I have received lots of interaction and comments this week from mums & loved ones in a similar situation to me. I find their journeys utterly heartbreaking, I think because I can relate to them so much, but also because our situation is certainly not unique….and that’s the point of this blog! Yes, I do find it cathartic to write stuff down, but I also have a desperate need to let other parents/carers/loved ones/friends know that they are not alone.
The problem remains that whilst self help books, research and specialist books etc can provide valuable information they do tend to fall into the cliche of “text book” cases and each child is different! These forms of support have certainly helped me understand Lizzie’s situation better but they can’t give me the answers I crave, they can’t tell me there is hope and they can’t remove the fear we live each and every day. For me, I found them all somewhat frustrating in the end: not because of the content but because I was searching for support, a sense of belonging and the need to know we were not so alone and so different to anybody else. So I’d put down my latest bit of research and realise that my daughter didn’t fit the criteria and that because she refused to engage in any of the techniques I’d learnt, that I was failing and that there was no hope.
Living with a suicidal or depressed child is incredibly tiring, emotionally and physically. It is also very time consuming. Whether it’s treatment appointments, hospital visits or just plain and simple talking, monitoring & “being there”, time seems to vanish. Personally, following my cancer treatment, I have decided not to return to work full time. This isn’t because I am not well enough, but because looking after Lizzie and running around for appointments and the fact that I can’t leave her on her own for long, has become a full time job in itself. Therefore, the last thing I have the time or energy for is seeking out groups that can support me or attend meetings run by mental health organisations. I’m not suggesting for one minute that they aren’t extremely valuable but I just don’t have the time!
So please keep your comments and stories coming: keep me updated on your progress and how you and your loved one are doing; however painful I find it to hear your turmoil, it’s so important to me, and to you, to know that we are not alone. And there are happy stories in there too: we all need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel and I promise to pass these stories on too! Stay strong x