When someone you love is diagnosed with a mental illness (major depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, PTSD, OCD) something very ugly tends to rear its head. I call it the two-headed monster of stigma and shame. It finds life from those who don’t understand because they’re either uninformed or misinformed. When it’s directed at your son or daughter the hurt runs deep. You feel protective. Defensive. But maybe you felt this way toward them yourself.
You need to hear these things:
- Don’t believe your child’s value in this world is diminished because of their mental illness.
Life is full of change, isn’t it? Not all change is bad, either. I wanted to let you know about what I think will be a good change.
In the next week or two my blog will be migrated into our Hope for Hurting Parents website. This way everything will be in one place. My blog will be the home page. We will also have a new look, so be sure to leave your comments! From that point on my blog will not be found at: hopeforhurtingparents.wordpress.com. Instead, it will be found at: hopeforhurtingparents.com
Speaking of change, I pray good changes will come in your child’s life soon. If not in theirs, then in yours, as you learn to cling to, lean on, depend on and trust in God. He’s got you in his hands.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13 ESV)”
Father, show compassion to hurting parents and their children as they endure painful changes and hope for good ones. Oh, how they need it today.
Schizophrenia. Have you wondered if this could be what’s wrong with your son or daughter, or have they already been diagnosed? Maybe you weren’t surprised, but either way it was probably devastating. You may have been on this precarious path for a while. Some days you feel okay and other days you’re not.
A friend of mine, whose daughter struggles with schizophrenia, says she often feels way out of her comfort zone. Sometimes it feels like she’s living in a nightmare.
It’s a little like trying to cross a precarious rope bridge. You have no choice – you have to keep going, even though you’re scared to death. I hope the following information from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org) will be helpful on your journey.
“Mrs. _______, I’ve finished my assessment and I believe your ______ has Bipolar Disorder. We’ll need to get then started on medication right away.” It can feel like a punch in the stomach. Like the end of the world. If this has happened to you, then you need to understand what receiving a diagnosis of bipolar really means. What will their life look like now? Please don’t despair. It’s still possible for them to have a fulfilling life.
This is part 2 in a series on mental illness. My information is from The National Alliance on Mental Illness, nami.org Refer to the first blog the series (May 1st) for a further introduction to the topic of mental illness.
Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic depression. A mood disorder, bipolar affects nearly 6 million adults in the U.S. Characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning, people 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. A chronic condition with recurring episodes, bipolar often begins in adolescence or early adulthood. If your child has been diagnosed, remember – it does NOT mean they’re sentenced to a life of misery. Good treatment is available from many professionals who are continually improving their understanding of this mental health issue.
It’s Mother’s Day. A wonderful day for some. A painful day for others. I wrote this special prayer for every brokenhearted mom. For every mom whose son or daughter is away from them, “out there”, lost to some kind of addiction (drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, gambling, etc.); who can’t stop self-injuring, can’t overcome their eating disorder, refuses treatment for a mental health issue, in denial of their need for help; who has rejected their faith and values, chosen another life-style. There’s nothing quite so painful, is there?
Hurting mom, this prayer is for you:
Heavenly Father, on this day of celebrating mothers, please surround every hurting mom who reads these words with a comforting, warm embrace. Hold them close to Your nurturing heart.
Console them with Your divine “mother-love”. Reassure them You are near. Ease their pain. Lessen the ache in their soul.
Creator of motherhood – this desire to procreate, care for, nurture, and love unconditionally – is from You. You’re the One who gave this capacity to sacrifice for another human being, no matter how we’re treated in return.
If your son or daughter struggles with addiction, mental illness, self-injury, an eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, is incarcerated or has other issues, then Mother’s Day is going to be difficult for you. It will hurt. A lot. If so, then this is for you.
Moms like you don’t look forward to Mother’s Day. I know. I’ve been in that place. It only brings more pain. Increased sadness. Heavier heartache. When your relationship with them is strained or non-existent you’d rather skip it. You know you probably won’t hear from them, much less get a card.
You won’t see their smiling face greet you with affection, hand-made cards or thoughtful gifts like when they were young. They’re too self-focused and oblivious today for such loving gestures. They may not even know it’s Mother’s Day. They’re clueless.
Where does that leave you? Set up for a lot of hurt and pain, anger and resentment.
When I heard about the terrible earthquake that hit Nepal and the growing death toll, I moaned. It hurt my heart. It’s difficult to imagine that degree of suffering, loss, and destruction. Many parents – maybe you – find themselves living in what feels like an earthquake, but their child caused it. Emotionally, it brings about total upheaval of your foundations. It’s devastating. Earth-shaking. You’re not sure you have the strength or survival skills to live through it. You have no idea where to turn for help. You cry out to God and wonder when or where rescue will come?
It may feel too late. The destruction has already hit.
When I felt this way because of my daughter’s addictions, self-injuring, mental illness, suicide attempts and sexual trauma, there were four words I needed to hear. I believe they were from God. They were: