Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Navigating My Daughter's Mental Illness: Fight Like Hell (Part 3)

What I have come to learn from my experiences is that resources are limited for adolescents. I was excited and nervous to bring my daughter home from the hospital. I had spent a lot of time doing research and trying to get a better understanding of what was really going on in her head. Honestly, I will never truly know. I obviously know what she tells me, but don't always know everything going on in the background. We are two years out from her initial hospitalization. Recovery from self-harm has been a long, hard road...
She was recently inpatient again. We had just changed her medications. Every anti-depressant carries a side-effect and a risk factor of increasing suicidal thoughts in teenagers. This medication certainly did. It was the first time she had self-harmed in a year and a half. But it was also the first time she openly admitted that she needed more help and that she would feel safer at the hospital. I was so proud of her for verbalizing that she needed help.

Since coming home for the second time, my daughter is currently off all medications. We have to travel 45 minutes to see her psychiatrist, and we just found another counselor. There aren’t many places to reach out for support within our community. She is doing very well off her meds. She is super active with her gym and she has amazing support.

My daughter wants nothing more than to live like a “normal” teenager. Some days I don’t know if that will ever be possible, but I sure try to make it happen for her. I try to raise awareness in our community. I have discovered that self-harm is on the rise amongst teens. Several other moms have reached out to me looking for resources and a listening ear. It is heartbreaking to hear their stories - primarily because I know exactly how they feel. I live that every day.

If you or someone you know struggles with self-harm, depression, or any other mental illness, please don’t give up. Keep fighting. Resources may be difficult to come by, but they are there. Every day is a fight to bring awareness and fight the stigma of mental illness. But the more we know, the more we can help those that need it. Every one of you is a fighter. A warrior. A badass. I will fight every day to keep my daughter alive. The days she pushes me away are the days she needs me the most.

I can’t stress enough - reach out. Don’t give up. If my daughter can fight this, so can you.

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