This is what I’d want others to know about our son, Chris:
He’s more than his mental illness. So much more.
He experienced bullying throughout his school years. Often, peers ignored him. Teachers punished him. Yet, he’s not bitter. He once said, “I’ve lived a good life.”
I needed to know, “How can you say that, Chris after all you went through?”
“I’m more compassionate because of it.”
I benefit personally from that compassion…he understands the cognition problems I experience with my MS.
He’s got musical talent and a desire to use it as part of his church’s worship team.
He’s goal oriented…constantly creating projects for himself (like learning new languages), and has plans for his future.
He’s determined to stay in shape by working out regularly at the gym.
He thinks of the best gifts to give others.
Whenever I ask, he’ll move heavy things for me or help me with computer problems.
In spite of everything, he’s still got a sense of humor.
What would you want others to know about your child who has mental illness? Or what would you want others to know about your journey as a mom of child with mental illness?4 Comments
I found your blog at RM yesterday. I subscribed as I too have a son who has many mental health issues. Unlike your Chris, he has not done well. Oh, how I wish I could write about his life in uplifting phrases , but he is not there yet. I say yet as I still have hope but it is increasingly difficult to sustain that hope. He is in a bad place right now and by Easter Monday should know the outcome of this dire situation.
If I was not a believer, I old never have been able to endure what we have gone through as parents. My husband has washed his hands of him until he becomes sober and healthy. He is self protecting—-I understand this to a point, but a mothers heart cannot ever stop the communication and support. I have to forgive my husband for his actions but it is very very difficult.
I have poured out just a little bit of my heart to you and bared my soul. There is so much more to my story,of course, but this is where we are now. My heart is breaking this Easter season but I know that God is in control and that I have to rely on Him for my strength and peace in the coming days and for what my future holds, as He indeed holds my future as I struggle to keep my mind on Him and know that He will never leave me or forsake me. I cling to His promises.
Oh Patty, how my heart goes out to you. Your story reminds me of an Easter many years ago when Chris admitted himself into a psychiatric unit (while away at college). For days leading up to Easter, Chris had been unraveling. His calls home got more frequent. His cries for help sounded more and more desperate. Amazingly, he contacted his psychiatrist who instructed Chris to get to the hospital.
I’ll never forget the call which was the last in a series of numerous calls. It came during the middle of the night. Chris said, “Mom, I’m in trouble.” Then I heard a click. He hung up.
I had no idea what he meant by that statement. No idea what he did next. The Lord led me to try calling all the hospitals. My long distance search resulted in me finding him at a local hospital.
The next day, Easter, my husband and I drove four hours to visit him. Our presence only agitated him even more. We had to leave. Leaving him in such a tormented, vulnerable condition was like ripping my heart out.
Like you, I can’t imagine how I’d get through times like that without the Lord. Yes, it helps to remember God’s still in control. He’s still on the throne. He still cares for us even when it seems impossible to find any evidence of it. By faith we keep our eyes on Him. What a struggle at times!
Thank you for sharing part of your story with me and those who will read it. Let me know if you have any ideas for topics for future devotions I’ll write.
We’ll keep you in prayer.
I found your blog while googling my own name. You mention my name and blog on your February 2016 Reaching Out blog. My blog is called Life with Bob at HealthyPlace.com. It is about raising a child with mental illness.
My son’s name is Jack. He is 19 years old and an amazing young man. What I’d like people to know about him include:
He is the most compassionate young man I have ever known. Because of him, I have become more compassionate.
He is bright and curious. We have stimulating conversations and debates about current events, morals and ethics. With his sharp mind and big heart, he challenges me to think more critically. I have become more open minded.
He is passionate. One can say this is a product of his bipolar disorder. His moods can swing to intense levels quickly. However, I would argue Jack’s passion is typical for his generation. He wants to help others. He wants to make the world a better place. He wants to be the one who makes a difference.
He is in tune with his emotions. Again, he lives with a mood disorder. BUT he is not his illness. Though I’d like to take credit for Jack’s uncanny ability to listen and empathize with others. I cannot. Maybe the years of therapy have helped. What I know for sure is Jack is able to be honest, open and real with his feelings and emotions like no other 19 year old I know. Heck, most adults can’t express their feelings and emotions much less cope with them like Jack can. He truly has a gift.
Finally, he is a sports enthusiast. He played most sports when he was young, favoring basketball. Now he can watch any sport on any given day and give a brilliant level headed, yet passionate analysis of the game and each player and coach (though he doesn’t hide his bias for his favorites).
This is a great page. I look forward to following.
Hi there. I’m grateful you found my blog, and could see how impressed I am with your ministry. I love what you wrote about Jack. He sounds like an amazing young man. Your words paint the picture of a victorious life in spite of having bipolar disorder (and yes, he’s not his illness).
It’s wonderful that you acknowledge his generation as being passionate.
“Because of him, I have become more compassionate.”: That’s such a powerful statement…It gives us a peek into why God allows our kids to have mental illness. What God allows, He uses. His ways surely aren’t like our ways, but they’re always perfect. Maybe not easy, but we can cast our burdens on Him.
Your message is so full of great gems:therapy helps, we can’t take credit (nor should we pile blame on ourselves, I might add), bipolar people can be passionate…
Thanks again for sharing your story about Jack. He’s living a full life. And I can tell you’re an amazing mom.
By the way, you probably noticed that I haven’t posted messages lately. I’ve been asked by my university to write several units for an online special ed. course (and then do the video taping). Between that planning, my MS, and being a wife and mom, I’ve had to take a break from my blog (temporarily). But you shouldn’t lack for past messages I’ve posted. I pray God will lead you to the ones that will bless you the most.
In His grip,