Archive for April, 2016

Always learning. Never quitting.

April 24, 2016

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This journey of parenting a child with illnesses and needs isn’t a new one for us, yet it’s always changing.
There’s no light switch or magic pill that makes it all better overnight. If you think there is you’re sadly mistaken. As parents we have a commitment to our children, and society, to be there, not just for the easy, fun times. But the hard, heartbreaking ones as well.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned

1. It takes time.
Lots and lots of time. That means you will miss out on social gatherings, volunteer commitments, date nights and everything in between. It means being present and listening to your child or hoping in the car to drive hours for appointments after a long crappy day at work, where a long soak in the tub is all you want.  Suck it up.
You have a window of time that is crucial to the wellbeing of your child. Choose them first. We as parents don’t always come first.

2. Medication is not stupid.
Nor is it a quick fix. Often it causes plenty of its own troubles for our children. But sometimes you have to stand your ground with all the well meaning alternative method selling friends and do what you need to do for to save your child. I’m not saying other solutions may not work, but sometimes it’s not quite that easy. For example my dude is on a 6 medication cocktail that without he’d no doubt be dead. You will face scrutiny and feel ashamed, don’t. I’m well aware that I don’t know the long term affects medication will have, without it we do know we won’t have a long term.

3. Find the right people.
By people I mean doctors and therapists. Please, please don’t just see a gp for your child’s mental health needs. Any decent gp will refer you anyways.  See the specialists, who have spent their lifetime learning about children’s brains, disorders and illnesses. Brains are the most complex organ in our bodies, a growing one more so.

4. Therapy.
One word. Simple.  If your child or teen is battling mental illness, I highly suggest therapy.  Our boys illnesses are chronic, we’re at a point where he doesn’t need therapy twice a week, he still goes  (albeit not as often) ,he did for many many years.  Having a team is vital. Find a good fit for your child, and go. I’m a firm believer that if your child needs medication to be stable, they also need therapy, until deemed otherwise. I can not stress enough the importance of a good therapist as a part of the team. The skills and support they give not only your child but you are measure less.

5. It’s not their fault.
They are sick to make your life miserable and difficult. They are not sick because it’s cool or fun. They are sick. Their behaviour will likely confuse and frustrate you. Imagine being inside their head. I know I’d want to crawl out pretty quickly. Mental illness is not fun, if your child is truly struggling I guarantee they’d like to be able to choose other ways to have fun or get attention. They’d also like nothing more than to have it stop. But since it might not, they’d probably appreciate not being blamed, made fun of or judged. I’d be mortified if a child with cancer or diabetes was blamed for their heartbreaking illness. I’m equally so when people are blamed for their mental illness.  The brain is an organ in the body, just like any other part of the body, it can be attacked by illnesses, and yes kill you. It’s real and it’s scary. Treat an illness of the brain as you would treat any other chronic, severe or debilitating illness.