May is Mental Health Month – Why It Is Important To Me

by Robyn Wright on May 16, 2012

in Living

Mental Health Blog Party Badge

May is Mental Health Month. Today I’m actually joining in the “I’m Blogging For Mental Health May 16” also. If you have been a reader of my blog you know that this is a very important topic for me already. My son has a diagnosis of bipolar and anxiety disorder NOS (that stands for “not otherwise specified” and I find it very annoying). My husband also has a diagnosis of bipolar. And just to round out the family I myself suffer from bouts of depression.

While medications, therapy, and various other tools really help myself and my husband, our son is really struggling right now. On top of having bipolar he is a teenager. This is one tough mix! I would never wish this on my worst enemy. I love my son with all of my heart and always will, but wow is he tough to be a parent to much of the time. As I write this he is actually staying with friends of the family for a couple of days even after his last big blow up on Sunday night (Mother’s Day was not pleasant here). It has been nice to have the house quiet and calm for the last couple of days honestly. During times like this is when I need a lot of support as a parent of a child with a mental illness. It is hard. Parents like me always love our children, but truthfully we do not always like them and we definitely hate their behavior sometimes. We have to deal with feelings of being a bad parent, guilt, feeling judged by outsiders, and scrutinized to a larger extent than those with “normal” children. Other lovely things many of us get to deal with include holes in the walls, destruction of our property, fear of self-injury of our child, sometimes fear for our own safety, spewing of very hateful words towards us, and the list goes on and on. The thing is, so many people outside of the walls of our homes may never see most of this. They will never understand what it is like. When they do see or hear about things that have happened there are those judgmental others that say you have spoiled your child, they just need a good smack, or my favorite “how do you let them behave that way”. Let them? Ummm, no I am not letting my child behave that way I can assure you. As a matter of fact I spend a huge amount of my time trying to find doctors, therapists, medications, tools, and resources to help him learn not to behave that way.

Deep breath. I was starting to rant a bit there. Yes, that does happen when I get on this topic. My fingers are flying furiously and with intensity on the keyboard right now also. I just want others to understand more. I want to not tense up when I hear a loud bang wondering if it is a rage coming on. I want to not have to worry about school calling me because there is an issue. I want my extended family to get it. I want to live without holes in the walls. I want the media to stop using “bipolar” incorrectly and for them to stop adding to the stigma of mental illness by using the terms that way. I want…..

what I really and truly want is for my son to be happy

Please take a moment today, or as soon as you can, to give some support to others you know who have a mental illness or those that are the caretakers of them. Take some time to learn more about what that mental illness really is. Take time to help a friend find resources if you think they need mental health help. Take time for yourself to see the help you may need. Take time to think about how you yourself have used words like depressed, bipolar, psychotic, crazy, nuts, and others. Education releases so much stigma!

Today on Twitter follow @apahelpcenter and watch #mhblogday to find more conversation about mental health. Visit Your Mind Your Body to view the host blog post for this party to learn more and see other links as well.

© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.

  • http://www.simpleeserene.com/ Lee Horbachewski

    Thank you so much for this powerful and honest reveal of the struggles in dealing with a child with a mental illness.
    My love & prayers are with you and your family. May your son find peace, happiness and a way to stand on top of his illness
    Hugs & Love Lee :D

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks Lee!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/TheGoToMom Kimberley C. Blaine

    I get it, and I’m here with you. I hear all the same rhetoric about my son… What we need most as moms and as women is support. I know all that you face – the good the bad and the existence of our given lifestyle. You are good enough. We are good enough. Damn, we are great moms and our boys are so lucky to have us. Thank you for posting on Mental Health Day. We need to stick together.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Yes! They are lucky to have us – even if they don’t always know it! {{{HUGS}}}

  • http://FeelsLikeHomeBlog.com Tara @ Feels Like Home

    Oh, yes. Yes, yes, and yes. Grace has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, too, and I have so much guilt. Hugs to you, my friend. 

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Anxiety is really tough. So many don’t get that it is more than just a little bit being afraid of something new or the like. {{{{HUGS}}}}

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  • http://mominmanagement.com/ Daria @ Mom in Management

    So well written!   We have struggled with some mental health issues – not quite as severe as bipolar disorder, but it is tough.  The mom guilt is there even when everything is going great, it just compounds when there are struggles.  Hugs to you.

  • http://twitter.com/NICKIEISIS3 nickie burke

    Thank you for this post. I myself suffer from depression/anxiety and I have friends that suffer from other mental disorders. Its always nice to have support.

