18 years ago, my oldest child became someone I couldn’t recognize. He went from being the ‘renaissance child’ to one who drank, ran away, cried, refused to stay at school and was arrested for ‘terroristic’ threats. He was 11 years old at the time and I tried everything to help. Doctors, therapists, spoiling endlessly and living only for him; while trying to raise two others. It took 8 years for him to finally reach out and ask for help. His story is still being written and his struggles are still painful to watch.
When his youngest sibling was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder at age 12 is when I began to learn that I cannot completely understand—I can only walk beside, advocate, pray, encourage, pray some more, remind daily how worthy she is to be here, how loved and how the world would never be better without her in it.
There are no words to describe the feelings of being completely unable to ‘help’. I now realize that I am only responsible for being there, being supportive and loving my children…forever. No matter the hurtful words that may be flung at me, the grinding grief of watching them fight, the overwhelming feeling that I somehow caused their pain (although I know I did not).
As a mother, we are supposed to be able to make it all better—-but realizing that I cannot make it better; I can only strive to not make it worse. Love, support and acceptance, advocating always for more help, more understanding from the community (even from our own family); those things I can do.
So, now, I walk beside them. There is always hope, always a place for love and I will always love them.
I will keep learning and my children know they are never alone.