Parenting, not quite what we expected at all.
A parent never signs up for the full experience that is lived through the day to day as a responsible adult, trying to handle every single situation that arises. Most of us as mothers, for the most part, attain our individual style of mothering, that is definitely shaped and cultivated by other mother figures in our lives; through watching and learning different behaviors that are presented to us, as we slowly shape into the type of mother we eventually become. As the title mentions, this is somehow going to be connected to the main idea of my post today, bare with me as I figure out the best way to merge the two. Ok, I think I have an idea. Let me take you back to my childhood for a moment and paint the picture of me in my old home where I lived with my mother again after just coming out of foster care for the third time. That is a story for another day.
I was always a loner and super shy, so naturally you would always find me by myself, that is if I was not in school and around other classmates. This particular day I felt attacked by life and old repressed memories, and just wanted to disappear. There were these thoughts in my head that I was not good enough and that I was just a mistake my mother tried to get rid of because I was never in her plans to be a part of her family. The point is that this particular day, as my 15 year old self entered the house after school, all the negative thoughts just invaded my mind and I had lost all hope. One thing about losing hope, you basically go through every possible scenario in your head as to why nothing will work and nothing could make you feel happy ever again. No matter what you do. It felt like shadows that followed me constantly draining the energy out of me. I was exhausted. so I tried to end my life.
What was I thinking?
Looking back on that day with the intention to revisit my experience, I want to share what I went through as a teenager because someone may be going through or have gone through something similar and can relate. I was just done with life. What the heck was I thinking feeling this way? I ask myself now. This is what comes to mind now because looking back, things could have been a heck of a lot worse. But that is what my life experiences have led me to feel like up until that moment. All I remember was just feeling invisible at the time. And Anger for the unresolved things that I never got answers to. I felt Almost ghost-like. I knew I was here but wished I was far away from it all. Fast forward to me now as a mother and having come through my own experiences of failed attempts and depression among other things, I feel as though I am more than capable to handle whatever may be going on with my own children. I’m glad that those experiences taught me what I learned through living through each and everyone of them. Now, I’m thinking about proactive ways to be there for my children through anything that they may be going through. I know what it felt like to feel invisible. What it felt like to not be heard and not have any support from those closest to me.
What can we do as parents?
Be present and supportive above all with a touch of empathy, no matter your own point of view. Children are crying out to be heard and understood. School can be very stressful for children, especially now that we are living in such times where there are kids who are more and more cruel by the day. Provide a listening ear whenever possible because as parents, believe it or not, we tend to think that because our children share too many details about their day that they are doing great. Sometimes a child can be depressed and hide behind a lot of positive successes in their life, which is why a lot of children that get to that low point feel like there is no way out of that feeling. They know how to hide under a smile and under an “I’m doing ok mom”. Some of our children are dealing with a lot of mixed emotions, and that combined with changes in hormones could lead to possible negative changes in behavior. If you notice any change in your child at all, or anything that does not seem normal, follow up with them, and eventually offer other means of support. Sometimes your child may need help, and all they want is a listening ear and a few kind words like “don’t worry, everything will be ok.” Other times, they may feel as though they can’t share everything with you, offer them therapy. Any help is better than no help.
As a parent that constantly has to go into battle day in and day out to ensure that my children are feeling and doing ok, I can tell you that I never signed up for any of the things that I have had to live through nor endured due to the many things that life has thrown my way. Yet, in the midst of all of it, I am still standing. If there is a parent out there that may be going through a tough time, either because of something your child is dealing with or you yourself are dealing with, stay strong. Whatever that thing may be. You are not alone. It sometimes feels like we are the only ones going through what we go through, and the reality is there are many people out there who are dealing with similar things. We just choose how we want to deal with it. You are here for a reason. Believe that and take it one day at a time. Don’t forget about taking good care of yourself and giving yourself time for a break. That can be the difference between a horrible day, and one that you are just thankful for because you made it through.
Don’t be afraid to accept help
In our society it is easier to turn a blind eye and act as though we don’t know what is going on, but we see it. The bullying in schools has risen in such a way that almost every other day, one or more of my children come home with a story to tell. As a parent, all I can do is what is within my means to do, and this is what I can rely on each and every time. You can’t over stress yourself as a parent because the times we live in calls for us to put our families and our own mental health first. No matter what, we cannot compromise those two things. Don’t be afraid however to reach out for help when you need it. Even if you have some form of social anxiety and you can’t see yourself talking with someone for more than 5 minutes, get the help you need. It can make a difference in your child’s life. Believe me. I know.
Here below please find some important information regarding Suicide Prevention, and ways you can speak with your child regarding this matter.
Another Great Site for information