So if you’ve been following any of my writings you know already the turmoil that my world has been in lately. We welcomed the month of May (which just so happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month) by sitting in the waiting room of the ER which then turned into us being moved in to a private room to stay under complete medical observation.. all to assure the safety and well being of my child. This is a child with a 4.4GPA right now, all honors classes, 5th year honors orchestra, good-polite-smart-friendly friends with good families that we know very well, working a part time job-with kids.. What happened, to send us to the hospital, came as a complete surprise.. we had no warning signs. I have always had an open door policy meaning: “I am your mother, no one will ever love you more and I’m not perfect.. I KNOW what kinds of things high schoolers get into… So here I am, when you need me.” I pleaded with my kids to never fear coming to me about anything.. Where I am at today, I wish I had started sooner with those very private talks.. Like by fourth grade.. I thought entrance into middle school was the prime age. Little did I know of all that she had already been introduced to.
Still, I had no real signs to be concerned.
The hardest part of watching your kids grow up is being forced to accept them moving away. No, I’m not talking about moving off to college or sharing an apartment with roommates. I’m talking about the transition from childhood to adolescence… They just want to hang out in their room, listen to music, watch Netflix, Snapchat with their friends and work on their homework… In their own private space. Always with their door SHUT. (That is, IF they are not at their friends house again!)… This is all normal. They so need their space, I agree.
I still say, there were no warning signs…
Well, maybe some IF I had just looked closer or listened harder or slowed the transitioning of my daughter into a hermit.. maybe I would have seen something… if I had just kept the d@€# door open!
So the other morning I had a dentist appointment. I love my dentist but going for anything more than a simple cleaning is close to my worst nightmare. Fire being first and spiders a close second.. then the dentist, no offense Dr. Pray. He’s our family dentist and he’s a parent also, so anytime I’m in the office, the kids are a topic of conversation that is quick to come up. When the dental hygienist chimed in that she is just now, at the stage with her daughter of always wanting to be in her room with her door shut… The words just came out of my mouth with no filter, “Don’t! Just don’t let the door stay shut.” … I KNOW the terrible pain of having to accept giving them space, I do and I KNOW they deserve their privacy, I do…. but don’t let the bedroom door close, just don’t… and I shared briefly about our ER stay…
This is a dragon of a whole different kind. A pain that mama can no longer kiss or sing away. I have friends who were successful in taking their own life. I know a mama who’s child survived but has been completely and forever affected from the trauma to the brain due to cut off oxygen supply- he doesn’t even know now what he attempted. I too am a survivor and I have been slapped down with the reality of my precious child suffering in the same ways that I know so well. This sickens me. This breaks my heart. I will continue to bring light to Mental Health Awareness. Being alert, being aware and being sensitive.
So here are MY 13 reasons why not to…
1-To the world you might be just one person but to one person you just might be their world! Their entire world. You are important. You have people around you that care.. Push aside those who don’t make you a better person. It’s not selfish to think of yourself and your wellbeing. Eliminate all things, people and places that don’t better you. Then look more at those things that make you the best you possible.
2-You were made in the image of God, with a divine purpose. You have a purpose. A great purpose. It can and may take some time but there’s no greater fulfillment than finding and achieving your purpose this side of heaven, refusing to sink. Roll up your sleeves and make your life happen. You can be anybody you want to be but being the best you that you can possibly be will bring the greatest joy.
3-You are an influence and inspiration to someone. Think of one person who that may be… Now imagine them mimicking your self hate or self harm… maybe your baby brother.. maybe your classmate.. maybe your mother. You want the best for them? Live the best you, for them to see. The silent persuasion moves more than any words we speak.
4-Storms are ever passing. Trials are temporary. This too shall pass. The here an now that stinks so badly, will be tossed into yesterday before you know it. Face life’s challenges head on and grace will carry you to brighter skies.
5-There will always be someone with a better story AND a worse story. There is a certain joy that comes in just being content. Look for the upside of everything, the fine lining, the little blessings. You have them all around you. Can you hear? Can you see? Can you smell? Can you walk? Can you read? It helps us find that contentment in our own story when we recognize all the little gifts we’ve been given. Life is no competition of who has it worse or better. We are all bound to have setbacks and we all have great potential. Think of others. It helps to pull us out of our own mind.
6– Jesus Christ bore the weight of the world already. What makes you think you have to bare your burdens alone?. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
7-Good things await ahead. When one door closes a bigger, better one opens. You have a future. A bright future. Full of sunrises and sunsets; the two most amazing times to be out on the beach. Give yourself time, there is no rush.
8-There are so many sweet things in life that remain on your bucket list. Don’t have a bucket list? Make one! Relax. Have fun. Share laughter with those who are most important to you. Clean house of those who only bring you down or bring the drama. Get a job or switch jobs if the culprit lies there. Get outside. Focus on breathing and exhaling slowly and the gift that that very breath is.
9-You will come out of this stronger and wiser. You are a fighter. You will survive. You don’t quit or give up. You’re not alone in feeling like this. No one suffers alone. No one but The One who walked the road to Calvary and he did so that we don’t have to!
10-Do something for someone else. Share, give, listen, help someone else with their need. More joy comes in giving than receiving. It is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s food for the soul. Compassion. Empathy. For others.
11-The hardest lessons teach us the most. You shall overcome. That doesn’t mean you’ll just get through it but you will gain wisdom, strength and grace. “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” ~ Robin Williams
12-For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
13-When the world feels cold, there are still people that are warm and loving and they love you. The worst kind of pain in the world is learning to live without someone that you love. You don’t want to do that to those who love you. You have a perfect place in this big ole world. You have within you the power to change the world.
There are places still left to travel and beautiful sights to see, amazing aromas to smell and tastes that you have yet to relish. Big, bold, bright, beautiful things await you anywhere and everywhere.
We all fail, over and over, but giving up is never an option. Pull that strength hiding deep down in your soul. Push yourself to stretch to new boundaries. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just do the best you can because that is enough.
Have fun. Smile. Laugh. Laugh out loud. Laugh a lot. I’ve said it before… but fake a smile if you have to, eventually it will become genuine again.
Shun shame and silence when addressing mental health problems. The sad truth is there is a stigma associated to mental health problems. I am here refusing to be silenced. Parents, don’t just carry on and wait for signs- ASK! Shatter the uncomfortableness and make them talk. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die from suicide. It is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24, amounting to about 4,600 deaths a year. If you personally have not had such thoughts and feelings, I guarantee you that someone you know has, whether you know they have or not… TALK. Be present and talk and talk often.
For immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.