Series: Our transplant journey to the desert – Something’s got to give

This is will be a short two part series on our transplant journey to Arizona from the Bay Area.

Happy House-iversary to us!!! As we end year two of living in Arizona, I reflect on what brought us here and the current status of our lives. This move was a long time coming and honestly, the husband and I always had a nudge from God that we would leave the Bay Area one day. We just didn’t know when and how it would happen but God knew and he moved mountains for us.

I am going to prematurely give you the conclusion of this post because I think it’s important to state that our lives here in the desert aren’t stress free, perfect or magical. While our financial status has changed for the better, we are still in a state of getting everything in order. Our marriage still has its ups and downs. Our kids still think we are so uncool and struggles they are working through. Friends, life still happens and even if my social media posts look amazing and beautiful in our gorgeous backyard – we still struggle with anything and everything you can imagine. I will expand on that later on in this post. Let’s go back to the beginning and how the move happened. 

Something’s got to give

Realistically, a family of seven should have a difficult time moving out of state but we generally didn’t. Our move was as stress-less as it could get. I know that sounds impossible and believe me, we did too. Once I layout how everything came about, you will see that God was making a way for us in probably the quickest timeline ever.

2017 began with quitting my job because my depression and anxiety became unmanageable. It was one of the darkest and lowest times in my life. To make matters worse, our financial situation was also become unmanageable with the rise of expenses and my loss of income.It became increasingly unsafe in the neighborhoods and the community around our home. So much so that the husband had given me strict order to not frequent certain grocery stores, gas stations, and any parks close to our house.

This was no way to live. I felt like a prisoner in my mind and now a prisoner in my own city. I knew we had to make a drastic change or we would drown in debt, live in fear of our community, or even lose our home. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a conversation I had with a teacher our daughters’ elementary school. She informed me that at the end of this school year, 12 teachers were leaving and the librarian was retiring. When a drastic change happens at any school, it’s not good. The acting principal also left after only one year – red flag. So I brought up moving out of the Bay Area again with my husband. He agreed.

Hope arises

Around that time, one of his cousins reached out and invited us to Arizona to take a look at the community they lived in. She spoke about how the town was ideal for young families and it is significantly more affordable than the Bay Area. Obviously. The statistics she gave me that really peaked my interest in checking out Arizona was that the town she lived in was just dubbed the safest town in the US. Ding-ding-ding! The husband and I planned to make the drive during Spring Break while we were in LA.

When we arrived in the East Valley, the husband and I just fell in love. We loved how wide and clean the freeway was, we appreciated how clean the town was kept, and get this – people were nice and talked to you. They allowed you to merge into their lane, minimal honking, and people always yielded or allow you to go first. I remember thinking – Are we in Leave it to Beaver? – obviously not but I was amazed there was a community that existed like this. I wanted into this community like yesterday. I prayed about it in the deepest part of my heart. Thankfully she also arranged for us to meet one of her really good friends who was also a realtor. Well played cousin. Well played. So we talked shop and we were off to plan how we would actually accomplish this. 

Nothing is impossible with God

Where do we even start? It was so overwhelming to think about all the moving parts that needed to take place perfectly in order for this to even be possible – job, house, schools for the kids, and a home church. Those were our top priorities and we had a timeline of moving before school started at the beginning of August. It was now the end of April. 

First things first, the husband needed a job. We knew there would be a possibility that he would take a pay cut since we were moving to an area with a lower cost of living. We adjusted our house budget to also reflect a 25% pay cut. He refreshed his resume and began to apply for as many positions as possible and also sent his resume off to his cousin who basically knew everyone in the Valley – like she is a networking machine. He didn’t hear anything back for almost 3 weeks and once he did, well the phone interviews kept rolling in.

The husband would strategically take phone interviews on his lunch break, in his car, while at work. Once he secured in person interviews – a totaled five – he booked a flight to Phoenix. He made the trek to the desert solo with a laundry list of things to do in a short five day time period – secure an offer letter, look at potential schools for the kids, and find us a house. I stayed behind to keep our house running as smoothly and as normally as possible. I was also purging and cleaning our house for our potential move. Who trust their husband to choose their house for them? Me apparently. 

My husband is a banker by trade and has been in the business basically since our oldest was born. So he has a unique skill set and apparently it was sought after in the Phoenix metro area. SCORE. Soon he was wheeling and dealing with three potential companies – salary, annual commission, amount of vacation days, benefits start date, and a signing bonus. He was shooting for the stars, friends, it was impressive to watch.

