I was 30 years old married and a mother of two and on the verge of a full-blown nervous breakdown.
But what was wrong, I believed that people who complained about their past were just weak and should get over it, we all had “shitty lives”. I was surrounded by many people who also had dysfunction. So, to talk about what I was feeling did not feel like an option with my closest family and friends. I had started drinking when I was 12 and by the time I was 30 I was a full functioning alcoholic – what is that – well I went to work every day , paid my bills and made sure my kids immediate needs were taken care of so in my mind not a problem until it was. I started feeling like I wanted to die ALL THE TIME. It almost became obsessive and I knew enough that I had to do something for my kids’ sake. I sought out a pastor at my church – which felt like the last place I wanted to be – she walked with me and eventually convinced me to seek professional counselling. I was diagnosed by my doctor with a severe anxiety disorder and given medication (I hated pills again only for the weak) I believed every stigma and stereotype about mental illness. But decided to give it a try because I didn’t want to die, and I also could not live with this immense mental pain.
After a couple of years, I finally got free of Alcohol but unfortunately this is when the hard work started. I had to fight for my life and work through my childhood trauma and all its affects, it took many years of counselling and digging deep into my faith in God and growing my relationship with Jesus to say I am nearly free of the affects of my trauma.
Today I must still be vigilant against triggers and work through them as they come, I no longer ignore them as they are a sign/symptom of something I need to deal with. I no longer fear the stigma of mental illness, I freely share my story and want to hold the hand of those that are struggling.
This is the part where I probably feel shame and fear the stigma……
My now 15-year-old is dealing with severe depression and ADHD. I try to be patient, to listen to anticipate her needs. She cries cause the pain of the depression is too much, she no longer wants to live. Oh, this is way to familiar. I hug her lots reassure her, pray for wisdom, lean on close friends for advice – google a million different things trying to find the “magic pill” to be done with this. my heart grieves for her and as others talk about there kids’ great achievements, I am just grateful she had enough in her to leave the house today. As I write this there is a glimmer of hope, there is always hope. I am still trying to shake the thoughts of “where did I go wrong” or “what could I have done differently”. I have had to forgive myself for my own stigma I had about youth and mental illness.
If you are a mom reading this know you are not alone, I hear you and see you and my heart grieves with you