  • angelgenius27

    So sorry you’re dealing with so much, I actually know a lot about mental illness, my mother suffers with bipolar and she is also clinically categorized as schizophrenic, it was hard to deal with growing up, and I’ve noticed that I suffer from bouts of depression and some times awful unexpected anxiety, hubby has a family history of bipolar, so I am worried for my kids since it runs in both our families I think they are highly susceptible to having mental illnesses…..I’m sure you’re doing your best and you truly care about your son and all you can do is live him and hope that things turn out ok hugs to you Hun

  • tannawings

    I am so glad that nowdays the subject of mental health can be shared and talked about without so much stigma. Being a tad older than some of you, I can tell you it wasn’t always this way… there weren’t so many diagnosed or able to get treatment besides mental institutions not fit for humans. 

    I remember back in junior high school, my friend,  a girl across the street. was suicidal- the answer back then was a mental institution for 9 months. That little stint made her spiral out of control for a very long time. People made fun of her, they called her horrible names and I can’t tell you how many fights she was in.

    Years later my friend was diagnosed with depression by a caring professional. She went back to college and is is about to retire after a long career the mental health field.

  • terrik

    I agree with tannawings, one of the best things I think we as a society can do is have open communication about mental illnesses.  I’m older too, and remember when “it just wasn’t done” to talk about anyone going to therapy or taking meds, and on the rare occasions it was, it was usually as a joke (like something from the Bob Newhart Show that I have to give credit for showing mental health professionals as caring and approachable).

    Now, everyone knows someone or has someone in the family that has experience with some kind of mental illness.  Whether it’s genetic, environmental, lifelong or temporary, etc., and the more understanding we have the better we are and the better future generations will be.

    Finally, I have to add that we are fortunate to live in a country where it’s not taboo, and where there are many different kinds of mental health professions, including pediatric specialists, there are still many places where that is not the case and I can only hope the more global we all get, the better things will get for people in those countries.

  • write4fun

    My dad was bipolar, and later had dementia. I deal daily with an elderly relative with dementia. My sibling and I both have bouts of depression–I have been in a down phase for over a week, due to not being able to find a job. Frankly, I think if I could just get OUT of my backwater burg, things would get better. That may just be the twisted mind talking, though. Sending good thoughts to everyone!

  • ravzie

    You have really had to deal with so much with your child.  It’s hard enough to manage your day to day life, but then you have people adding in their ignorant two cents.  I hope you are getting vent relief with your readers here.  Let those fingers fly when you need to do so.  Hugs.

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  • Kaicongroup

    Very brave and encouraging to many. Thank you for your post. All the best for you and your family.

  • Eileen Richter

    We have “it” in our family background too. I say IT because it wasn’t talked about like it was 30-40  years ago when I remember it. My dad was put in a hospital for a while but for him they called it EXHAUSTION. Funny, how the same symptoms for a woman was just called crazy, neurotic, anxiety driven, etc.  After going through some depression myself, and having a handful of family also, it has been brought into the light from the shadows. Chemical imbalances, loss of sleep or poor diet beCAUSE of the depression/anxiety has been way more discussed and not BLAMING a person to CHOOSE to be this way. For me it started with family issues and then post partum depression. Medication was a big part of helping me, and I DO believe in that chemical relief for people….but I think for some that discussion at least in our family is to get an easy fix with an RX. For me, I know I had to go other routes too. Having discussion on an INdividual basis and not “cookie cutter cures” or treatment is so important. So glad you and your family got some help Robyn. So many suffer in silence. So many men, who try to “tough it out” and don’t say anything let it go unchecked til it is really overpowering. Often turning to self treatment with alcohol. Too many women trying to do it all and afraid to sound weak for not being that Superwoman at work, Supermom at home, or BOTH.  So much pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect…no wonder that this and our family history of mental illness is recipe for disaster. I always tell my kids it’s no difference than having diabetes or being born with epilepsy…any medical malady. It is just more “unseen” by others because it affects the brain, thinking, and mood, etc. NO one should have to be embarrassed of it, to feel guilty about it…but I do know it is not an easy card to be dealt in a family and it does affect the WHOLE family.   So hope things lighten up for your family Robyn. Just suffice to say that T has a whole future ahead of him…like your husband, he will have work, family, fun, and goals too. Teenage years coupled with ANY medical roadblock is tough. We know…

  • http://twitter.com/Veuvefamily Rachel V

    I had no idea there was a mental health day.  Mental health issues run through my family.  I have a teenager with “issues”, so I totally get it.  It’s hard to be a mom!  It’s even harder to be the mom whose child has an imbalance somewhere and we can’t help them. 

    I have always decided to “choose my battles wisely”.  Others see it as I let my kid get away with things.  Sometimes I think no matter what I do, how I deal with things, someone won’t be happy – whether it be one of my kids or an onlooker (like family). 

    Hang in there! 

  • http://twitter.com/toothfairycyber Tooth Fairy

    A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body!  Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us all to…
    ” take a moment today, or as soon as you can, to give some support
    to others you know who have a mental illness or those that are the
    caretakers of them!”

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