I mentioned that Alice is feeling stressed out now that she’s a teenager. When she was a child, she used to always get her homework done on time, and worked hard every day at school. She would often come home from school feeling strained, and the only way she could relax after working that hard was by cuddling her teddy.
She’s too old to cuddle teddy now. All she’ll do is hold him, but gets no enjoyment from it. She can’t even pretend that somebody loves her any more.
She won’t do her homework while this stressed. She won’t work hard at school. She is constantly miserable.
Finding something fun for Alice to do is a lot harder than you’d think. She’s still limited by a curfew, and her hours away from the park are often spent finding food or rest. Remembering her early days as a young child, I stopped her from going on the bus home after school again, and sent her to the school playground.
She had a happy few seconds on the swing before her exhaustion forced her to stop. She moved to the bench that used to be her home away from home, and napped. But she was still despairingly exhausted when she woke.
Then she just sat there, and cried.