Guess what – HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED. 

I was shocked and even more so when he told me his base salary would be more than what he made in the Bay Area. What!?! Once he received his offer letter, we sent it off to the lender and we settled on a house budget. We purged and cleaned and donated probably 50% of our belongings.

Looking back, I wish we left more things behind but that’s near nor there. Our Arizona realtor recommended a realtor in California that was in same brokerage company to make the transaction smoother. We met with her and we knew she was the perfect agent for our situation. She was very knowledgeable about the market and basically guaranteed that we would sell our home for at least 5% above the asking price. The cherry on top of the cake was that she was a Christian. We prayed with her at the end of our meeting and did exactly as she told – no questions asked. Purge more,  cleaned more, minor repairs, and deep clean the house.

At the beginning of June, we put our house on the market. We decided since it would be difficult to do multiple open houses we would do private showings during the week, a broker’s tour, and one Saturday open house. All unconventional to the normal tactics of selling a home but she knew what she was doing.

The Monday following our open house, our realtor wanted to meet with us first thing in the morning. She had a serious look on her face and told us we had a big decision to make. She handed us a stack of papers. It was ten – YES 10 – offer on our house: two at asking price and the rest above asking. We cried. How is this all happening so quickly? We narrowed it down to two offers and let them battle it out. We ended up picking an offer that was 15% over asking price. 

Tears of joy were shed by us and our realtor. Our God is so good. 

The same day we put our house on the market. We put an offer on our dream home. When we first looked at the listing, I told the husband that it was way above our budget – which is wasn’t – and there was no reason for us to have that much house – it was 3,700 square feet. He reasoned with me that it was the only house he saw that was move in ready with a backyard that was completed. Ok fine, let’s do it. We learned the next day that the house had three offers two above asking and ours at asking price. I was heartbroken. I knew the drill because we just accepted an offer. Our realtors both agreed that we should write a letter to the homeowners on why they should pick our offer. So the husband wrote the most heartfelt letter anyone could write. It worked.

So many tears again. I can’t handle this God. Its too many blessings all at once. Our realtors worked their magic and closed on both houses in 22 days. If you’ve ever bought and sold before, this timeline is unheard of. Yup, that’s God working again folks. So if you look back at the timeline, this all started in April; we put the house on the market at the beginning of June; and at the end of July, we moved 50% of our belongings on a moving truck and shipped our cars to Arizona.

See where we are today

I have met many other families that have attempted to move out of California with less children, financially more stable than us, and in a better position overall but their moves were so much more difficult or they never happened. The more I reflect on our transplant story, the more I can see where God made a way for us to move here. This one instance in our life has changed our relationship with Christ forever. We believe He has a purpose for us in Arizona and we are eager to see what he has in store for us.

I will conclude this series in two weeks with a two year status update on where we are today. How our marriage is going, the kids, acclimating, and our overall general status in the desert.

Please join me next week with a special interview with an amazing Filipina therapist. You won’t wanna miss it! 

Series: Parenting a child with mental illness – Conclusion

This is the final part of a five part series on parenting kids with mental illness. If you haven’t read my first post, you can catch up here. Thank you for being here and reading about my and Jennifer’s journey these past few weeks.

Originally, I wanted to end this series with Jennifer because she is seriously so inspiring and I believe her work is God’s work. However, the Holy Spirit has been tugging on my heart for the past few weeks, telling me this story isn’t complete. So I am here to give some words of encouragement and final thoughts.

I’m not sure how or why but I have spoken to at least a half a dozen moms about their child’s mental illness or special needs. I am not searching for them, they just to happen to be people I interact with on a regular basis in my local community. Most conversations begin with hesitation and by the end we are hugging it out with a few tears shed.

Trust your gut

Parents, you know your kids. Trust your gut. Push your pride and ego aside and help your child learn to cope. Even if its hard. Even if it is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

Were you aware of the current statistic — 1 in 3 people in the US suffer from a mental illness. That’s basically anyone and everyone you see. So your child is not the only one struggling. I have spoken to at least a half a dozen parents in the past few weeks about their child’s mental illness or special needs. Every time I do, my eyes well up in tears because I feel their heartache. All we want as parents is for our kids to be healthy and reasonably happy.

