Do you ever wonder if you’re the only one struggling with bumps and pitfalls on a daily basis? Listen to Real Talk: Essays from Real Life, straight from the CATCH Journal at catchiscommunity.org.
We’re recording those heartfelt and honest stories from parents and others for those who’d rather listen than read. When you hear people share their most vulnerable moments, you’ll know you are not alone.
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CATCH, Community Action Together for Children's Health, is a 501(c)3 that provides support and education for families around mental health topics. Original content and materials from CATCH and its collaborators are for informational purposes only. They are provided as a general resource and are not specific to any person or circumstance.
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“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow.” - Mary Anne Rademacher
That has been my call to arms for the past several years as my now senior has been on a journey through his mental health. I sit here on the last morning of his last high school finals and grieve what wasn’t and might not be. It has been a tough week.
He is stuck in the same first gear he was stuck in finals week of freshman year, and every finals week since, with work needing to be completed but his depression and anxiety controlling his ability to do the work.
I grieve, because there are no more finals weeks left to figure it out. This is it. Is this the truth I’ve questioned for a while? Is he not ready to launch, yet? I grieve because we’re missing yet another milestone; college application and acceptance.
I’ve learned when parenting a child struggling with their mental health that it’s about the ‘not yet’ or ‘not right now.’ The living in the grey. But, it’s hard to live in the grey when it feels like everyone else is applying to colleges AND getting accepted into their first-choice school. Instead, he sits here trying to get that last paper, project or assignment just submitted, fighting the need for it to be perfect. Just done and turned in is the goal.
Years of therapy, his and mine, have ingrained in me the skills to equip me NOT to have ‘all or nothing,’ ‘catastrophizing’ or ‘fortune telling’ thinking. I know a grade on a paper or a class, a GPA, the number of AP, honors, dual credit classes taken, or not taken, do not define my son. In fact, I know the lessons he has learned taught by Mr. Depression and Ms. Anxiety that have torn him apart and rebuilt him into a resilient young man will actually get him farther in life than any AP or honors high school class ever will. I know he will find the right path for himself at the right time.
And, I grieve for normal, just once. I want my first born to achieve the milestone first, not my second born. So today, perhaps I will sit with the grief and try again tomorrow.
#mentalhealthmatters #endthestigma #mentalhealthcrisis