Mind over matter – implies that you have the facility / ability to take control of a situation and craft it, hopefully, to your benefit. But what happens if you don’t have the facility / ability to do just that? What happens if the brain doesn’t work as it should? In this case, is your worth as a human being less valuable than, say, someone with congenital heart disease or with diabetes? Why is the brain, a major organ, not given the same attention, respect and importance as the heart, the liver, etc.
We accept and respect the dignity of people with severe head trauma, paralysis or debilitating migraines but we quickly shun, ostracize and ridicule those with bipolarism, moodiness, schizophrenia, depression, etc.
It is time to change this way of thinking permanently. First of all, we need to stop feeling ashamed of or shaming mental health. We need to stop calling people, who suffer from these real disorders, “crazy”. They are never ever crazy. Their impairment is real.
Then we need to be honest and brave and admit that mental health issues exist in our lives and in our homes – perhaps even within ourselves. That your child or family member suffers from a disorder doesn’t make you a bad parent or family member. Yes, it sucks that this is the hand you’ve been dealt. But be kind to yourself and brave enough to tell yourself that it’s OK. Because it is perfectly OK to be a parent of a child with mental health issues. It does not make you unfortunate, pitiful, alone or guilty.
As the caregivers, we deserve understanding, support and compassion along this journey because it is tremendously difficult navigating and recovering from the often unpredictable and traumatic episodes of mental health.
All psychological and neurological conditions deserve the same attention, the same level of care, the same respect as conditions involving other parts of our bodies. And the people who suffer from these conditions, including their families and caregivers, deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and care.
Hang in there. It’s OK. We’re in this together. Always remember, You’re Not A Bad Parent.