World Mental Health Day and Motherhood

Today is World Mental Health Day. There are many articles online, or on your television, which are intended to raise our awareness of mental illness.

I raised three kids while suffering from depression and anxiety. I accomplished it! They were great students, and are well adjusted. Our oldest struggles with depression and we are helping as much as he allows. He is also an extremely smart introvert who has struggled to relate with his peers his entire life. I found it hard as a person with a mental illness help another through mental illness—and that has created enormous Mom Guilt. On the upside, he knows he can turn to me because he knows exactly how difficult it is to maneuver through life with a stigmatized, misunderstood illness.

You know what isn’t fair, even if a person has health insurance which adequately covers mental health issues, how do they get time off work for therapy. The decision to tell your employer that you need such and such time off for therapy, can be daunting due to the stigma. When I was working, I didn’t receive help for just that reason.

A little motherhood background for some of you:

Our oldest son is 25. He finally graduated from college a year ago, and has lived with us since. It took us 7 months of encouragement for him to find a job. He has a good job in his field of study, and I think he can afford to live on his own. Of course, he has to give up some of his hoity toity food/beverage preferences.

Our second is our daughter. She left home (not as a run away) at 17. She graduated early from high school and returned to our home state to start her college studies. She graduated in record time – magna cum laude – and at the age of 23, is now in Montana earning a second degree through an accelerated registered nursing program. She has only returned home for vacations.

Our youngest is 20. Academia has never interested him much. He made it through high school, but is kind of floundering with college. He sees it as a waste of time since he doesn’t know what field of study interests him. He has a part-time job, and may have to go to full-time until he figures out what he wants to be when he grows up. We helped the other two through college, we will help him when he decides. We just don’t want to throw out our money if he isn’t going to his classes—which apparently, he isn’t. He lived on his own for his first year of college, but has returned home.

If I could, I would keep all my children at home—as their little human selves. You know, small, cute, and inquisitive. Frozen in time, no growth into manipulative, rebellious teens.

If you’re lucky, like we are, they will return home. Unfortunately, they will have transformed into large versions of their cute little selves, with bad habits.

Maybe I’m not mean enough. My husband and I have this good cop/bad cop thing going on. Yes, I’m the good cop. You know what? Good cops get taken advantage of.

Obviously, the days of spelling things we don’t want our kids to understand what we’re saying, has long past. It doesn’t matter—apparently, they aren’t listening anyway.

They don’t understand blatant passive-aggressive hints, such as, What is the exact day you are moving out? Can I help you find an apartment? I’ve looked online and found some apartments you can check out–they even allow pets. We have the truck and trailer ready as soon as you find your new home.

No, as teens they were excellent students learning how to tune us out. Guilt isn’t even working, and I’m a master at that skill. Tears aren’t appropriate, but even leaking one out while giving them the speech that mooching off of us won’t help them move on with their lives, isn’t working.

I hear that the boomerang effect is very common these days. It’s nice to know that I’m part of the norm.

Our daughter gets it….what is it with the boys?

Anyway, there are many forms of mental illness. Postpartum depression was the worst form for me. After we decided we weren’t going to have anymore kids, I went on anti-depressants. It wasn’t ideal, and my mood was mostly flat, but along with my husband, weย raised three well adjusted kids. Well – two, and I can only do so much for our oldest, which is the source of some of my current anxiety/depression. I can’t kiss his boo-boos away. However, as my therapist points out, he is succeeding in life in spite of my perceived weakness of parenting skills.

So…to any mother reading this, feeling as if they are ruining their kids, they need your love most. Get help, and love them to pieces.

 

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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19 Responses to World Mental Health Day and Motherhood

  1. Gallivanta says:

    My son came home for a short visit this week. He left ahead of schedule. He was bored! He seems to enjoy his independence now after years of living at home. Is this success? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. reocochran says:

    I have some of my memories being up to my neck with children, April! I babysat 5 while raising my three. It was a challenge, but I would not have it any other way. Motherhood would have been quite difficult, if I didn’t have the belief that what I put into it, would be what would come out of it. I think I wish I had someone helped my middle child, earlier than in his 15-16 year old self. He was like his Dad, who I had divorced while they were young, one who struggled with addictions. He did not finish high school, but flew through his GED class, so that he could say he graduated to his two precious children. He is an amazing Dadddy, to two stepkids, too. But scholastically and financially, he would not be considered a ‘success.’ My oldest is an artist, accomplished art college, but works as a Kroger warehouse worker. It pays quite well, so she inserts art into her children’s lives. Makes sure the two boys have books, lessons, join scouts and sports. I have high hopes they will be successful in a traditional way. I thought I had ‘it’ all figured out, by my third child, she was into everything, graduated with an amazing degree and great job, but the fact she has had JRA, now handles arthritis full force, she decided to give up her well-paying job to promote nutritional (natural) supplements and words as a server at a nice restaurant. I live in a 1 bedroom apt. so no one ‘boomerangs’ here, but I go there, eating dinners at each of the 3 children’s homes, hoping they will ‘figure life out!’ Smiles for all the struggles you went through, you did an excellent job, April you and your husband as a unified team!!

    • April says:

      Thanks Robin! I think that all mothers worry about how their raising their children. I’m so proud of mine and I’m hoping they find happiness and contentment with their futures. Our daughter has a degree in creative writing. I love reading what she writes, but she discovered nursing is her calling. The youngest has determination like me. I know that eventually, he will find his way. The oldest–he is stuck in a relationship that I would call toxic. As long as he stays with her, I believe it will keep dragging him down. He has already passed up opportunities which would have fulfilled part of his dreams. She doesn’t work, sleeps all day, cut off from her family–we support her–she has latched onto our oldest son, and no matter what he does, if he hurts her, he will always feel bad. BUT, I need to worry about what I want to be when I grow up. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. April I always appreciate your openness and honest portrayal. I learn from you. And thank you for sharing and enlightening.

    • April says:

      Thank you Colleen. I realize that I repeat and sometimes I think it may be too monotonous for some–I just believe that if we keep talking about it, maybe someone will realize that all of us aren’t scary people. We just have to work around an illness just as others with physical illnesses.

      • I agree. Talk. And talk some more. There’s no way to learn and help if we don’t talk, discover and find answers. Illnesses do not find cures by themselves.

        • April says:

          It’s true, and I hope someday we can understand the mind and why some of us struggle with an illness that can’t be understood except by those who know what feels like. What has helped me, through all my hopes is that I have come to accept that I may never be cured, but I can manage it and live as best I can.

          • I’m glad you are talking though. It does make a difference. We never know when something we say may make a difference in someone else’s understanding of something.

            • April says:

              Talking is about the only way to help others understand what it’s like. I go through extended periods of depression, but like most people I have a couple of bad days and then move along. It’s when the stinkin’ depression won’t lift, no matter what I try. I have to learn to take care of myself like others do with physical illnesses.

  4. mewhoami says:

    No parent is perfect, but I have no doubt that you are a wonderful mother to those children. My brother went to live with my mom also, at the age of 40’something. It’s odd that the boys seem to do that more often than the girls do. Guys just like having momma to take care of them I guess. Maybe a wife is needed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. suzjones says:

    Oh babe. Seeing as how I am several days behind in my reading, I have only just got to this BUT my post yesterday on the limitations of motherhood is almost the same as yours. And my son is 25 as well. What are we going to do with them?

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