I have received an unprecedented amount of emails and messages this week. Many of them have been offering support, which is amazing and every single one boosts me no end. Many of them however, have been heartbreaking accounts from parents whose children are in a similar place to Lizzie, or show alarming similarities to some earlier part of her journey.
I find these messages incredibly hard to read: I don’t struggle with them for any other reason than I feel the pain of the sender. You see, I have always said that we are not unique and the sad reality is that kids all over the world are struggling like my daughter. Our story seems to have touched the hearts of readers in more than 27 countries: this surely proves that our journey is not governed by society, by race, by religion or social status? Teenage depression, mental illness, suicidal ideation does not discriminate.
My research tells me that there is still so little valid support for victims or their families and loved ones and that antidepressants are still being prescribed at an alarming rate. I have struggled to accept this and refuse to just sit back and wait to be another statistic, another heartbroken mother seeking justice for her child (all of whom I have total respect and love for). There must be a way to make a difference, to find a more valid path of recovery for our children and for us?
I urge everyone who contacts me to share my blog, not to raise my readership (I have yet to work out how more readers benefits me personally!), but because sharing it serves a simple purpose: I have a voice, I tell a story so familiar to so many; if nothing else, sharing my blog with your family, your friends, your network shows that you have sympathy towards a journey like mine. In most cases, this starts a conversation, allows others to admit to you that they “get it” or that are on a similar path. Trust me, more people than you realise suffer in silence for fear of being judged, because they have experienced discrimination before or because they are just scared. This builds a network of support. It also opens the door to tell others what you are going through, without fear of rejection.
I plan to take this blog to another level soon: I want to create a forum, a place of safety where you can share your stories, your fears and where we can all support each other. This will be my small way of making that difference, of providing valuable support and a place to vent.
In the meantime, please share this blog website and let my voice be your voice.
Stay strong x