depression, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Illness Teenagers, Parenting Reactive Attachment Disorder, raising special needs kids, Reactive Attachment Disorder, special needs blog, special needs mom, Special Needs Parenting
Today is one of those days I will remember for the rest of my life. We all have good days and bad days, just like we all have special days worth remembering and horrible days we wish we could forget. Today is a horrible day. How do you put into words a loss and disappointment so great that it can be felt in your bones? Especially when the heaviness of it makes each footfall, each eye blink, and even each breath…an insurmountable task.
I believe that deep despair can only be felt when there was once the greatest of hope. Otherwise, the feelings are moot. Mere throw-aways. Have you ever had a dream so real you could see it? A wish so reachable, you believed if you could stretch your fingers out just a bit more, you might actually apprehend it? I have. It began in September of 2001. When the rest of America was reeling from the atrocities of 911, my life was opening to a little girl called “Tosh”.
Since this dream was wiped out by a corrupt system that failed, by a system that refused to see a little girl as human…it isn’t up for discussion or debate. Just know, though, that in response, I have a daughter who struggles to feel, to submit, to love, to trust, and to use self control. She can pretend, and has become a fairly good actress (some would call her a con artist), but the act is only accessible to her for short spurts of time. This behavior has a name: Mental Illness. And while that title sounds very textbook and official, neat and clean even, it isn’t. Mental Illness is very much like a category F-5 tornado that obliterates everything in it’s path without loyalty, compassion, or guilt. And while you can’t blame the tornado for it’s actions, you hate the destruction with every fiber of your being. And if you could re-direct it or snuff it out, you would in a heart beat.
Mental Illness not only wreaks irreparable havoc on the one it inhabits, but make no mistake, it rips families apart. Impacted by lies, manipulation, stealing, cheating, addiction, and destruction of all sorts, family members, being bombarded by all directions, are overwhelmed, confused, angry, and at a loss for how to deal with it all. May is Mental Health Awareness Month for a reason. Our eyes need to be opened.
At one time, I naively believed all people could control their actions. That it was a decision. But I was wrong. Sometimes people can’t. And when they can’t, they have to leave. They have to get help. When their actions, though unintentional, can bring harm to themselves or others, change is necessary. We live in a fallen world. Sin is sin and it invades and permeates everything. Everything.
God says he holds all of our tears in a jar; I like to think about that. Each time a tear escapes from my eye, making it’s way down my face, especially when it’s over something that is completely out of my control…especially when it’s unfair….especially when it has to do with my dream…well, I think about the angel who is catching it with great care and collecting it. I picture my jar up on heaven’s shelf right next to my daughter’s jar. Both jars filled to the brim with tears that were never intended by a God who wishes things could be so different. If anyone despises what sin has caused, it is our Creator. He understands when no one else can.
So today, as I plan for the inevitable, I’ve wondered about Abraham and Isaac….oh, the incredible faith of that father. Of that sweet old daddy. How do you close a chapter, knowing you may never get to open it again? How do you lay your child upon an altar, knowing that may actually be the end of the story? That is the weight that comes with that commonplace, text book, non-emotional two word description: Mental Illness. I’ve held on for so long. It’s finally time to surrender.
Natalie is returning to treatment.