Mental illness and Family

Loving and raising a child with mental illness is nothing less than exhausting, on a daily basis. We do not live day by day, yet minute by minute. Anything at all can quickly change a mood or atmosphere from calm to chaotic.

As a parent, I, we, accept this life. This constant chaos. This life of uncertainty. The innocent victims as I see it are the siblings of these intense, high maintenance, chronically needy, mentally and emotionally challenged children. And, of course, the affected child themselves.

These kids certainly in no way deserve this life they live. This life of wanting to belong. Wanting to fit in. Wanting friends. Wanting “normalcy” that most likely never or rarely comes their way. ( I am speaking from our experience) My son, Zack, wants all of these things. The stability he enjoyed at times is never long-lived. This fact is not lost on him, as he begins to feel “normal” chances are the medications always stop working that lead to a spiraling down of ability and functioning.

This prompts more calls to the doctor, more changes in medications, more possible side effects to look out for. Day in, day out. Hoping, praying that the “just right” cocktail of meds will soon be found.

My daughter, now 14, has endured a life certainly unfair as well. As do so many other siblings of children with some form of a
“disability”  be it physical or mental.  The constant appointments they are dragged to along with their sick sibling. Outings and vacations not allowed because her brother was “unstable”.  For us, it was constant doctors visits, counselors, therapist offices she had to sit around in all her life, patiently waiting as her brother was seen. The sacrifice she has made being part of this family is endless.

The resentment she feels today, as a teenager, is certainly understandable, although heartbreaking. This life has taken a toll on her. On all of us. A mentally ill loved one, especially living with you, affects the entire family unit. Usually not in a good way. We live, function, press on, in a way that is normal to us, dysfunction at it’s best.

We just go on.

Because that’s what we do. It’s who we are. Family.

We hope, we pray, we laugh, we cry, we love, we support, we survive Together.

We are Family                                                   

cruise pic..proper


11 thoughts on “Mental illness and Family

  1. Whenever my kids have struggled, through the years, I’ve always told them “EVERYONE has something, this is yours, if it isn’t fatal, we’ll take it”. I think it’s hard for your son, for all kids, to feel as though they’re different or they don’t measure up in some way. But the truth is, there is no “perfect” person.

    • how true that is. I have that same advice, no one is perfect, we all deal with something, in some way, but its so hard for kids to understand and accept that. Thank you for reading and commenting

  2. Pingback: Mental illness and Family | GoodBoyRoy's Blog

  3. As I grew up my older brother had muscular dystrophe. While his behavior was fine his physical handicap had an effect on all of us, especially me. I was his primary caretaker because my parents divorced and we were the only constant people in each other’s lives.
    I understand where Kelsie is coming from but I wish I could tell her how much good she is getting out of it. Learning that I had to always think of how things would affect my brother made me more sensitive to the needs of others.
    That is a quality that has served me well over my entire life. I feel that I am a better person for having him in my life. I hope she will find encouragement to use these experiences to continue to grow into the fine young lady I am sure that she is.

  4. Everyone has to deal with something, and certainly those who love them must deal with it as well. Mental illness is difficult on so many levels, including the rabid misunderstanding attitude prevalent in our society. It doesn’t “look” like there is anything wrong with your child, so people don’t often realize the depth of the difficulty. Certainly it is hard on the child struggling with it, and hard on siblings. But, I think that you, as a parent are selling yourself short.

    We as parents want nothing more for our children than we want for them to be whole, healthy, and happy. it is devastating to face the fact that this is not a reality for your child. It is exhausting and fatiguing and depressing. I hope you have an outlet. I hope you have a way to take a break, a way to get away from being care-giver to a deeply needy child, and to be just yourself for even just a little while. I hope you have people you can trust to share your most difficult feelings with. If not, reach out and find these, for the good of your children and your marriage and yourself.

  5. Life is not easy but if there’s a will there’s a way. If we choose the right input everyday then we will have a great and positive output.



  6. We are dealing with this with my eldest daughter and it at times can be exhausting not only for us as parents, but also for her as well… we have to take it one day and sometimes one minute at a time, and definitely have to have a lot of patience!

  7. As a former social worker, that worked with children and families. I understand the heartache and emotional drain it can take on any family. It is a lifelong battle with no easy outcomes. The best thing any parent can EVER do for their child is love them and guide them and show them as much normalcy as possible. I truly believe that love can conquer mountains and I have seen some miracles on that front.

    Aaron Brinker

  8. The perceptions of society towards those that struggle with mental illness and their caretakers and families also come into the mix. The stigma associated with those conditions seep through no matter how “enlightened” or educated we, as a whole may perceive society. Exposure through popular culture and education is probably the surest way towards acceptance and some type of understanding. After the shooting at Sandy Hook and the disastrous and misapprehensive assumption that mental illness, specifically Asperger syndrome was somehow the culprit became apparent, mental illness, once again became further shrouded in some kind of mystical hysteria.

    What needs to be done is to strip away these horrible stereotypes and the true faces of mental illness need to be seen for what they are: my face. Zack’s face. 1 in 3 faces in the United States, will at some time in their lives suffer from some type of mental illness. Yet, we choose to stigmatize and cut research and monies. We put the sufferers through hell and hell it is. Thank you, Zack for speaking out and coming forward. Thank you Mrs. Hix.

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