As members will know, I have a policy of encouraging members to submit unique, original and previously unpublished pieces for publication as a ‘Guest Post’ here on the guild’s blog. And I have always been delighted by the response in both the submissions that I have received and the feedback that these have generated.
Today’s ‘Guest Post’ is perhaps shorter than a lot of the ones that I usually receive and covers a topic which – being a community whose members are predominantly adults experiencing mental health issues – we don’t always hear enough of. That being children with mental illness and the parents who have children with mental health issues. So I am delighted to be able to share this with you, and my thanks go out to Whitney Hawkins from StressFreeWithWhitney for sharing this with us.
An Open Letter to Parent’s of a Child with Mental Illness,
I see you fumbling your words; trying to come up with reasons for your child’s behavior.
I see you hiding the therapist and doctor’s visits from other children, parents, friends, and family; afraid of judgment and unanswered questions.
I see your pain when you try to comfort and understand your child, falling short one more time. Their tantrums, mood swings, or anxiety test your patience.
I see you blaming yourself; searching for the reasons why and people to blame. Eventually blaming yourself.
I feel your shame, your embarrassment, and your desire to understand.
I feel your pain as you witness your child being robbed of opportunities, of acceptance, and of life. The type of pain that hits you deep in your stomach.
I know you yearn for the life they could have had – the life you dreamed for them. The college acceptances, apartments, and weddings that may never be.
I see, feel, and understand the pain of parenting a child with an invisible illness.
But I also see your bravery.
I see you standing up for your child and being there every day. You have one of the hardest jobs on this planet. You are a social worker, a body guard, and a therapist. You are not invisible; you are so brave.
I see you and I know your child does too.
[Editor’s Note: Again my thanks go out to Whitney for sharing this with us and I hope members will take time to comment on it. As someone who grew up experiencing mental health issues from a very early age, but at a time when mental health and mental illness was far less understood than it is today – and thus dealt with in an extremely poor way – I understand (at least to some degree) the challenges that this can present to parents. And I feel it is an extremely important issue.]