This is my fifth time of starting this post fifth time in about as many days. The reason being that I have been undecided whether or not to post it, I first wanted to post it after reading another blog about a young girl self harming. I instantly went into ‘me mode’ and offered my advice, after all I do have quite a bit of experience with such things not to mention the emotional wellbeing work I do. I must admit I stopped replying to the blog post for fear people would think I was just ‘plugging my business’ which is a huge hang up I have anyway.
It got me thinking about what was happening at home, which I may have touched on before but I have not really gone into much detail as I have been struggling with the facts. And it all boils down to the stigma around mental health, ironically one of the core reasons why I started this blog. This mixed with other things highlights in the blogging community such as why people post what they do, why they started their blog, how you decide the amount of personal information about loved ones etc you put in there and how you deal when you get negative comments. All things considered a mine field of things to think about. Do I post or do I not?
Yes was the answer and I am preparing for any ‘negative’ comments. Bring on the trolls I guess.
So here it goes.
I am a mum who is a bit of a quirky nut job. The light hearted way to say that to date I have been diagnosed with seven different mental illnesses, I am thinking there isn’t just one that covers them all. In the past I have of course been told that I should not be a mum that people like me do not deserve to have kids etc but as you may know I have two boys. Both of their fathers also have mental health issues, one diagnosed the other not. Oh no another reason why I have been told I shouldn’t have children.. Two kids by two different fathers and I am not with either of them now, I was pregnant at sixteen and wait for it … I live on a council estate!! There aren’t many things that I have not either seen or done and I was more than a troubled child. I am very much a product of my upbringing which isn’t my fault yet people such as me are left with the stigma of being mentally ill.
Because of this both of my boys have mental health issues too. It is what happens when biology meets upbringing. No I am not going to go into detail of the things they have seen or been through, it doesn’t help anyone to know exact details, but they have both had their fare share of life experience. For years I was in denial about their mental state, how they dealt with things and pushed all of the blame onto myself .. Again it doesn’t help when your own issues. For years I pushed the blame onto myself making my own issues worse, this I realised wasn’t helping, no point in pushing blame and so I accepted the facts so I could move on and start to deal with things in the most effective way. The issues I found while seeking out non medicated help was long, hard and you really had to fight your corner that was for adult mental health, it was harder for children so I thought best to do the work, training etc myself so I could help my boys should they need it.
Well they need it now, With everything that is going on at school my youngest is losing self esteem, head banging, punching himself, calling himself stupid, fretting over his future as apparently if he “carries on like this he will not pass school or get a job” will turn into one of those people who hoard everything and the nail on the head came when he decided that he would be better off dead. His exact words as ‘everything is pointless’. He has been such an emotional mess the past couple of weeks he has essentially giving in trying to turn things around at school, which is such a shame as he has been doing so well. Now I have to try and get school to listen, yes he does have behaviour issues and there are hecks of a lot of variables that go into it. You have biology, the fact he is a young carer, going through puberty, senior school the list could go on but he has gone back to thumb sucking, rocking for comfort and tearing up or violently reacting to the slightest thing.
My eldest is a very angry young man, mainly at me as when he with his friends he tends to put on a ‘happy mask’ but this is starting to crack, his friends have started to notice changes in him too, he has stopped talking to me about the things that are going on in his head, part of it I believe is because he doesn’t want to upset or worry me part of it I think is fear, fear that comes from the knowledge about genetics and mental health. All understandable but he is turning to other things to keep his mind of it, which terrifies me. No matter what we have gone through it has always been me and him the loss of our connection I have been told is normal, after all he is classed as an adult now, but it is breaking my heart seeing him like this, I can see so many ‘warning signs’ and any mum will tell you “you just know when something is wrong”
I get this sense with both of my boys, it is in their eyes.
I have been quiet as of late as I have been on research mode, calling outside agencies and getting informed advice from them so I know that I am dealing with facts rather than just my fears. I have to be done with the blaming in order to deal with it now while they are young, if I can teach them the skills needed to cope with situations, ways that they can change the way they think then perhaps they are going to have a much better start in life than have to wait for the system to pick it up by which time they could be in the mid 20’s. So essentially both of my boys are now going through psychotherapy.
I still feel as though I have broken my boys as a mother I am bound to think that, it is my job to protect them from harm, my skills do not cover genetic control though so I have no choice but to accept the situation we are in. Of course I have the helpful advice all of us nut jobs get, the “just don’t worry about it” “cheer up” “try and be happy about it” people blame me saying it is all in my head because of my issues. My reply to that is “No, no it isn’t. In fact because I have my own issues I can actually spot the worry signs a lot sooner than any so called normal person” Not to mention that no one talks about mental illness half as much as they should. There are people like me all over the world, who are parents who do a fucking dam good job, who have to fight to be accepted in a world that doesn’t understand or accept people who think different, who act different, who have different realities to what the ‘norm’ expects from us. During therapy we are told to let go of judgments, which when you are being constantly judged is really hard, being told you are being judgmental is itself judgmental it is tricky thing to grasp. We are told to accept and let go when the world still has yet to accept us. More and more children are being diagnosed, a lot of those are put on medication as it is an easy fix ( sometimes it is what is needed) but the problem with the medicated generations is that they are made to be ‘normal’ society doesn’t then have to deal with them, they are seen as better, no one has to know about the internal struggle another person goes through and so another generation of ignorance is born, with no fault of their own. How are people going to understand mental health if it is never talked about, and more importantly, which is what I am really worried about, is if we do not teach our children the skills needed for their emotional wellbeing then with the added pressures being put on them how in the world are they going to cope. There should not even be statistics for child suicide but there is.
I cannot find much data from the UK as I am not exactly going to spend the rest of the day reading about this. However according to some US statists, Suicide rates have now DOUBLED for children of 5-14 years old in the past generation and has been the third leading cause of death for well over a generation….
I find the thought of any child being that stressed out that they get to a point where the end their own lives, as a mum losing my kids is the worst thing I could ever think about, yes it is worst case scenario.
The facts for child mental health diagnosis is increasing, which in one breath can’t be a bad thing but we need acceptance and not just sticking them on meds, people need to learn how to support people with mental health issues, to start talking about it more and to realise that even if you have a mental illness it doesn’t mean you are less of a human being, we cannot simply choose to cheer up, or chose to get better, we have no choice but to live with it and with proper education and help we can cope on a daily basis, and if more people accepted mental illness then perhaps a lot more of us would feel as though we are worth something as a human being, that we deserve to have the happiest life we can, in turn giving us the strength to stand with our heads held up high to be proud of who we are.