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.
My world crashed in back in 2017 when I found out my child was self harming. I had no idea – how did I not know? We muddled through GCSE’S somehow and then on to college. I thought we were doing OK. We weren’t. Mood went crashing down. We had a local group we had found where they could go and meet other teens struggling and there were adults to talk to. It was a godsend. Through there we discovered there had also been a use of ibuprofen – whole sheets of – to numb feelings. I was on suicide watch. They stayed downstairs as they weren’t sleeping and I would he up at 3 in the morning to check they were alive. During this time, they didn’t want people to know, so it was me, my partner and the head at my school. That was it. I was working, talking to family, trying to appear as if everything was OK. To this day, I don’t know how I did it. I was on the phone to camhs, desperate for help. Eventually we got a morning’s course which fundamentally told me to sort sleep pattern and diet. Well, yes, I know that, but how when they won’t engage. I pulled them out of college (who had been great). And then I found parenting mental health! I wasn’t alone. I had people I could talk to, ask questions, share my issues. It was amazing! With their support – and a very supportive doctor – self harm is in the past, we are now non binary and we are exploring the the potential of work.We are still no “there”, wherever that is. And I don’t think about the future toouch because I have no idea what that holds. To be honest, I am just grateful they have one. I have learnt to listen – not talk, not discuss, not fix, just listen. They feel heard, validated, loved and that’s what it needs. Whilst exploring our new normal together, I have chosen to give back to the amazing community that was there when I felt so drained, so tired and so alone. To anyone with who any of this resonates, come and join us – share your issues and feel less alone.
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