May is Mental Illness Awareness month.
Even as the 29 year old daughter of a mentally ill mother, I am STILL learning.
Just today I had to come to terms with what REAL depression looks like. It’s NOT actually someone choosing to wallow or to just wanting attention.
Depression is not a choice. Just because something would snap me out of a bad mood, doesn’t mean it will make someone like my mom feel better.
Having a chemical imbalance is very different from being in a bad mood.
We have to continue to encourage and support even when it feels like nothing we say or do makes any difference. It can be EXTREMELY frustrating and very sad but we must continue to love instead of completely walking away.
I’m so excited that people are beginning to talk more about their struggles with being depressed and bipolar. It not only means an increase in awareness and a removal of stigma, it also means that the families and children of people struggling with mental illness can find understanding and there will be more information available for us so we can learn how to better cope.
Growing up, bipolar was so deeply stigmatized leaving me (an only child of a single parent) feeling lost. No one ever taught me how to deal with what every day life would look like for me and my mom.
My deep hope is that the future will bring SO MUCH understanding and SO MANY tools.
This is my current struggle and realization. I am sure other children of mentally ill parents will understand what it’s like to still be learning how to see mental health as something different from a quick fix even after years of dealing with it…. I still try to just “fix” it and instead I now know I need to learn how to just sit with it and be more understanding and encouraging.
Some great links about Mental Health: