As part of our 20K in April challenge, we’re sharing stories, with permission, from our community every day from 13th to 30th April. All are true accounts of the reality of a random group of parents in our community. Some are professionals, others full time carers. Some have been battling for years, others are new to this dance of accessing services, navigating school, coping with shame, guilt and judgment, and keeping their child alive while trying to work, look after their other children, have a relationship, have a life. All of them deserve, like their children, to be heard and helped.
I think it is vital that as a parent of child with mental illness that you remember that your child hasn’t chosen this life, mental illness is not a choice. Your child isn’t doing things on purpose to make you cross, they are genuinely overwhelmed with life right now and more than ever they need your love and support. Validate their struggles.
In Jess’s case she needed constant reassurance from me that I loved her and that I wasn’t going to give up on her. I know I’m one of the lucky mums as Jess’s mental illness made our bond stronger, something I didn’t think was possible as we have always been close. Throughout her journey, Jess has shared her deepest darkest thoughts with me, we have dressed her self harm wounds together..I never judged or let her see how hurt I was, she had her own pain to deal with, she didn’t need my pain too. She constantly feels that she has let me down, Jess has never let me down once, she makes me proud every single day, I am in awe of her strength
Yes it’s been hell, seeing your beautiful baby cutting herself to make the pain go away and hearing her say she no longer wants to live, but her strength and my support helped to get her through the darkest days.
Finding PMH was my saviour, finding other parents out there who were going through what I was going through and some much worse, helped me to feel less alone on this journey. There was no judgement only love and support. Within this group there is a wealth of lived experience from parents of children with mental illness, the parents of those who had come through the other side gave me hope for the future, so when hope was all I had, I held tight with both hands. When I was struggling with things instead of letting Jess see I was struggling, I would express my worries within the group. Jess needed me to be strong and for me to give her hope. Without reading other peoples stories I wouldn’t have the knowledge or tools that I have gained and without that I would not have been able to support Jess the way I did.
I owe my strength to PMH.
If you would like to donate to the 20K challenge, you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/suzanne-alderson
If you’d like to sign up and fundraise as part of the 20K Challenge in April for Parenting Mental Health, you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/PMH-Sphinx20KChallenge