a little bit together... Lilah could handle a little bit of eye contact with me and then she would look away.   She could handle dancing near me a little bit, and would then back away a bit.  I had told the doctor that we are not fully attached yet (this has a lot to do with me ... even after four years together).   I had explained that Lilah shows very little remorse for other peoples feelings and will say some very blunt and rude things to other kids, and then not understand why that would hurt their feelings.   She can hurt someone here at home, get in trouble for something, say that she is sorry -- because that is what is expected -- but there is no remorse and she will run off and play like nothing happened.

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By continuing our therapies (yoga, massage, deep breathing, exercise) and by spending more time one on one together, we should be able to change this in her as well.   But it again, will take a lot of time.

It is very frustrating trying to explain to someone that you are upset or that one of her siblings is upset and she doesn't get it.   It seems like an impossible thing to change.   But Lilah has improved by leaps and bounds and we pray that God will continue to heal her heart and the trauma that she has been though... we will continue to do our best for her.

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10 comments:

Jerusha said...

I appreciate your honesty, particularly that after four years you are not entirely attached yet. I understand that completely. It's a long, long journey of love we are on. :)

Marie said...

Thanks for your honesty and openness. It's so nice to hear other people's stories and learn from others. I will keep coming back to these posts.
Does your Psychologist have a particular method/philosophy she follows/uses. We are still looking for a Psychologist and would love to be able to clearly communicate what we want/need.

Paige said...

She believes that learning how to recognize and then apply therapies to the need is what my girls need. She is very cautious about labels and medication.

Paige said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

That's exactly what we've been saying we need. We will keep looking.

Jessica said...

Thank you Paige..for your honesty and insight.

Patrick and Christina said...

I can see a change in Lilah's pictures. She looks a lot more relaxed in the face and eyes since starting this work with you! I am so glad that you found someone really skilled to help you through this journey; it's not easy and we all could use a helping hand as our kids have so much to sort through on top of regular hard work of growing up before our eyes.

I appreciate the honesty of you pyschology posts and I am thankful that you have shared this. It will help us as an adoption community to become stronger and smarter about how we love our littles!

Many blessings to you and keeping you and Lilah in our prayers.

-Christina-

Monica said...

Like the other commenters, I too appreciate the honesty of these posts. It's hard to put it out there, I imagine, but it does the adoption world a great service to share all aspects of adoption, good and not so good.

I also agree with the commenter ahead of me that Lilah is looking much more relaxed and at ease. I'm so happy for you all that you are seeing progress in her.

Sara said...

So wonderful to hear she is doing so much better. Keep up the good work, Paige! Your tireless efforts are obviously paying off.

the meaklims said...

I just love that 4th photo down of the girls hugging and smiling, lilah looks so relaxed and happier than ever. So happy to hear that she now understands her family is forever.

You are such an amazing mom, Paige, getting her the help she needs. I just love that she laughed at the idea of you getting into the pool... I think you and I have something in common!! Haha!

J