MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT

MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT

As a baby, my first born could only sleep on my chest or her fathers or she would cry hysterically. I didn’t know it at the time, but by age three she had night terrors.  Elementary school time was spent seeing bloody corpses in various corners of her room and closet. Letters moved around on the chalkboard. Anxiety made her want to talk constantly and about random flighty thoughts and stories. Auditory disturbances made school difficult and bullying in middle school sent her into a spiral of self harm and suicide attempts.
During a parent teacher conference when I first started noticing things were off, the teacher’s response to me was: “ your daughter is really annoying.” I couldn’t believe my ears. She is so beautiful and smart, people/teachers, some of her own family members, do not believe she has any mental illness because she was so good at hiding it most of the time. Teachers, doctors couldn’t distinguish between a normal energetic 12 year old girl, or one with severe emotional distress. Even her own close family members believed she was making it up for attention. At 18, some still believe she is just a bad person.
After years of depression, anxiety, self harm and eventual drug and alcohol use, the school sent her to the building for the children with issues. It’s really just a dog pen for children that can’t be handled. We took her out and are finishing high school at home after she was spit on, hit and threats of her life from students.
Her body responds to medication different we have found. Her feet, hands and ears haven’t grown since we started meds in 5th grade. She still wears size 3 shoe. She peaked at 4ft 11 until last year. Once meds were discontinued, she is now over 5 ft 2.
She is struggling med free, trying to graduate high school after years of Inpatient hospitalization, outpatient stays a half dozen times, drugs, meds, bad acquaintances.
In all these years, the toll on our family has been devastating. Her brother, 15 months a part, began vomiting when she was peaking behaviorally up to 30 times a day. He missed a year of school. Her little sister has anxiety and depression. I don’t have time to go into the effects on my husband and I, and our relationship. I’m just lucky by the grace of God, we are keeping it together.
In all this time, all these years, all the hospitals, psychiatrists, therapists, no one has helped me, my husband or our other children. We will never recover. Maybe enough to get through the day. But our dream of a happy family are gone. Family vacations are a dream of the past. I wish there were more help for everyone involved. I look forward to a day mental health is equally important as physical health.
—Jane

January 29, 2018

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