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.