Mother and Son (World Suicide Prevention Day)
Coming up to mental health, young people and suicide awareness month. I decided to write an article about my own experience as a mother overcoming mental health issues and my son who has been suffering on and off with mental health issues for most of his life. I am very aware of what it’s like to have a child go through the system to access basic support for young people and worrying about suicide and the possible long term effects of a young person with these issues. It’s been really hard to try to balance how much energy I can give to myself and also to my son who is my world. It’s really hard to decide it’s my time for working on me, when he may need me as well. I have been lucky in that his issues have been episodes with big gaps that have been manageable, compared to my own which are always there. I’m really lucky that I have been able to use my own experiences to know where to go for help when it’s needed. I’m really lucky that my son inspires me to be strong for him and yet knows when daily life is just too much to deal with sometimes. Of course we have our rocky moments, but I know it will pass. That’s what I try to teach him, this too shall pass. Hang on to the good stuff, move on from the bad stuff and do something that makes you happy every day.
My message for parents like me is, be aware that your child is a sponge and that they may be playing down or unaware of their own mental health issues while trying to help you be well. Be aware that your child may be just as susceptible to mental health issues as you are. Be aware that boys more often than girls may have self harm or suicidal thoughts. Be aware that there’s help out there that you can access through your g p, self referral and other agencies.
We are lucky to have each other and are stronger because of our experiences. But, would I rather my son didn’t go through these issues? Of course I would! Do I blame myself? Of course I do! But it is what it is. You learn to live your life your way, one day at a time, and make the best of it.
One day, my son will look back on this time and hopefully be living the happy life he deserves, simply for being my rock through the hardest times of our lives together. I don’t know where I would be without him, and I hope he thinks the same of me, and is thankful we have each other.
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