The Face of Mental Illness

19 Jul

Nami PicThe Face of Mental Illness

It’s a face I never thought I would know, intimately…but it stares back at me, often. I am the mother of a child struggling with mental illness. Being in the trenches, watching my child battle demons that I do not understand, I often feel overwhelmed, isolated and afraid. Where do mommies get together to talk about these things? I know the stigma is there, unlike having to explain your child has severe food allergies or is diabetic. I look at other children riding their bikes, playing at the park, just being kids and I feel a sense of sadness, mourning a life and experiences that have been missing for my own child, having spent a few summers in mental facilities. I often wonder if this is what her youth will be like, in and out of these places with doctors trying to pull her out of the dark back into the light. She used to smile and laugh, so full of wit and charisma, now just a flicker of who she used to be…before…

The face of mental illness can be cold at times, a loving child who transforms into a vicious stranger and back again. You can’t help but ask what you did wrong, what you could have done more of, less of…and at some point, you release yourself from the blame of it all, knowing there was nothing to predict, prevent or encourage the illness inside the mind of your child. Wrought with sorrow, tears, anger, questions, despair, I’m learning to take this day by day…hoping to change the face of mental illness. Some days are harder than others, but for today, there is hope.





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