I have to say being a parent with mental illness is extremely hard for me. I am trying to keep myself sane while protecting the mental status of my three children, not considering that two of those children are high-functioning autistic with mental health. Throw those monkey wrenches in the mix, and things get harder to handle. Then factor in the fact that I am raising them independently with no support system physically near me to help.
All those factors together in one household are a recipe for disaster. A disaster that can keep a parent down. How can I take care of my mental health when I need it if I have no one to be here for my children? The answer is I do my best with what I have. If I feel that going to the hospital and taking time to get myself together is an option, I should take it, but in reality, it isn’t an option I can actually handle.
It would leave my children lost, and granted, yes, my oldest just turned twenty this month, but my two oldest are the ones with the conditions. Even though I know if, in an emergency, my oldest could handle watching her siblings while I took care of myself. I wouldn’t put her in those shoes knowing the stress and worry over me being okay will trigger her suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Beba will blame herself for me being in the hospital even though she knows it has nothing to do with her or her siblings. This knowledge will bring her no comfort.
As a mother, how can I cause my children harm when my job is to protect them? My response is that I can’t, and I won’t. I just have to keep pushing and finding other ways to get the help I need without being in a hospital and worrying about my children. Much less do I want my children to have to stress or worry about me.
As a Life Coach for Parents, I am telling myself how I can pour into my children if I am in no place or have no fuel to pour into them. I need to be in a good position all across the board. How will I parent my children effectively if I am not centered? How will I raise productive members of society in their own unique way?
I am always stuck with the dilemma of how do I provide my self-care or self-love if what I need is hard for me to get. I know I must come first so that I can do it for my children, but my children ending up in someone’s system because I broke down and needed help is not a route I ever plan to go down. I will make it work like I always do while listening to myself and my body. I will be the one to pour into myself so that I have the fuel I need for myself and those that I help.
My life may not be perfect, but it is mine, and I love my children to death; they are the reason I am here today. I will do what it takes to continue this journey. There is a lesson for others and myself to learn from in my story. I don’t know how that may look for you reading this now, but however it shows up, don’t let my pain be in vain learn from my life to get yours on the right track to being a healthy, positive one.