May is Mental Health Month

OCD & the Brain Bully fight dirty!

Some days are just plain hard. Really hard.

Today was one of those days for me (and my son). It was a day that I just sat in my closet and cried. It wasn’t a loud, kicking & screaming kind of cry (although there are days/times for those). It was a deep-soulful-heartfelt-silent-tearful cry. The kind that you feel in the core of your being. The kind that makes you question your ability to “mother” well (even though you know it’s the one thing that you were born to do). The kind that makes you think to yourself “How am I going to be able to do this every day for the next 10 (or more) years.”

Today…OCD & the Brain Bully won.

The brain bully; 1 – mom; 0!

Today I couldn’t make it better. In spite of using my toolbox of strategies and tricks and humor and feel-good quotes. My love and support just simply came up short today. We were no match for Bob the Brain Bully.

I know there will be more days like this. I know I have to be ready for them. But it is so painful…so absolutely painful…and completely infuriating…and still shakes me to the core.

And so lonely!

Today, for you, I offer no solutions…no suggestions…no answers. It’s just a time that I want to say…

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Let yourself feel…give into the pain while you are in your closet (or wherever you are).

Embrace the feeling of overwhelming paralysis and fear.

Take it all in.

Allow yourself to be human.

Be vulnerable.

Be safe.

Once you are done cleansing your soul and your spirit has awakened, you’re ready for the next round. You are a  MOM-WARRIOR! Your son is fighting for his life. Your daughter draws from your strength. And so you just keep fighting.

Look out brain bully…the next round belongs to mom!

This was an entry from my personal journal. I  am choosing to be vulnerable here (maybe too much) because I want mental health to stay on the front of everyone’s mind.

May is Mental Health Week

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 25% of kids aged 13-18 have a diagnosable anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. This is 1 out of 4 children! Of the teens that are diagnosed, only 1/5 of them actually receive treatment. I didn’t want that to be my son’s story. I was lucky…he talked to me early and we were able to name it and now we work every day as a team to help him (and the family unit) cope with his anxiety.

As I talked to people openly about my son and the battles that we face  I realized I was not alone. But the biggest (and scariest) difference was the fact that nobody wanted to talk about it out loud. Why are neurological issues still taboo?

I am learning more every day about how to be my children’s biggest advocate! The road is not always easy. I spend many days in my closet privately thinking and crying, but we have to keep the dialogue going.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!

Let’s rid society of the negative stigma around mental health and find ways to support, encourage, and empower those with mental disorders and the families that love them.  How do we teach our children to feel comfortable talking about their diagnosis? How do we have the conversations with children who are curious and are afraid to ask? We should all engage in the much-needed dialogue.

Because I believe every social justice issue can be introduced through children’s literature, I have included a list of neurodiverse books that deal candidly with this social issue for children and young adult.

Young Adult Novels

Schizo by Nic Sheff

“After a schizophrenic breakdown, Miles thinks he’s getting better, when in reality his getting worse. Told in vivid detail, his story is fascinating and heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful.”

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

“A teen coming to terms with her brother’s bipolar disorder and with her own sexuality. As Suzette confronts her own past mistakes, she is forced to find a way to help her brother as his disorder spirals out of control. It also deals with racism and growing up and finding yourself.”

Turtles all the Way Down by John Green

“Aza is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. This is an intimate portrait of what it’s like to live with anxiety.”

A World Without You by Beth Revis

“17-year-old Bo suffers from delusions and is convinced that he can travel back in time to save his girlfriend after she disappears. His story is a heartrending, beautifully complex meditation on mental illness, loss, and life.”

Picture Books

Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD by Holly Niner

“Kevin can’t get to sleep at night until he does many things. He checks under his bed for a light he knows isn’t there, and then, a minute later, he checks again. Kevin wants to stop, but the worry thoughts keep coming.”

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry by Bebe Moore Campbell

“A little girl, Annie, copes with her mother’s mental illness, with the help of her grandmother and friends.”

The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression by Lloyd Jones

“Once upon a time there was a Princess. She had everything a little girl could ever want, and she was happy. That is, until the fog came…This picture book helps children suffering from depression.”

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook

“Everyone feels fear, worry, and apprehension from time to time, but when these feelings prevent a person from doing what he/she wants and/or needs to do, anxiety becomes a disability. This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety.”

How do you talk to your children about invisible disabilities, like mental health?

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