Have you ever come to a place in your experience of parenting where you were so worn out and discouraged that you didn’t know what you could believe in anymore? Did you want to give up? Did you lose all hope things would ever change? “I’m so exhausted,” my friend confided as she sighed. Another mom choked out, “I don’t think I’m going to survive this experience”, as she wept on my shoulder. A grief-stricken father commented, “This is killing me. It’s by far the most difficult time of my entire life.”
I’ve thought and said these same things. I’ve wondered how I could keep going. Worn out and depleted my strength was gone. I honestly didn’t know how I would be able to face the next crisis with my child.
You may have felt like this, too. I wish I could tell you one day your child will be okay, but I can’t make that promise. No one can. There are no guarantees we can depend on. Not very comforting, you say? I’m sorry, but it’s the hard truth. We need to grieve our losses and accept what is. What can we depend on? Where is our high ground, our refuge during times of flood and disaster?
Have you ever observed unreasonable fears or unexplainable episodes in your son or daughter that caused you to wonder if they have panic disorder? My daughter first started showing signs of this in high school. I was baffled by it. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Was she just over-reacting or trying to get attention? It can be extremely distressing and mysterious. You know something is wrong, but can’t make sense of it. If this is your situation, then you will find this blog very helpful. As overwhelming as panic disorder can be please be encouraged to know it is very treatable.
This is a heartfelt message to Pastor Rick Warren and his family – a family who has been crushed by the weight of their adult child’s death by suicide. It is what I would want someone to say to me if I was in their place. I have come close, numerous times. My daughter, 26, battles the same issues their son did – mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
Your son’s suicide wasn’t your fault.
You can’t always know everything your child is thinking, read every signal accurately. Sometimes there just aren’t any.
God made no mistake when he chose you and Kay to be Matthew’s parents. But it wasn’t just so that you could help him and pour into his life – it was also because of what God wanted to pour into your lives through Matthew’s struggles. It was just as much, if not more, what your son would give to you.
I have been very heavy-hearted the last several days since I heard the news about Pastor and author Rick Warren’s son’s suicide. I found it rather interesting that this should happen in the midst of my series on mental illness. In case you do not know who Rick Warren is, he is the pastor of a large, non-denominational church in California called, Saddleback. Pastors and church leaders go there from all over the country to learn how to have more impactful ministries. Rick Warren and his church are also responsible for producing the Christian equivalent to AA, Celebrate Recovery. He also wrote a best-selling book my husband and I both love, The Purpose Driven Life. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s life-changing.
This is a spiritually strong, stable, emotionally healthy Christian family whose son struggled with mental illness most of his life. It was not because of anything they did. It didn’t have anything to do with their parenting. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. Life is not perfect. Our children will not be perfect. No family is immune from this possibility. It could happen to anyone. Some families will have a child with mental illness. Sometimes the struggle will never end. And sometimes it will end the way you never expected.
The Warren’s son was only 27. He suffered from depression, an unrelenting darkness from early childhood even though they took him to some of the top specialists in the country. He had been on medication. He was a Christian. He was doing everything a person could do to overcome this problem, but, he had a moment of dark despair so black and all-consuming he couldn’t overcome it. He just couldn’t fight it anymore.
Are you the mom or dad of a child who is struggling with depression? Are you tormented not knowing if your child is safe – from themselves? Do you have an uneasy feeling that something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it? Do you worry they feel worthless and their life doesn’t matter? If so, this is for you. This information could be crucial for you and your child.