I would like to help you take the first step in helping your child by providing mental health screenings created by Mental Health America. If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you know this information is from the “Something is wrong with me” post. These screening are very similar to those I have taken in the past. You can click on whichever screening(s) you like and you do not have to provide any information to the site. You can also explore the resources and tools as the website is easy to navigate. I don’t have any access to the screening results. Everything is 100% confidential.

Parent Test (based on child’s symptoms)

Youth Symptom Screening

Depression Screening

Anxiety Screening

Support is out there

It may seem like you are all alone in this situation but you are not. There are so many people out there with similar struggles and the only way you are going to be able to find them is to reach out. That is how I learned about Wild, Jennifer’s daughter. If you haven’t read about their story, you can catch up here. I shared with Jennifer that I was struggling with my teens with mental illness and once she shared Wild’s special needs, I felt like I wasn’t alone and understood.

I highly encourage you to find a support group in your area that is geared towards your child’s struggles. Other ways to find support are call a local mental health professional or your pediatrician if they have any recommendations; email your church if they have any resources available; talk to a person you trust or you can even contact me. I am very opening about how I am learning to help my kids manage their mental health and would love to support you in anyway I can. Friends, we need to be ok with being vulnerable and asking for help. It is the only way we will be able to survive this thing called life especially when your child is struggling.

It’s going to be ok

In hard times, sometimes its difficult to see the light when you are buried in hopelessness and overwhelmed with the unknown. Please know that there is a solution to what is going on in your and your child’s lives. Sometimes it takes time to find the solution but once it is found, life will seem a little easier.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my kids would have mental illnesses but you know what, it is ok. It is ok because they now have the tools and knowledge to help manage their mental illness and can help those around them understand how they can help as well. I am confident that they will be thrive in spite of the obstacles they will face.

Please know that I am praying for you and your family. Life is so consuming sometimes and its so much easier with support. If you need extra prayers or support, do reach out to your family, friends, community or even me. We can get through this together.

Remember — it is ok to not be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!

Series: Parenting a Child with mental illness – Moms supporting moms

This is part four of a five part series on parenting kids with mental illness. If you haven’t read my first post, you can catch up here. This week’s post will be from an amazing individual who I am in complete awe of. I met Jennifer through a friend at our local recreation center. She is everything you would envision when you describe a Proverbs 31 woman.

Jennifer, is the founder of The Barefoot Preacher Project, were we have the vision to share stories; advocate for wholeness in wildness; and train up families – mothers and children – to see the goodness within reach. It’s a gift and an honor to use what myself & our guest bloggers are sharing as a vehicle for others to know they aren’t alone in mothering, nurturing, and caregiving.

Better Together: Healing In Motherhood & Helping My Child

Let me start off by saying that this post comes at the perfect time. Lately, I’ve been pondering the why beneath my daughter’s journey. And at the same time, the Lord has been gifting me just the most beautiful glimpses (thank you Facebook memories!) of some of the most treasured moments of my life as a mom.

My daughter’s journey has paralleled mine, if I’m honest with us both. At 17 months old, I weaned her from 24/7 on demand, day and night breastfeeding because I planned on traveling for a new business venture. Also, I was a little bit weary from constant touch. I digress. Within two months of weaning, we both found ourselves on new turf. Wild – unable to self-regulate without a breast and being worn (baby wearing was our tool to do life). Mama – in pain from autoimmune disease. It stayed at bay while I breastfed my babies. The hormones put it at ease. But the second I stopped, my body went haywire. Joint pain. Muscle aches. Whole body fatigue. Bouts of pneumonia again and again.

And then 2015 came. By then, I was working from my bed and attempting to take care of two small children. One of which (Wild) never slept. My body and my mind were on edge day in and out. I cried as I dropped off my son at preschool every day. It was exhausting to care for all of us each morning. Since her introduction into life without the “comforts of the womb” Wild cried often too. Actually, it was almost all of the time. We could not separate. And soon, I would give up my membership at the gym (all hopes of keeping my sanity) and be kindly asked to take her out of the in-home daycare she visited part-time because of her aversion to other, smaller kids. I deeply needed to practice self-care in this season, yet here we were at rock bottom… with no family in sight, few friends in our new town, and no true diagnosis for me or her.

