Thanks for Writing: Shining a Light on a Brave Blog

This week as I run the grocery store gauntlet, toss out two, possibly three months of mail on my dining table and try to find the snow boots and mittens, I hope to remember to actually give thanks.  Really give thanks.  My daughter has gotten into the habit of uttering thanks for "everything good and none of the bad."  A lazy response but not unlike the standard family-friends-food refrain.

It's hard to be specific sometimes.  So I'd like to take this moment and be very specific. 

I'm thankful for Julie's mum who writes about her "bubbly" teenage daughter who "likes x-factor and Coldplay...oh, and who happens to have a very serious mental illness."  Her posts, often heart-wrenching, have a remarkable grace that quietly reassures me and makes me glad Julie has her mum in her corner.

Barely a day goes by without someone (i.e. my mom, the kid screaming in the dentist office, my own kids bickering) reminding me how grueling this parenting gig can be.  But there's difficult and then there's truly difficult.  Take JM's most recent post: We Have To Talk about Self-Harm.  And here I was worrying about finding the perfect apple dumpling recipe. 

Of course it's also easy to forget that major depression, psychosis, even suicidal behavior, they don't just pop up in Lifetime movies or Psych 101.  Serious psychiatric disorders happen to real people even kids.

But Julie's mum puts it so much better:
Before my daughter became ill, about a year and a half ago, I probably would have said that her sort of disturbance only happened in families that had something wrong with them. There's no smoke without fire: how can a daughter find it so difficult to come home and live with her own family if there's nothing funny going on? I suspect there are plenty of people who think like that, and some of them may actually work in mental health. But we have no skeletons in the cupboard: we really are a normal family, with two parents, and two half-grown children. There's no one drinking in a corner, no one with a drug habit, no child abuse, no violence. The most traumatic thing that happened to my daughter in her first 5 years was when they told her about the 9/11 bombings at school assembly. About the worst thing we've done to our kids is let them watch a bit too much TV and refuse to keep a dog.  Nope, Not a Recovery Yet

Thanks, Julie's mum, for shining a light.  I'm glad to find you and hope other parents find their way to you too. 

P.S.  Julie's mum told me she hasn't been able to find many if any blogs written by parents of children/teens with serious mental illnesses.  There seems to be a large community of parents writing about autism but what about other illnesses?  If you're familiar with blogs featuring families coping with depression, anxiety, or disorders other than autism or sensory disorders I'd love to pass them along.

I'd be very thankful.


drmimi said...

I am the mother of a teen boy with severe emotional disturbance (bipolar disorder, Tourette disorder and auditory processing disorder). I have written previously about my experiences about life with him on The Snapdiva Returns:
My most recent article: Don't Forget to Breathe appears on the Simple Answers for hearing and speech Website . I spend more of my time tweeting as @yayayarndiva

All the Best,

Pierrette Mimi Poinsett MD

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Howdy Dr.Mimi! Thanks for stopping by and letting us in on your blog and article. And what a lovely name you have. I look forward to reading.

Chrisa said...

I'm the mom of a teenage boy diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder. My blog is The Mindstorm and you can find it at

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi Chrisa, thanks for coming! Looking forward to reading your posts. Did anyone read the NY Times article about the man living with schizophrenia? Very encouraging.

JuliesMum said...

Thank you a thousand times Polly for this post, and to Pierrette and Chrisa for introducing me to a whole new world of parenting blogs.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Wish I could do more. This is the great part about Social Media!