Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mental Health is Real: From a Mama's Perspective

What do you do when your child's therapist says she's at a loss?

I mean, we've seen this gal for over a year now, and she's done wonders for his anxiety. But lately, my son's inherent stubbornness has him go to these sessions and refuse to cooperate. He crosses his arms and looks at me with anger and mouths, "I want to go home."

Part of me thinks it's a good thing. He used to hate school and was fine with me picking him up early for these appointments. But now, he is not so okay when I pull him away from his happy social place in third grade.

But then there is the part of me that struggles with the underlying issue of why he so vehemently hates it. He's said it before, and he's struggled long with the worry.

"Am I weird?" He's asked time and again. "It's weird to go to a therapist."

How does a nine year old buy into the stigma of mental health? But it's there. It's very much a concern of my little boy who struggles with general anxiety and mild depression.

It's a terrifying thing to see a person you love struggle with chemical inbalance and whither away to a desperate mess. I know how he's felt because I've dealt with it on and off. And so has my husband. And so have many members of our extended family.

I read way too many local stories of teen suicide, too many national stories of individuals acting out because of uncared for mental health.

Mental health is real. And we should think about it as much as we think about our cholesterol, blood pressure, waistline.

I pray that it becomes more accepted, so those who need help feel they can receive it without hiding it.

So, what can I do for my son, right now, since he's putting up a fight? The therapist said to see how it goes, and if he's doing good, then we can push back his appointment. But if he has breakdowns, then we need to continue.

Gotta pray for peace, for him. It hurts to see him struggle. Gotta love him, gotta remember the many golden pieces of advice from his counselor, and gotta remember that mental health is real. And I have to prepare him for his next session. Regardless of his resistance. If he needs it, then there really is no excuse.

Let's stop the stigma, and give our children, our teens, and our fellow adults a chance toward peace without shame or ignorance.

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