The wheels on that bus go round and round, setting my kid apart as “other” in a way we never wanted. We always felt (hoped) that the resources available in the mainstream school programs combined with the resources we access outside of school would be enough. And they were, until they weren’t.
Tomorrow is the last day of the 2021-2022 school year. The kids will say peace out to 9th and 10th grades by lunchtime, and by dinnertime the eldest will also be officially discharged from the outpatient mental heath program that has been that child’s only extracurricular activity since March. To say the least, June 16, 2022 is going to be a bit of a day.
Healing is not linear. Every option available to the kid and to us as parents right now is a rotten option. Nothing makes sense and nothing is clear – actually nothing make sense and the only thing that is clear is our love for this child.
April 5, 2022, 6 years deep into treatment for depression and an anxiety disorder, and just one month into a partial hospitalization program to treat a crisis point in their mental health; my eldest child was officially “stepped down” from the full day program to the afternoon program.
So here’s the thing….if you ask me how I am right now, I will probably answer honestly that I am perpetually exhausted, frustrated by school and insurance systems that make it nearly impossible to get a teenager critical mental health treatment, frightened for my struggling child, worried that my other child is uncomfortable in our home, disheartened by the limited amount of time and energy my husband and I have for each other, and resentful of the fact that our lives are ordered around the schedule of the program. But I’ll also tell you how profoundly thankful I am for the ability to get our child help and how hopeful I remain for brighter days.
On this day 15 years ago there was so much I did not know. I certainly didn’t imagine that our every day would include my child living (thriving) with mental illness. And that means that somewhere out there this evening are other mothers, in other hospitals, waiting for their own baby to join the world – and evidence shows that approximately 20% of those unborn children will likely have a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives.
My son is living with anxiety and depression, but the entire family lives with the fallout caused by his anxiety and depression.
Sometimes there can be an odd sort of symmetry to life. Something happens in one part of life and then is unexpectedly mirrored back to you in a different part…