More than a file note


I’ve spent the last few days trawling through old papers for Poss. You know those ones, they almost always have a letterhead on them, at least one clinical reference and are signed off with a Dr of some kind.

They detail the ins and outs of the past few years; offering the bones from which our story hangs.

I never like reading them. I never let Poss read them. Not because they’re not important – I guess they have their place – but just because she sees the story from her own perspective and I’d hate to change that with a bunch of clinical terms and worse case scenarios.

For me, it’s as though she gets lost in there somewhere, between the long words and cold phrases. I read it and I know it’s about her, but I can’t see her other than in passing glimpses.

They take me right back to that place though. Years in between have dulled some of the hardest days, but I find myself remembering them with a piercing pain as the words on the page bring the memories flooding back.

Multiple suicide attempts, details of self harm, and discussions of medications span pages of A4 meticulously scanned and filed away in a folder innocently named ‘school and therapy’.

Letters from one doctor to another, professional and calm, are interspersed with emails from me to teachers and therapists, desperately begging them to understand, to help her. To somehow make it better.

I’m trying to chronicle it all in a timeline that makes some sort of sense, and failing miserably. What caused this? What could have caused that? Why did we see that specialist on that day? Did we sleep the night before? How was the weather and what was Poss wearing? Did we get coffee on the way that day? Or was it just too much?

The bare bones are there, but the bits that flesh it all out and make it more than a file note are missing.

As you’d expect, the closer it gets to the present, the clearer the picture becomes. But even then, things are confused. Blurry. Already starting to fade away. The edges aren’t as sharp, time and perspective having worn away their bite.

Maybe it’s not important to remember. Maybe a clinical note is all we really need to keep the skeleton of the story upright.

Maybe it’s almost time to let a new story grow over it.

Maybe it’s almost time to archive those files.

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  1. I think remembering is important. It helps to put things into perspective and see the overarching journey (though goddamn that’s a terrible word!).

    Everything you do for Poss is done with such love and always with her best interests first and foremost. It’s just who you are and it’s inspiring.

    I’m also proud of you all for sharing this. It helps so many others. Families dealing with similar situations, and people on the periphery to understand a situation we don’t live.

    Love your work lady X

  2. The teen recently asked to see the letters about her from our paediatrician. I pulled out the file and we looked through them together. It was an interesting experience as she has grown so very very much the last two years. I’m glad we did it as it really helped the teen to see how things are slowly getting better, sometimes we all need that reassurance.

    • Oh I think that’s a great idea Marita. I don’t doubt that there will be a time when Poss wants to look at them – I guess that’s in part why I keep them. And you’re spot on, there’s much to celebrate in how far she’s come.

      • If you ever have to look at the files for things like funding applications, I find it really helps to have a piece of paper beside you and for every negative thing you read, write down one positive. After reading through her notes with the teen, I decided that next time I would keep my positives list, date it and add to the file, so she can find it next time she looks.

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