Thinking back to the first day I was told Daniel had a mental illness, everything was in slow motion. I remember hearing the words coming from the doctor and it was like his words were literally knocking the wind out of me. The idea of having a child with a mental illness was quite overwhelming and when it finally settled in it was a huge shock. What does a parent do? In my case, I read books. I read as many as I could to understand the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder but, those books didn't tell me how difficult it would be to raise a child with a diagnosis. It didn't tell me that my family would turn their backs on me, that loneliness would become my best friend, that my own son would turn against me and blame me for his "cursed life," nor did it tell me that everyone around me would look at me different because my son is "crazy." There are so many things I wasn't warned about. It wouldn't have changed my mind about loving and caring for my son but, it would have made a difference in how I would have dealt with my situation.
I am not a perfect parent and I will never be. I can strive to become one but, what would that prove or change? My son will still have a mental illness. I can't fix him and I can't erase all that we have gone through. I can use my experience to teach other parents in my shoes to help their child and I can teach my son to be his own voice and help others like him. I've learned a lot of things within the last few years but, the most important thing is that I need to learn how to love myself as much as I love my children. I'm still a work in progress.
As parents we must never forget that we are human. We can feel how we want, we can say what we need to say, and do what we need to do to make it through for our special children. Judgement from others comes from their lack of knowledge of what you already know. Instead of becoming upset, educate them and don't be afraid to smile while you do it.
By the way, did I mention that I am officially the NAMI- San Antonio Board President? Well I am and I am very happy to have made it this far with our NAMI affiliate.
Have an awesome weekend...
I'm a mother with an agenda to save her son from the grips of his mental illness and stop stigma so that those who suffer in silence can seek help without fearing the worse. Join me on this roller coaster ride..you're no longer alone.