(Dear Reader–I don’t normally talk or text this way. I apologize in advance for the colorful language you will encounter. I left it in because it shows the depth of my frustration and, yes, anger at a situation that seemed utterly hopeless–as if Sarah wasn’t the only one who had neared the bottom of the pit).
I couldn’t call Sarah during the day, because she had to turn in her phone upon arrive at Alta Bates. Nor did I want to call her during her 90-minute drive home—she seemed to get lost easily enough without me distracting her.
By that evening, I still didn’t know how I should handle the situation. My anger had trumped my compassion. How could she put her sister through such emotional trauma? I could handle (mostly) Sarah’s whining and tantrums—but to scare her sister with ideas of purposefully getting in a car wreck—that changed things.
I started out with a friendly text, but lost control soon there after.
Anita Ojeda: Hey! How was your day?
Sarah Ojeda: I hate this.
Anita Ojeda: Sometimes, we hate what will help us. Try to have an open mind. Try to remember that NOTHING you have tried seems to have worked for you.
Sarah Ojeda: I can’t.
Anita Ojeda: You can do anything you set your mind to do. The mind is a POWERFUL instrument. Stop being so negative. Embrace some change for the better.
Sarah Ojeda: It’s not a change for the better.
Anita Ojeda: How do you know that?
Sarah Ojeda: I just know. It’s dumb and stupid and won’t solve anything and I hate myself.
Anita Ojeda: Maybe you will learn to not hate yourself. And stop thinking you’re God. You DON’T know everything. The fact that they accepted you and the fact that insurance will pay for it is confirmation that YOU NEED HELP. You just can’t see it because of all the caca in your eyes.
Sarah Ojeda: They just asked me if I wanted to and I said I did because I knew you wanted me to.
Anita Ojeda: That’s the ONLY question they asked?
Sarah Ojeda: Aghhhhhhhhh no but I lied a lot … I’m a horrible and lazy and gluttonous liar
Anita Ojeda: Look, Sarah. Based on all of our conversations over the last two months; based on your text messages; based on your actions; based on your inability to make even the simplest decisions—it’s obvious that you need help. I have tried to help you. I feel woefully inadequate. Dad and Laura have given you advice. You stubbornly persist in believing that nothing is wrong (while at the same time constantly tell me that something IS wrong). I don’t think you are a very good judge at this point in your life of what is right for you or not right for you.
What did you lie about?
Think of it as a place to help you quit lying; quit being lazy and quit being gluttonous.
Sarah Ojeda: That’s funny that you think that. I’m hopeless.
Anita Ojeda: That I think that you’re lazy, gluttonous or a liar? Those are YOUR words, not mine.
I think you have lost your true self and don’t know where to find you because you’ve been listening to satan’s lies for far too long. Lies about perfection. Lies about body image and what you ‘need’ to look like or be or do.
Like I said earlier, you’ve been feeding yourself such a load of shit for so long that you can’t see clearly and you’re starting to think it tastes good and looks normal.
Sarah Ojeda: Yep.
Anita Ojeda: So, think of Alta Bates as a power washer place that will clear the poop out of your eyes and detox you from all that nasty self-pollution. If a baby has a poopy diaper and gets angry, and gets even angrier when someone wants to change the diaper, do you think the parents should just let the baby stew in its poopy diaper for the next twenty years?
Sarah Ojeda: No
Anita Ojeda: So, I understand that you’re not happy about this. I know that you hate it. But believe me, you’d be even more unhappy and hate it even more if you continued in the same frame of mind and shit pile you’ve been stewing in for the last five years.
Sarah Ojeda: This isn’t going to magically make five years of things disappear. You don’t understand…
Anita Ojeda: Explain it to me, then.
Sarah Ojeda: I’ve tried.
Anita Ojeda: But you tell me crazy things like “it’s because I don’t have enough clothes” Or I’m this way because I’m ‘greedy’.
That’s like a baby saying, “I hate my poopy diaper but don’t change it because it’s poopy!”
I felt horrible about losing my temper. We had tried tough love. I had tried coming alongside. I had reached the end of my rope. Once again, I ended up on my knees.
The safest place to rest during a crisis.
Throughout the week, Sarah had shared with me a little about what she had learned about cognitive distortions—I immediately went to Amazon and found a book to read so I could understand what she had learned and help her with understand herself a little better.
She had also shared that Alta Bates thought she should receive treatment closer to home. This frustrated me to no end, because Alta Bates didn’t seem to understand that we had no options close to home.
Laura and Louis had to leave on Sunday morning, and Sarah ended up at her aunt and uncle’s house alone. That night, she texted me while Pedro and I sat in the living room recovering from the first week of school.
Sarah Ojeda: Miiiiimn! I’m having bad thoughts!
I startled Pedro awake and said, “You need to call Sarah NOW!” Without hesitation he grabbed his phone and dialed.
I started praying. Pedro’s brother wouldn’t be home for another day. No mother wants to hear her child say she’s having ‘terrible thoughts’ when a thousand miles gapes in-between their physical locations and both sides of the crevasse.