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toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #1 
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/when-nobody-knows-your-sorrow-on-parenting-a-child-with-mental-illness/
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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
EDAction

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks toothfairy.  It brought tears to my eyes.
BattyMatty_UK

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Reply with quote  #3 
Tooth, that is a good blog post... Unless you have 'been there', no-one can truly know what it's like.

For example I remember the deputy head at school saying to me "It could be much worse..." and me thinking "Like how? How could anything be worse than seeing your beautiful, much-loved, talented child descend into hell while never knowing from one day to the next whether this could be their last day on earth?"

But it's been surprising over the past few years how many families have 'come clean' about their own battles with a mental illness in the family. Yet all of us hid it from the world, pretending that everything was OK (except I had to mention it to our neighbours because I worried that they'd think someone was murdering my son at times... all that banging, crashing and screaming...)

And thank God for this forum because, without it, the ED years would have been so lonely. Thank God for the support, friendship and love I found here from people I'd never even met.

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Bev Mattocks, mother of 23-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #4 
I would have been much more impressed with it had it not been done anonymously.  We need to normalize mental health matters, not hide them and yet another person who hides things.

I don't know. I don't hide either my own struggle with depression or my daughter's struggle with Ed.  If I hide it and act ashamed, why should I expect anyone else to react any other way?
melstevUK

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Reply with quote  #5 
mjkz,

I tend to agree with you on this one.  I never hid my d's illness.  All my family and friends knew about it because I needed their support.  Similarly I talk freely about my own experience of depression - and never hide the fact that I have been on medication for years.  

As this article appears in an Israeli publication, maybe culturally things are different there and mental illness still causes discomfort as an issue to be discussed openly.   

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mid73

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Reply with quote  #6 
I have always been open with friends and family. However as time goes on I tend not to discuss much with most people as it’s just too exhausting to keep going over it with people. I guess everyone finds their own way, but it’s hard to listen to people telling you about all the lovely things they do which just no longer happen. Also people’s small talk and worrying about non problems is hard to bear too. And comments like well she’s a teenager and that’s how they are is really frustrating. Hopefully in years to come understanding of mental health problems will improve.
mjkz

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Quote:
As this article appears in an Israeli publication, maybe culturally things are different there and mental illness still causes discomfort as an issue to be discussed openly.  


Very true.  The only way to change that though is to be the first person then.  Of course I'm one of those awful Americans too so my attitude might not be as compassionate and aware as it should be[biggrin]

Quote:
Also people’s small talk and worrying about non problems is hard to bear too.


I hear you on that.  Sometimes I hear what people complain about and think man, if that's all you have to complain about, you've lead a charmed life.  The other side of that though is that we can't really compare things like trauma.  What is traumatic to me may not be to you and vice versa.  Their non problems can be just as worrying and nerve wracking to them as our problems.  One thing I have learned is that people complain about things that seem to be non problem that are really tied to problems on the same scale as what we face.
martican

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Reply with quote  #8 
I come from Eastern Europe, and I can say the more east you go, the less understanding for invisible mental illness there is. I wish it took 1st person to change the population's understanding. Very often, as we all know, the carer doesn't have the energy to do both - tend to the demands of mental illness/es AND do the advocacy in a non accepting society. Plus, when it's your child, you want to protect them from the strong stigma. These countries don't have treatment centres like there are in North America, or enough special schools or programs to make accommodations for these children' challenges.  So I totally understand why this mom went anonymous. I see it as a step to plant a seed in other people's mind, and possibly bring those, who endure the same, together and create a stronger force in advocacy and exposing. 
I often think how lucky I am to live in Canada because my d would never get this professional support in Slovakia. Even if it means not having my own support from my family who is all there. 
Kali

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Reply with quote  #9 
The parent talks about protecting the privacy of their child/young adult, and that is why they have chosen to write this as an anonymous piece. IMO privacy and disclosure is a personal issue that each ill individual has the right to decide on for themselves. But the piece is beautifully written and really does describe very poignantly how it can feel to parent someone who is ill.Thank you Toothfairy for posting, it brought me to tears when I read it.

Kali



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scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #10 
It is a beautiful article in and of itself. It speaks of what we have gone through and how as parents we did not know what life would give us. It is a "hidden" issue that our  children live with. We cannot imagine the hell they are going through- it feels less tangible and at least I felt I had to "guess" what to do to help. Physical illnesses are in a sense "more upfront", ex"got a broken bone?- great !I can fix that" but when we don't know how their minds are working, it is frightening and can make us feel ( I really feel) helpless to help them. 

This was a great post Tooth!  
Merci beaucoup!


Torie

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali
IMO privacy and disclosure is a personal issue that each ill individual has the right to decide on for themselves. 


Agree.

Like everything else about this vile illness, it's tricky.  People DO judge, they DO reach wrong conclusions, they do all kinds of stuff.  I don't mind if people want to judge me or whatever, but I do mind if they cause my d additional problems.  It's a little easier for me because I have 4 kids so I can say "One of my kids ..." without specifying which one.

I agree with others who encourage those of us who can chip away at the stigma (in whatever way) to do so.  And also understand that not everyone can, at least not now.  xx

-Torie

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FaithKeepsMeGoing

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thank you, Toothfairy.  This writer echoes my feelings after learning 8 years ago that not one, but two of my children suffered from mental illness.  (My oldest has severe OCD - we found out six months before the youngest was diagnosed with anorexia, and as my youngest neared WR, my oldest's ocd symptoms worsened and paralyzed her.)

I do understand why the author writes anonymously.  I think it's the choice of the sufferer to decide whether or not to be public about their illness.  Teenagers have so many struggles without mental health problems.  Dealing with the reactions of other immature teenagers is something they may not be up to.  While I do believe that more openness will lead to better understanding on the part of society in general, I don't think we need to throw that upon our teens who are ill.  My oldest daughter is now an adult, and she is very open about her struggles with ocd.  She is very confident in herself and if someone isn't willing to understand, she figures she doesn't need them.  Good for her!  My youngest has taken a lot longer to get there.  She has been open with some of the special people in her life - friends she knows will understand.  Some of them also suffer from mental health problems and she has been a support to them, as they are to her.  But she's just not ready yet to be as open as her sister is, and I think that's her decision, not mine.  I've seen more openness over time, but perhaps she's still a bit fragile.

I love the hopeful tone on which the author ended this article, and I'd just like to say to all of you who are still in the fight - never lose hope!  I once experienced the sadness, fear, hopelessness of this author.  Today, life is so much better for both my girls.  Though I know that things can change, I'm very hopeful for their futures today.  I am so very thankful!

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