Parents: Learn About Self-Injury from a Counselor

CuttingSince this is Mental Health Awareness Month I wanted to feature a blog on a related issue common to many who suffer with a mental health issue. Self Injury. Today we welcome guest blogger and counselor, Robin Nicholas (from Orlando). In her blog she will define self-injury and how to recognize it.

There are myths and stigmas attached to self-harming that I would like to address. Contrary to popular belief, people who self-harm are not doing so to get attention. In fact, most of those who cut or harm themselves’ do not want others to know. They carry a sense of shame and guilt not a sense of pride. When they show their scars or marks to others it is a plea for help not a cry for attention.

Parents Need to Know These Facts about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is my next post offering parents information about another brain disorder.

Have you hope in the stormnoticed your child experiencing anxiety over obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors causing them problems with normal, daily functioning? They may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you’ve wondered exactly what that is, this post will give you the information you’ve been looking for. My source is The National Alliance on Mental Illness ( They have many other excellent articles on this topic you could read to do more research.

What Parents Need to Know About Bipolar

If you’re a parent whose son or daughter has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, this is for you. Don’t despair. Your child can still have a bipolarfulfilling life. This month I’m addressing mental illness in each of my blogs. The National Alliance on Mental Illness,, is my source.  Refer to my blogs in May for more content on these vitally important issues.

Bipolar Disorder was previously known as manic depression. It is a mood disorder. It affects nearly 6 million adults in the U.S. and is characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning.

People who live with bipolar experience alternating episodes of mania (severe highs), depression (severe lows), and mixed states which contain elements of both high and low experiences.

These episodes may last for days, weeks, or even months, and are often separated by periods of fairly normal moods. This is a chronic condition with recurring episodes that often begin in adolescence or early adulthood.

If your child has been diagnosed with bipolar, remember this – it doesn’t mean they’re sentenced to a life of misery. Excellent treatment is available. More is being learned almost every day. There is much reason for hope. 

Helping Parents Understand Borderline Personality Disorder

hopeinhandMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, therefore my blogs will be focusing on these issues. Ten years ago when my daughter was first diagnosed with a mental health issue, I knew nothing about these things. After that I began to learn all I could. In my last post, on May 14, I addressed Major Depression.  Today’s  topic is Borderline Personality Disorder. I am not an expert, so I turn to the best in the field, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, On their website you will find many additional articles on each of these disorders and much more.

What Parents Need to Know About Major Depression

If your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a mental illness this is for you. The main mental health issues, also called brain disorders are:caring concern Major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, among other disorders, are robbing millions of their quality of life.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness,   is an excellent source of education, advocacy, and support for individuals and their families.

Brain disorders aren’t the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. They are medical conditions that men, women, and sometimes children, have no control over, like diabetes or cancer. These disorders diminish their ability to function and cope with the usual demands of life. The result is a huge ripple effect on family members and society in general. Compassion, understanding, and support is needed in abundance.

Today’s post is about major depression. If you love someone who suffers from this, be encouraged. There is plenty of help and hope. One of the best things you as a parent can do is to become as informed and knowledgeable as you can. This blog will help you get started.

When You Don’t Want Mother’s Day to Come

troublesNext Sunday is Mother’s Day. It’s been on my mind because I know so many moms don’t want it to come. Mom’s whose children are incarcerated, struggle with an addiction, same sex attraction, or mental health issue. Mom’s whose children are estranged from them for a myriad of reasons.

It’s too painful. Too hard. Too sad. Too depressing. Is this you? Does Mother’s Day only remind you of  what you’ve lost? Does it throw in your face the shattered dreams and crushed hopes you try to not think about every day? This holiday has the power to make a hurting mom’s heart break open – and bleed.

It bleeds because things are still unresolved. Because you still have no guarantee of  when or how this will end. It feels like this has been going on way too long. Enough already. And now – another holiday. Not again.

I hope it helps you a little bit to know someone else understands.

Hope for Hurting Parents of Incarcerated Children Part 3 – Fear Not

This is the third post in a three-part series for hurting parents whose children are incarcerated. Part one and two were written by Ellen Gee, mother of Daniel, who was sentenced to six years for armed robbery and grand theft auto. In the first two posts,  Ellen outlined some of the things she and her husband did to show tough love and stay connected  to their son during the difficult years he was an inmate. Today, twenty years later, we will hear from her son, Daniel. I believe he has a powerful message of hope for every hurting parent, whether your child has ever been in trouble with the law or not.

We often forget that the greatest lesson of love is pain. Ellen Gee. son blog photo

As a father, I want to run and embrace my skinned kneed child. I want to wash her pain away with my kisses and hugs. The hardest lesson parents need to learn is boundaries. Our own willingness to travel only so far down the rabbit hole.

Like a body builder gains muscle by tearing and straining them over and over, so do our children, by experience and pain. They instinctively learn the what and the how of relationships and family dynamics, and just how far they can go before it’s too late. They push and push until we’re about to break.

At least that’s what I did, until I knew I had gone too far.