It's late evening and there is a restlessness that started earlier in my head but now occupies every atom in my body, I can't settle, sit with myself, I can't find any peace. I've retreated to my bedroom. I text the cave troll who lives in the next room AKA my 15 year old daughter.
My daughter treated my with warmth, patience and compassion
The familiar sound of her bed creaking indicated that there was movement - what magic words had I sent to get such a swift response? "Would you help me set up my Instagram account?" The troll trudged into the room with all the grace of a baby elephant but all the expertise of a scholar. Throwing herself on my bed she relieved me of my phone and navigated its world with grace and speed that I could not achieve in a lifetime. So it was my first lesson in/on Instagram began.
My daughter talked to me as if I had a basic understanding of this world that we were now entering, (I have more knowledge on astrophysics.......NONE!) I smiled and nodded my head at words like "tagging”, "cropping", "public bio" and so on. I thought "hhsr23" a very suitable username (my online shopping account seems to like it) but, no: it was met with shrieks of laughter "you can't use that, omg you really don't have a clue". Ooops! I had given myself away, falling at the first hurdle! In that moment my wonderful 15 year old daughter saw me as a complete beginner, total novice and yes, a dinosaur but she treated me with warmth, patience and compassion that I rarely see at dinner table debates. During the next hour we covered the basics, I was amazed at the vastness of this world I was entering and she was amazed at how little I knew.
Basics covered she retreated to her troll cave, her presence lingered in the room leaving me with the peace I had craved all evening. I knew that for a short time I had magically crossed from my world to hers and it was not the harsh aggressive land I previously thought.
That small act of kindness changed the direction of my mood
Mental health can be hard to understand and easier to ignore but that small act of kindness – that small thing my daughter did with me, and the time she spent, changed the direction of my mood that evening, ending my day on a positive. After my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder it was reassuring to realise why I don't inhabit the same world as my family and friends and why my condition is why I am such a mystery to them, why they find me so difficult at times - like the language of Instagram was to me, what I say and who I am is alien to them. I still don't have the rule book for life but I do have wonderful people around me. Small things, like being taught how to ‘Instagram’ by a grumpy teenager, inspire me to treat those who love me with more grace and patience.