This is Mental Health Awareness Week. I remember when I had no awareness on this topic. I was clueless. I still remember how it felt when the psychiatrist told my husband and I that our then seventeen-year-old daughter was suffering with a mental illness – several, actually – also called brain disorders.
In shock, my mind reeled with endless questions: What are you telling me? I can’t believe this? What is bipolar or anxiety disorder? What does this mean for her future? Who can I talk to that will understand? How could this happen? Who can help me? Where do we go from here?
I had no clue. Most parents don’t.
That was twelve years ago. Since then, I’ve worked hard to find resources and connect with people who do understand. These are a few of my favorites:
NAMI – The National Association of Mental Illness; nami.org; their website offers an abundance of information and help; a free 12-week class (Family to Family and Peer to Peer) to educate and equip; and support groups for family members and for the person who lives with mental illness.
LEAP Institute – leapinstitute.com; help for family of those who suffer with mental illness who refuse treatment; founder, Dr. Xavier Amador’s book is a must have, I Am Not Sick I Don’t Need Help.
Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult’s Guide to Dealing with Bipolar Disorder, Federman and Thomson
Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families, Mondimore
Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About has Borderline Personality Disorder, Mason and Kreger
Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depression, Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Kay Redfield Jamison
This blog is for you, the hurting parent of a child who suffers with mental illness – depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, PTSD, OCD, anxiety disorder, etc. I have a few questions:
What’s hardest for you?
What causes you the most pain?
What do you wish someone would talk about, but no one is?
What kind of help do you need that you can’t find?
Please share your comments to help me better meet your needs in future blog posts. Your input matters. Thank you!
This Bible verse brought great amounts of comfort:
“He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water (Psalm 107:35 ESV).”
Compassionate Heavenly Father, please do this in our weary, worn hearts. It’s been so hard to see our child suffer. For some of us it’s been a really long time. Our soul’s feel parched and dry. We’ve felt powerless. Helpless. But we believe You can refresh and renew us. We’re counting on it. Keep us closely connected to You so we can survive this trial. You’re our life-giving Source. May we never stop coming to You for our every need – and our child’s.