Summer changed that. I caught a mosquito-borne virus (Dengue Fever) and found myself at the Mayo Clinic where they diagnosed me with mono-induced Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Basically my body systems were trying to fight a bout with EBV (mono) I had in college… still. At the same time, my daughter was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. While in the middle of one of the biggest fights of my life (barring cancer or re-learning how to walk – but we’ll get to that another day), we both needed help. For Wild, I had already contacted birth-through-three services in my county. Something you can do too – you do not need to wait for your pediatrician to diagnose your child to get support! It’s a wonderful loophole that I found out about in teaching families yoga. God gifts us with tools, oftentimes, long before we need to use them. Such is the case with this. (I’m so thankful.)

What can I tell you about SPD? Sensory processing disorder is best be defined on as, “issues or difficulties with organizing and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Kids with these issues may be oversensitive to sensory input, undersensitive, or both.” Wild exhibited signs of both over and undersensitivities. She hated some movements – like in the car. But she loved running into walls. She despised lights and loud noises. But some days, she craved extreme sound and would laugh like she heard the funniest joke in the world. Wild loved to sleep on me, and could only sleep touching me for 4.5 years of her life. She overstuffed her mouth with food, often. And over the years, I’ve given her the Heimlich three times.

What I can also tell you is that I believe SPD triggered a lot of her obsessive compulsive tendencies. Yes, in 2018 she was also diagnosed with OCD – and “at risk for autism” was removed from her files. Anxiety is a fiercely dedicated survival mechanism of the brain that allows us to protect ourselves from “what if’s.” So, because Wild is forever unsure of how her body will respond in an environment, her brain tries to protect her… sometimes creating unhealthy coping mechanisms and a bit of paranoia. Looking back, I can now see a lot of her most horrible bouts with OCD have also paralleled my hurts. Her anxiety disorder reached an all-time high in 2018, after I survived months of melanoma-related illness. There were many days I thought I would die. And I’m not being dramatic. (I wish I was.)

So, how do we manage it all? Together. I think that it is so, so incredibly easy to ask your support system to provide the tools necessary – and then to allow them to manage it all for you. But honestly, it’s not enough. There is therapeutic value in going the course together.  This has looked like parent-coaching through our developmental delay system. It has looked like chiropractic, naturopathic, and homeopathic consultations and appointments. We’ve even needed meds at one point – something I struggled with as an Eastern-minded woman. Yet it saved her from some really dark hours. I’ve read dozens of books. We practice yoga together – and separately – and meditate. Wild regulated her bladder through equine therapy (we are forever indebted to Miss Kate, the best horse on earth!). And I have shouted from the rooftops both in-person and online about our path. (We have fabulous support systems from this alone.) I journal. I pray. We’ve simplified life. My husband and I have found wonderful sitters so that we can still date. We’ve brought our son to countless special siblings workshops – so he’s supported too. I’ve even done a 12-step in Faith-Based Recovery to get to the roots of my hurts… so they won’t all become hers.

And lastly, by the time you’ve read this, we will be in our first really honest therapy session. One in which we begin to conquer our traumas together. Because truly, I just realized how much my hurts have become hers. (No guilt here. Just reality as a woman who has done life with a serious chronic disease… that can take a toll on a whole family.)

What I want to be clear about as I share our story is this: it’s not us or them. We both grow when we do life together. So while I never want my kids to see me sick ever again – I also know that they might, and I’ll be honest again so we can all thrive. The same goes for Wild’s sensory and anxiety disorders. While we want both to be in the background of our lives so, so badly some days, we’ve taken to being very honest about what she’s going through. And in return have received so much trust from our daughter (and our son – who is just her biggest cheerleader ever). Wild is an amazing human being. One that has heard her value and amazingness voiced even on our hardest days.

I’ll end here. You’re not alone. If your mental health is fragile. If your physical health isn’t quite where you want it to be. If your child struggles with challenges in either realm. You’re not alone. We are better together, we are worthy of well, and we are made for more. I urge you to get in community. I urge you to never give up hope. And I urge you to fully understand that even if life is hard, your potential is limitless. I know this because mine is, too. We are loved and created with purpose and intent.

I’m cheering you on. xox J.

Moms supporting moms

As Moms, we need to build a community of inclusion. It is the only way we will be able to heal the world of its hurts. I am so thankful to have met Jennifer. If you ever have the honor to meet Wild and Mild, you will see that they are moving through life – together. Its beautiful to be a witness of their journey. Jennifer is the support Jesus put in front of me on this journey of helping my kids with their mental illnesses.

