Here we go again. I thought to myself with a deep breath as I completed a new patient intake form-number seven to be exact- for a new doctor regarding my daughter’s mental health.
I slowly wrote her name on the top of the paper and moved down to the next question, why are you seeking services. This is the part I hate. Checking boxes and writing down all the ways my 12-year-old is struggling even though she is only a child. These types of questions tend to deliver a hard blow to my mama’s heart.
How is this my life?
It’s always an out of body experience sitting in a therapist’s or psychiatrist’s office for your child. It can feel like you are watching someone else’s life unfold before you.
As I wait to be called into the room, I find myself wondering how did we get to this point and where did I go wrong to have to bring my child to this type of place?
The questions that plague me
Answering question after question about my daughter and her areas of struggle always make me feel like I failed her in some way. The long list of where I may have messed up game starts playing in my head like a broken record:
If I could just have a do-over, I could make things right for her.
Maybe I didn’t take enough vitamins or eat the right food when I was pregnant.
Maybe I could have loved her even more or gave her more attention.
Maybe if I didn’t work full time for most of her little life, she wouldn’t struggle so hard with anxiety, anger, and depression.
If only we would have found her help sooner and had the right diagnosis from the start, we wouldn’t be at this point.
Never saw this coming
When I brought my sweet, tiny newborn home from the hospital, I had no idea those precious lips would one day scream they hate me and tell me she wished she had a different mom or that she wasn’t alive.
I didn’t know those little hands could hit me so hard and grab me or others in anger.
I didn’t know her tiny body would one day push hard against mine in frustration and meltdown into a heap on the floor in sobbing hysterics.
I didn’t know her beautiful blue eyes would one day look like they weren’t even hers at times.
I didn’t know her mind would be overwhelmed by fear so she would need to be and wouldn’t be able to handle fun family road trips during the summer.
I didn’t know my home would feel like a prison, controlled by the mental state my daughter was in. Afraid to say the wrong thing to set her off or the angry meltdown that might happen if we tried to leave the house.
The tears we would cry and the desperate nights we would pray for change, were not what I expected I would be doing as a mom. The constant heaviness of feeling like you are never doing enough but always so weary from feeling like you are doing all the things.
The heartbreak is crushing
I hate that she has to go through this battle and she can’t enjoy the beauty of being a carefree child. My heart breaks for her every day as I watch her endure so much. I cry as I worry about her future and wonder if she will be surrounded by people who love her for who she is.
I hate what our family has to endure from it as well. The pressure and the intensity in our home creates so many cracks, we often feel like we are barely hanging on. Going through the motions but so detached in order to not completely break or finding yourself having to be in a constant state of being “on”.
Mama, you’re not alone
Friend, I know the weight of carrying your child’s mental disorders is heavy.
I know how lonely it can feel. It is not easy to talk with others about your child’s mental health. We often seclude ourselves, worried about what others might think or how others might judge your child or you as a mom. I am here to let you know; you are not alone.
Try to remember these three truths
When the weight on my shoulder feels like too much and when I am stressed out over my child’s struggles, I try to remember these three truths:
1. Jesus is working. No matter what, I hold onto the truth that Jesus is working in my daughter and He is making a way even when it feels like the impossible at times. Remembering this helps me to know it does not all depend on me.
2. Our children are so much more than the mental disorders they live with. Their strength and tenacity always shine bright. They love fiercely and are often the ones who to be the first to stand up for others. They can be more empathetic and understanding. How amazing are they? This truth encourages my heart to know there is so much to their beautiful story and I get a front row seat to see how my daughter will rise up in this world!
3. What we are doing matters. The love and care you put into your child, matters, even when it feels like it doesn’t. The paperwork, research, and late-night prayers all matter tremendously. Your child appreciates it even when they act like they don’t. Their heart knows the truth. We are stronger than we think. We are warrior moms.
Whether you are filling out new intake papers for the hundredth time, receiving a diagnosis or two for the first time, looking for new behavior therapies, or trying a new medicine; it is an uphill battle but keep fighting the good fight for your child. They truly need you on their team and they are blessed to have you in their lives.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9
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Thank you for this article. I have been here so many times. It’s an exhausting, heartbreaking , lonely and cold place to be. It feels hopeless at times. But God is working and we have also seen so many miracles inside of the pain.