I know many of you are thinking how on earth can a “Mom” put the word “blessing” and “mental illness” in the same sentence. I thought that too until it had become apparent that I had changed for the better through this experience with my child’s mental health challenges.
Let me make it clear; I am by no means saying, mental illness is a blessing. It would be so unfair and incorrect to make such a bold statement. However, in the midst of the pain, frustration, and sickness I have found tremendous blessings.
Qualities were born in me, qualities I had no idea I could possess.
So as I sat down to count my blessings this Thanksgiving I thought, why not do it differently. Why not name the good that has come from loving someone in the midst of their mental illness.
I want you to know right from the get-go I am blessed beyond measure. My children with mental illness are blessings. No, that does not mean that I am glad my kids have mental illness (who would?). Nor does it mean we do not have challenging days because we do. But what it does say is out of the difficult times some fantastic qualities and blessings have arisen. I have discovered that I can see the good in the midst of hard circumstances. It is a blessing that GOD chose me to be the mom of some incredible and courageous kids.
BLESSINGS IN THE MIDST OF MY CHILD’S MENTAL ILLNESS
I AM BRAVE
When one gets to sit so close to someone that exhibits great struggle yet pushes through, it begins to rub off. It spurs me on to be courageous just like them. As I watch my loved ones fight mental illness, I too can do hard things. Pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone has brought the realization that I am so much more capable than I ever thought.
I AM BOLD WHEN NEEDED
Fighting like a mighty warrior is possible when it is warranted, needed or deserved. Confidence and boldness can be found when standing up to speak regardless of the audience.
I KNOW THE VALUE OF LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
As I live in the present moment, it comes alive with all it has to offer. Letting go of the past, the way life used to be, and stopping the worrying about the future of what might be, creates less suffering. It is a beauty never experienced before.
I HAVE PATIENCE
Most of the time I can wait well.
I CAN LET GO
My “striving to achieve” attitude isn’t always helpful. The world will survive if I do not cross my t’s and dot my i’s. Striving for excellence is good but not paramount; sometimes good enough is just right.
I AM STRONG
No longer do I need to go through life worried the “big” life challenges will cause me to fold: I am strong.
I AM LESS JUDGEMENTAL
If your kid is screaming in public or you show up to the grocery store in pajamas, I won’t judge. Silently, I will cheer you on. It is freeing to let go of that role of judge and jury.
I CAN BE ACCEPTING
Acceptance allows me to live life as it is – not what I want it to be. I can wholly accept things, people, and circumstances where I never could before. When I do this, it helps me to quit fighting reality and say, “it is what it is” and move forward.
I CAN BE SIMPLE
Simple living allows more time for what is most important, like relationships. I have learned that “simple” is okay. Finding those perfect napkins for the table may not need to be high on the priority list.
THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY
Two are genuinely better than one. We all need a tribe to keep us going, to encourage us, to call us out on our mistakes, to hold us up when we fall, and to pray for us continually. The people who have surrounded me made this journey possible.
I do have to say that none of the above occurred on their own nor do they exist all of the time.
MY #1 BLESSING HAS BEEN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
I thought I was close to God until I walked through deep waters of watching my child suffer and not being able to fix it. However, I discovered a relationship through my dependence on him that I never knew was possible.
Of course, I wish that my blessings had come differently. I would never have wanted my child to endure mental illness. Nevertheless, it is what it is. This year I am taking stock of the blessings in the midst of my child’s mental illness.
Hoping you will take a moment this season and look closely at the blessings that have been born out of hardships. We would love to hear what your blessings are in the comments below.