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.
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!