Parenting teens can make us doubt nearly every decision we make. Parenting a teen with mental health increases that defeat tenfold. Yet your child see it all differently–and knows you are doing all that you lovingly can. Be encouraged with truth. For you I have this true story from a mom and her daughter. –Brenda!
Have you ever tried to help someone you love in pain and your efforts seem futile? You reach out, but it seems your attempts to make the circumstances better are inadequate. You hope and pray they will at least know they are not alone in the struggle.
I have been there on many occasions. When the pain seemed unbearable as I watched my child struggle with a mental illness. Many times I felt like a failure as a mom because I couldn’t kiss away the hurt.
Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to one of my children, Marie. She asked if she could share her thoughts on the website in honor of Mother’s Day. I loved the idea but was a little concerned about what she might say. After all, It hasn’t all been pretty, and I didn’t want her to cover up the real story.
Please welcome my daughter as she shares with you a bit of our journey from her perspective as mother and daughter in the midst of mental illness.
I Was Never Alone in the Struggle
My body felt heavy as if an elephant decided to lay down on me. I couldn’t move. Getting out of bed to use the bathroom sounded like a feat of its own. I heard the footsteps – I knew what was about to happen.
There she was, my momma, screaming at me “Get out of bed.” She had come in multiple times before this, and she was done being nice. She began pulling at the blankets, insisting I must go to school. I couldn’t find the words to explain what was going on inside of me.
After all, if an elephant was sitting on your entire body would you be able to tell how it felt?
All I wanted was for her to see me and understand my pain. I kept thinking if only she had an elephant on her, maybe she’d understand.
My momma kept yelling at me, “Put one foot in front of the other.” When her words were not working, she physically began demonstrating “how” to do this. It was quite a sight. It appeared as though she was trying to walk a straight line as if she had been pulled over for a DUI check. I wanted to laugh, but the elephant was crushing my chest.
On that particular day, we were both hurting in VERY different ways. However, I was never alone in the struggle. My mom was right by my side.
Mental Illness Is Not Easy for Anyone
This road with my mental illness has not been easy. It came on like a storm in the night trying to wreak havoc not only in my life but in my momma’s too. It has forever changed both of us. Mental illness seemed to want to steal away the beautiful relationship we had built together, and at times it seemed as if it might.
There were many days which I thought for sure I had hurt my momma too many times for her to want to keep coming back. After all, I was mean. I yelled at her and called her so many names. Why on earth would she want to choose to be around someone like me?
However, she kept coming back – I was never alone in the struggle.
Before a Formal Diagnosis
Before the diagnosis, undesired and unexplainable feelings plagued my mind, and I didn’t know what to do with them. I had this overwhelming sadness which I couldn’t understand nor shake. Then like a flip of a switch, I would feel happy and ecstatic as if I could do anything. I had no control on when the switches would flip; they just happened unexpectedly.
Before the diagnosis – the unexplainable unwanted behaviors kept showing up at random. The house rules were broken, lies were told, and our relationship suffered.
There was yelling – lots of yelling. We had confusion – lots of confusion.
My momma kept asking me questions, over and over again. Each time she phrased them differently in hopes, this would do the trick. What she didn’t realize was she could ask me 100 times, and I STILL wouldn’t have the answers because I didn’t know them myself.
Before the diagnosis, I had unexplainable physical symptoms which were terrifying. My heart would beat and pound so fast it felt as if it would jump right out of my chest.
Please read the rest of the true story here at my friend’s site, EmbracingtheUnexpected.com. (Direct link to article.)
This daughter closed her story with this encouragement to us moms:
To the Momma who –
~ hasn’t spoken to your child in a while. Take a breath and know restoration is still possible.
~ is tired, so tired of fighting, so tired of it all. Take a breath. I don’t blame you and neither will your child, they are tired too.
~ feels like you’re doing it all wrong. Inhale and count to ten. You probably aren’t doing it all wrong. Remember no one is perfect, and this road doesn’t have a clear path.
~ is worried about their child. Pray for them – including their team of professionals and friends who surround them.
~ wants her child to seek treatment and refuses. Pray that they have one small moment of clarity to seek help. Include prayers for just the right future medical team.
All momma’s I want YOU to know that YOU matter. Don’t give up! No one should ever be alone in the struggle.
Maree Dee is a Writer | Speaker | Advocate – passionate about encouraging others to embrace life in the midst of the unexpected. Maree is a devoted and experienced advocate for families living with mental health difficulties. She knows first hand the pain of watching family members struggle and the desperate search for ways to help. Maree wants others to know they are not alone! Together with God, we can find incredible blessings along the way – even in the midst of the unexpected.
Maree writes weekly on her website and has been a guest on various sites. She was recently published in the book: Perseverance: 30 Devotions for Faith that Moves Mountains. Maree is a Co-founder, leader, and speaker at Circles of Hope, a mental health support ministry.
Drop by and visit Maree’s blog on Embracing the Unexpected – www.embracingtheunexpected.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Embracing Faith and Mental Illness from a Caregiver’s Perspective.