Parenting the Mental Health Generation

Real Talk: Essays from Real Life, "The Work of Worrying Less"

May 09, 2022 CATCH, Community Action Together for Children's Health Season 1 Episode 0
Parenting the Mental Health Generation
Real Talk: Essays from Real Life, "The Work of Worrying Less"
Show Notes Transcript

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.

So put in your earbuds and listen to Real Talk: Essays from Real Life

You can read this In Real Life Journal post  here.

If you’d like to write an In Real Life, email info@catchiscommunity.org.

music provided by jjamesjrums/ Pond5 

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.

© CATCH 2022

I am a worrier. I worry most about my kids. I always have. 

But, 5 years ago, when my daughter was diagnosed with mental illness at 15, worrying about her well-being literally became part of my every minute. And, it occurred to me recently, the worry will be there, constantly, for the rest of my life. The worry burden is exhausting and it often gets in the way of moving through my days freely and with a clear head. It sometimes paralyzes me, and I close out the world, hunker down at home, and agonize, cry, and pace until the acute feelings pass, and I can move on. 

I want more than anything for my daughter to know confidence, connection, and joy. The anxiety and depression she battles put those things at a far reach - she will have to continue a lot of hard work each day in order to clear the path to true happiness and fulfillment. I worry that the journey is too hard and long for her. I worry every time she is sad, lonely, angry, or desperate that she’ll give up, overwhelmed. Mostly, I just ache for her to feel as loved and as capable as she is. The voices in her 20-year-old head, though, tell her otherwise, and she must fight to quiet them. 

Quarantine has meant that my daughter and I have been sharing the same living space for a majority of the last year. It hasn’t always been easy, but the benefits are plenty. She has shown me her super powers. She has proven to me her strength and determination. My daughter is healing. She is working hard at putting to work the skills she has learned in treatment to combat her own brain’s challenges. She has dark moments and days that are very difficult to navigate. But, she does. Time and time again, she does. I will remember those victories and that strength when she leaves and returns to college next month. 

Maybe, I will worry a little less.

I, too, have learned some things working with my therapist. Worrying about stuff over which I have no control only ruins today. My daughter’s journey is hers alone and, while I play a big supporting role, I am not the lead actor and cannot guarantee the end of the script no matter how much I want to. A bad day or a bad week does not mean that my daughter is losing her fight with mental illness. It means only exactly what it is. 

Remembering these lessons, maybe I will worry a little less. 

I will never completely enjoy the feeling of a worry-free “empty nest.” It’s difficult watching my friends let go and fully embrace the freedom of having adult children. My realization that the worry burden is here to stay is heavy and it can cloud my days. However, my daughter deserves that I worry about her less. My daughter deserves a chance to thrive. She deserves a world in which I truly believe in her abilities to overcome her mental health challenges and live each day fully and resiliently. 

I will work to worry less… for her. But, worrying less will be a gift for both of us.

#endthestigma #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthcrisis