Mental health. A condition we’ve become more aware of and try to better understand. Many are making an effort to be heard despite the stigma that accompanies their admission.
I am here to share others’ inspiring stories in the hope to keep the flame going for mental health awareness.
This is a mother’s story.
“Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Causes of death: Suicide by hanging. Three days apart. Unbelievable but true.
Depression does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, whether you are rich and famous or just an ordinary person, like my child.
These recent events on mental health have brought me back to a phone call that I will never forget. It was from my daughter who tearfully revealed that she was on medication for depression.
Since then, I have been living my life in constant fear of the worst.”
“Yes. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word. And because my daughter was living away from home, that fear was compounded by my guilt of not being able to physically protect her. If it were up to me, I would have encouraged her to come home. But of course, that was not feasible. I cannot tell her to abandon everything, come live with me and then what? Make drastic changes to her career path and her future plans? I simply can’t do that. Besides, I knew such decisions were not up to me.
Then it dawned on me. I actually did not know what to do! Yet, it was happening! And to someone like me who least expected it. I was caught off-guard and felt like I was thrown into a battle which I was not ready for. I was at a loss. I got angry! What was I supposed to do?
I felt helpless. I found myself wanting and needing for depression to be a physical entity, so I could see and determine how to fight and keep it away from us.
While I groped for answers, I suddenly realized that I was seeing it all wrong! This was not about me at all.
It was about my daughter, my child…
I relegated my own concerns, my anger, and especially my fear, to the background. It became a bit easier from then on. It paved the way for me to focus on the real issue and accept a painful reality; my daughter has depression. And she’s got to cope with it for the rest of her life. But, while I’m here, I’ll make sure she won’t have to face it alone. Ever. We are going to deal with it, together.
A friend has said to me. “You know, your daughter is admirable and smart. When she recognized that she was having problems, she did something about it. She decided to fight.”
I never saw it that way until then.
Indeed, when my daughter was struggling and having thoughts of ”it was better for everyone if I’m gone”, she knew she had to seek professional help. And I am incredibly grateful that she did. A life has been saved. My daughter’s.
I could imagine how difficult it must have been for her to make that phone call and open up to me. When she did, it has changed our lives forever. It has also brought forth a promise of unconditional love through whatever would happen as we live through this.
I still have that fear. All day. Everyday.
It is true. You can not fully understand until it happens to you.”
To follow: A Daughter’s Story
Please read: The Onlookers’ Story