Please follow Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow her on her blog The Barefoot Preacher Project.

Series: Parenting a child with mental illness – Managing daily life

Welcome back!
This is part three of a four part series on parenting kids with mental illness. If you haven’t read my first post, you can catch up here .

Being a Mom of teens is no walk in the park. I do not recommend parenting four teen girls at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, my husband and I are blessed with really great kids. The hardest part about this stage is allowing the girls to make more decisions on their own and…here’s the hardest part – ACCEPTING their decisions.

I grew up in the typical Filipino household where your parents told you what to do and not question the decisions made for you. I wasn’t allowed to to most things my friends did in high school. For example, my curfew was significantly earlier than my friends. When my friends were arriving to the get together/hanging out/party I would be leaving to go home. Moreover, if my curfew was at 9pm and I needed to be home before or exactly at 9pm – not 9:01. Most days I would get home right on time but there were times when I was a few minutes late. Remember this was before cell phones. So I got an earful from my Dad. I know he was trying to protect me and had my best interest at heart but man, but could a girl get a curfew at like 10:30pm?

I was also not able to voice out my feelings. I was always told to just do what I was told and to not question it. Which in turn meant that my feelings weren’t validated. As I look back at that part of my life, I still cry about it because all I ever wanted was to be validated. I wanted my feelings to be understood and I had never experienced that growing up. So I vowed to myself that as a parent, I would try my best to allow my kids the space to be themselves and to express how they feel. It is difficult to completely transform your own parenting style from what you experienced growing up but I am trying – everyday.

Suicide in girls are on the rise

A church friend forwarded a recent article about suicide rates in teen girls. I encourage you to read it with an open mind and come back to this blog. Its information we all need to validate the issue and find a solution. These girls have so much to live for.

In this stage of motherhood, I am very aware of suicide ideology because I was a teen with suicidal ideology. Having kids with mental illnesses heightened my anxiety that I will miss the signs. Thankfully, my husband and I have created as safe space for our kids to share their honest feelings – with their Aunts, my younger sisters – when they aren’t able to share with us. Realistically, we knew that our kids wouldn’t always come to us for advice because who really talked to their kids as teens. I never did. Our kids are so blessed with people who they can be authentic with. We all need that – to have a safe place to be ourselves.

How we manage on a regular basis

“No one teaches you how to do this” – is a phrase I have coin in the past few years.

I was never taught how to manage my own mental health let alone my kids’. We were in uncharted waters. So most days we wing it and go with our gut. I know my kids well enough to know what they are capable of. I just had to give them the space to believe it for themselves.

When both kids were initially diagnosed, I ensured that they had resources in place for them to build their healthy mental health foundation – therapist, extended family support, medications, other self care activities, etc. Between my husband and I, I am the parent who handled appointments, medication dosages, and checked in with the kids. My husband plays more of a supportive role. In which, he talks with them in a more constructive way and provides them with pep talks just as he does for me. As parents, we also are in constant communication about if we observe a changed behavior – good or bad – so we are on the same page.

In the beginning, this wasn’t the case. My husband’s typical reaction was frustration and I knew it was because he didn’t understand how to process this latest chapter of parenthood. My reaction to his frustration was either to calmly explain what I needed as a parent or reflect his frustration back at him. It would really depend on the severity of what I was trying to convey AND my mental health state. Nowadays, I we can communicate effectively and come up with a general plan. If all else fails we call our therapist and book a session.  

Family therapy

You read that correctly – we go to family therapy. In the beginning, we went almost twice a month to get us back on track. The husband I decided it would be the most effective way to talk things through and learn how to support each other more. I know that is not the norm in a Filpino household but we thought it to be necessary to ensure everyone has a voice. As you know, sometimes life get in the way and peoples voices aren’t heard.

Each session was different. Sometimes we would do an activity to visually illustrate a point or to open up hard conversations. Other times we would recap how our week went. Most times I would be the one crying because whenever my kids expressed some type of hurt, I didn’t know how to process it. Now we go once a month to every other month to check in and some of us are in individual therapy as needed. I believe it has helped our family tremendously and I highly recommend family’s to go through therapy during hard times.

