Adolescent Mental Illness. Wow, those three words together are a frightening combination! And when there is a diagnosis of adolescent mental illness it is traumatic. There is a lot of questioning, frustration and even denial. Everyone is confused and stressed. You end up walking on eggshells all the time.
Every child is different. So, every journey is different. But there is a common bond. Support. I found this out more and more as I journeyed with my daughter, my family and friends.
We are now 27 months and 40+ hospital and program admissions into that journey. There have been a great many days that tears and prayers are what have gotten me through. And I know that they have gotten my daughter through, because she is still with us. She is just 17 and has fought for her life more times than I can count.
The network of support Emily has is wonderful. So many times i have spoken to Dr.’s, nurses, mental health staff and so on and they are all amazed at how much we have come together for Emily. They so often see familes just not be involved. No visits, no phone calls, nothing. My heart breaks for these children. They just want and need some positive support. There are times when Emily does not want help or support. These are very angry and volatile times. But I just step back and let her purge whatever emotions she has and then we start new.
I have learned to walk on eggshells with confidence, listen to her have explosions of anger targeted at me with no reaction, I have learned to take care and love when she has self harmed and I have to clean her up and I have perfected crying and praying in my pillow. I used to think I was weak and would beat myself up with all of the “what ifs”. But over time I have found myself to be a strong individual. The questions and “what ifs” are always going to be there. I just had to make them less important.
My path on this journey has been difficult. I have had to make decisions that would get some upset comments and questions. You see, I am a single mom. I was working. I had a job for 9 years and things were “ok” . But after things began to happen there came a time that I had to set back and re-evaluate. I left my job. Needed assistance with some areas of my life and became a 24/7 caregiver to my daughter. I also became ill (like I needed that on top of this). But I worked through it. I got additional support for Emily, found a great therapist for my other daughter Sophie for an outlet for her and her view on things and finally gave in to starting therapy for myself. Self care is of utmost importance. I did not think so for a long time because I thought that I needed to care for my daughters more than anything. Boy was I wrong!
I want all of you to know that adolescent mental illness is most likely a lifetime journey. Not just for your child, but for you as well. Over time, tears, prayers, sleepless nights and many talks with friends, family and support teams I have learned to accept this. This is not the journey I chose for me or my daughter and family. But it is one that I was given. I have embraced our life as it is now and I am continuing forward. I pray that all of you know that you are not alone. That there is much love and support from many and above all you are a strong, confident, caring and loving person.
I appreciate you taking the time to read about my journey. It is ever ongoing. Would you like to share your experiences? I am always open to listening. You can contact me through my comments or message me on my FB page.
*Since the beginning I have always went to one website that has heped me. It gives me short, concise explanations for a lot of questions. I don’t get information overload and the knowledge is very helpful.
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