How hard can this be? I bought, rented, named a domain over a year ago, it was intended to document positive events that happened whilst my daughter recovered from her mental health issues.
I bought it with the intention of looking back over the previous, then two and a half years of mental health issues and the grim realities of having a child that has anxiety, psychotic depression, self-harms and wants to kill themselves but from a happier place.
A place of positivity where things improved, where life moved on, where I could share the experience and possibly provide some optimism to someone else who was experiencing something similar and provide a glimmer that for some people, sometimes it gets back to normality. That that dreams and expectations you had for your child return, to the path that you had hoped and really if you’re honest had subconsciously planned it would all work out and the experience would be useful, reflective, learning…… but it would be over.
Yeah, that’s what I was thinking when I set the blog up.
It didn’t quite work out like that.
Mental illness does not necessarily follow the you get sick, you have treatment, you recover trajectory. For some people it does and many young people will experience mental health issues and will receive input of varying levels and will recover. Some will not and it will morph from something (in hindsight) almost comforting called anxiety and depression that feels that they will have an outcome to something that feels uncontrollable and deeply frightening and is likely to be lifelong.
Lifelong where there is no cure, no easy solution but an ongoing round of therapies and groups to help manage the conditions. This is my world now.
We are at a point where the diagnosis is, emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder, complex post-traumatic stress disorder with a side order of Bulimia. All these things can kill my kid. The medication that she takes in order to stabilise her mood also has dangerous side effects but if she does not take it she is at greater risk of killing herself.
This is not a great set up and scares me witless in the small dark hours of the night, or when I am driving to work, or loading the washing machine, or in the shower, well pretty much anywhere really. The biggest fear is there is no conclusion and no ending when someone has a condition, particularly one with such a high level of impact on their current life and on their future choices. A condition, where the vagaries of political, health and social policy can have a massive impact on their life chances. This keeps me up at night too, despite my best efforts to suppress it.
Obviously, I am writing from my perspective of a situation that is deeply important to me. It is not the same for everyone and my thoughts and feelings will not necessarily resonate with others but I still wanted to write about what I feel and still have the hope that it might help someone else because it is lonely. I am lonely. I am tired. I am scared. There seems to be precious little understanding of mental health issues for the person living with it in the wider world but absolutely bugger all if you are the parent.
So I have returned to my blog, now with an idea that there will be no happy ending in the conventional sense; of recovery and skipping into the sunset with all the loose ends tied up. But with a degree of reflection over the last now four years of living with a young person with mental health issues of the heavy end sort is massively frightening, confusing and will scare the life out of you in ways you cannot comprehend at the outset but it is doable. There are good times, things that make you laugh out loud and that there are no magic solutions, it is just putting one foot in front of the other and keeping on keeping on.