You taught them well

It has been quite a journey learning to help each kid manage their mental illness. What I have learned these past few months is that mental illness presents itself differently in each individual. Accepting my kids’ decisions is definitely out of my comfort zone because my upbringing. I am currently focusing on this in therapy because I’m having that much of a hard time with it. How am I able to accept and trust when I was never shown that as a young adult?

So guys, I’m learning. I’m learning everyday.

My therapist made a statement that really stuck with me. “You have to be confident enough in your parenting that you taught your kids how to make good decisions.” I reflect this when I want to fix my kids or fix the hurt they are going through. I know I have taught my kids how to make good choices and be good human beings. So I now have to trust them make their own decisions. *deep breath*

Moving forward – together

As a family, we have definitely become more open about our feelings which is definitely a learning process in itself. The girls seem more empathetic to each other and try to support one another even when they don’t understand it. I can see when they are empathetic towards each other, their relationships become closer.

Before you assume we are a perfect family – we still have family meetings in the family room where my husband is the mediator and I am angry because someone didn’t do their chores. The kids do still argue about each other being annoying. There are still screaming matches about chores. Our family dynamic is exactly the same but it has also evolved into giving each other space and holding space for each other. While it is still a work in progress, I am definitely proud of the work we’ve done as a family – together.

The Filipino Mom Parenting a child with mental illness

Series: Parenting a child with mental illness – Mama bear and diagnosis

Welcome back!

This is part two of a five part series on parenting kids with mental illness. If you haven’t read my first post, you can catch up here .

I have always been a mama bear. I protect my kids from any nastiness from the world. It’s what my mom did for me and what I’m doing for my kids. However, I knew their stories needed to be shared because shielding them from anything will actually hurt them instead of help them. Allowing your kids to feel pain and moving through it is hard. It is hard because you can not control what is happening to them. I had to learn, through therapy, that I had to allow them to move through their feelings and be there to support them not shield them.

I’ve talked to my kids at great lengths about sharing their journeys and they were very willing to share. Kabayan, we need to learn from these brave kids. If you were to ask them in person they would happily share. In fact, they’ve talked about their mental health journey with classmates and guess what – their classmates share their experiences too. Their experiences with support for their mental illnesses was very different from mine. I didn’t realize it was different until I shared with my kids how my parents reacted to my diagnoses. It was mind blowing to them that my parents weren’t as accepting because I provided resources for them immediately.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Both of my kids showed symptoms and signs of mental illness in their teen years. After meeting with our pediatrician about their symptoms, we learned that mental illness can appear in the teen years because of hormonal changes and physical changes. (WHAT! Yup new news to me.) Once our kids were diagnosed, we started both of them on medication and found a therapist that was right for them. They have also tried alternative therapies just as I have. This process took lots of trial and error but as of today, I think we have dosages correct.

What were the symptoms and signs of both of their mental illnesses, you ask? Well I will list them below but before I do, I want you to know these symptoms look very similar to typical teen behavior. The deciding factor was my gut feeling that something wasn’t right. I felt it in my bones that my kids were struggling with something “else”.

Teen #1

  • Secluding themselves from all activities
  • Hard time getting up in the morning
  • Able to sleep all day
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Crying for no reason
  • Having poor body image
  • Comparing themselves to others while putting themselves down
  • Having inactive self harm thoughts
  • Shutting down when asking to talk about their feelings
  • Dead look in their eyes when you speak to them
  • Not making new friends
  • Not wanting to hang out with friends

Teen #2

  • Secluding themselves from all activities
  • Second guessing everything they do
  • Having irrational fears about everyday activities
  • Checking things multiple times, in particular sequences
  • Rewriting things over and over until it was “perfect”
  • Wanting to be in control of all situation all the time
  • Not making new friends
  • Not wanting to hang out with friends
  • Refusing to change their routine even in the slightest way
  • Mental breakdown
  • Active self harm thoughts

Moving forward

Can we just take three deep square breath after reading all that? It’s heavy stuff.

I can tell you that today, my kids have more of an understanding about their emotional and mental wellness than I ever did as a teen. They understand far more about empathy, inclusion, and compassion. They move through hard feelings and I’m proud of them. I have been there for support but they did all the work.

Are you parenting a child with a mental illness? How did you discover they needed help? Wanna see how we manage our daily lives with mental illnesses? Come back next week and I will share a small snippet of our life.

Remember – it is ok to not be ok, tomorrow is a new day. I’ll see you next week.