girl-3422711_1920Have you ever had one of those moments of helplessness where time seemed to stand still? I had one several years ago when my son and his friend were running across the street. I was watching them from the front window, saw how neither of them stopped to look for cars before taking off, saw the huge pickup truck barreling toward them, as intense panic flooded through me, but there was nothing I could do. I felt frozen in time, able to see what was happening, but not able to move a single muscle myself to stop it. Luckily the driver of the truck saw the boys and was able to slow down before hitting them. Once they got to the other side of the street and the truck had moved on, you better believe I ran out the door and yelled at them across the street!

I’ve had another of those moments—more than one recently, as I’ve watched my twelve-year-old daughter struggling with depression and anxiety. Severe depression. Severe anxiety. Do you know what that’s like? Do you know what it feels like to watch your child suffer that way? I’ve done what I can, what I think is right. She started anti-depressants a couple of weeks ago, and I got her into a therapist who I think will be able to help her, but as I watch her living in this darkness that I know all too well, I feel frozen, helpless . . . lost, like I never have before.

Sure, I know what depression and anxiety are, but I don’t know what it’s like to experience it that young. And as much as I try to love her, comfort her, be there for her a teenager that age needs other kids her own age to turn to, to just . . . be a kid with. But she feels like she has no friends, that the ones she thought she could count on have turned away from her. I’m sure it scared them hearing her talk about just how depressed she is. That’s a lot of responsibility to be placed on one so young. But maybe it wouldn’t be so scary, maybe it wouldn’t seem so heavy if we, as parents, did more to talk to our kids about mental illness. If we let them know that it’s normal, that it’s not someone’s fault to have this illness. I know—I know—there are more kids like her that are also struggling. They shouldn’t have to live in silence, they shouldn’t have to wear a mask, they shouldn’t have to fear being different. They should be able to talk about it and not be turned away from, not be abandoned. As the mother of a child who is suffering, I beg you—I beg you—educate your kids. Help them. Because they can make all the difference in the world of another child who is living the cold, lonely darkness of mental illness. Please.

4 thoughts on “Helpless

  1. It is hard to be on the side of a parent. I know it was hard to see for my own mother as I tried to take my life and lived with endless depression, or so it seemed at times. But I got better and your daughter will as well. Things always seem dark but you’re on the right path. Right now the meds are a good thing and therapy helped me so much become who I am. This might be seem like a plug, but I wrote a book about my experiences that could be helpful to you and your daughter. It might be helpful to read about my journey. If anything read my blog and the many stories from others who are like your daughter. Always be there for her because the thoughts can get extremely dark. Education is everything and that is what I am working on as a mental health advocate.


    • Thanks. I know how dark it gets, myself, because I, too, have been there. And as someone who has been there it is a million times worse watching your child go through it. I would gladly take all of it on for her even knowing how incredibly difficult and painful it is if I could. And I’m definitely into education and learning from others experiences. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think if I had a child dealing with the unimaginable as she is, I would do anything to take it on myself. You are so strong for her! That is an amazing thing. Not everyone in this life has that, but I was one of the lucky ones and so is your child!

        Liked by 1 person

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