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.
Much Love,
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*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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In the beginning, unless you have dealt with this in any capacity in your past, you will know absolutely NOTHING! Not that it’s a bad thing, it is just what I have found out. A little background information is below and if you have ANY questions or comments please feel free to place them below and/or contact me directly.
Look back November 2013
My at the time 14 year old daughter Emily had come to me one day stating she had taken several Benadryl about 3 days before. Concerned, I asked why? She was telling me she didn’t really know, but that she wanted to commit suicide. I remember the day she was talking about. She was napping on the couch and when I tried to get her up she didn’t want to. Which is not unusual for her. She has always been a monster to get awake. So we talked, and she said she felt better. I felt she was trying to get some attention. This is something that she has always been good at doing and she was a teenager and she was recently REALLY showing her teenage muscles. So I kept a closer eye on things. About a week later I get a call from her school counselor. She stated that Emily has told her she tried to commit suicide and per their guidelines they had to call me and have her evaluated. I picked her up from school and took her to be evaluated. They recommended hospitalization. She was admitted.
WHEW! A lot has happened between then and now. But I would like to focus on the beginning and then I will work forward.
1. You are human! You will be confused, frustrated, make mistakes and cry ALOT!
In the beginning I cannot express how many feeling, questions, what if’s, etc that I had going through my brain. But I can tell you that I beat myself up….ALOT In hindsight, you wouldn’t be a parent if you didn’t. You start to pick apart every little thing that happened up until then. You say to yourself I could’ve….I should’ve etc. That’s ok. But DO NOT dwell on those. I did. It was not a good time. I cried a lot, lost sleep, read a lot, and was physically and emotionally spent. I had to remember to take better care of myself in order to be able to help my daughter and my family. That is a very important part of this path.
2. Are they just wanting attention or is this a serious and real illness?
Let me say this first. I have always believed that Mental Illness is real. That is not the context of this question. I say this because teenagers are very hard to read sometimes. Teenagers, in a general sense, are attention seekers. This is where I had to really listen to the Dr.’s, nurses, social workers and mental health specialists. Then I had to ask a lot of questions. There were a lot tests that they were doing with Emily to try to gauge what they may be dealing with. Then I had to find a therapist and Dr. outside of the hospital to work with her and continue treatment. I was extremely fortunate to find a great group of support in my local area. Between the diagnosis that the hospital began with and the support team we were working with there was some pretty serious things going on. But part of this included attention seeking. Not on the teenager level but on the mental illness level. Talk about confusing!
3. Trial and Error
This is an important thing to remember in the beginning and as an ongoing aspect of treatment and living with a child that has Mental illness.
There is not one specific treatment, medication or Tah Dah! moment that will work or work for a long amount of time. This is my experience. That is why you ask questions, read, talk to others and even look for medical reasons as to Why. This will continue and evolve over time, but will never not be an option. I have always told my daughter Emily that I will do anything and everything in my power to help her. I will always support her. I will always love her!

I will leave you with that for now. I will continue with this soon. I do hope that I was able to help in any way to someone who is or knows someone who is going through this struggle. It is not easy. But it can help to have an outlet. Since the beginning I have always went to one website that has helped me. It gives me short, concise explanations for a lot of questions. I don’t get information overload and the knowledge is very helpful.
Much Love,

#adhd #anxiety #bodyimage #borderline #bpd #coping #copingskills #cutting #depression #did #eatingdisorder #endstigma #grateful #mentalhealth #mentalillness #ptsd #psychology #psychiatry #selfcare #selfhelp #selfinjury #stress #stayalive #suicideprevention #mindfulness #behappy #anger #fears #mentaldisorder #mentalhealthawareness #keeplearning #nuts #education #support #treatment #stigma #learn #crazy #mind #confused #therapy #counseling #socialwork #letstalk #ibelieveyou #neveralone #wesupportyou #stopthestigma #research #speech #life #depression #depressed #socialanxiety #lonely #lost #majordepressivedisorder #majordepression #alters #dissociative #dissociativeidentitydisorder #dissociation #memory #WhatYouDontSee #psychosis