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.