Blessings In The Midst Of My Child’s Mental Illness

November 17, 2016

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……

BLESSINGS IN THE MIDST OF MY CHILD’S MENTAL ILLNESS

I am blessed beyond measure to be the parent of children with mental illness. They are blessings. No, that does not mean that I am glad my kids have mental illness (who would?) or that we do not have difficult days because we do. What it does mean though is that out of the difficult times some amazing qualities and blessings have arisen.  I have discovered that I can see the blessings in the midst of hard circumstances.   I have been blessed that GOD chose me to be the mom of some incredible and courageous kids.

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. I figure if my loved one that is fighting mental illness can do hard things, so can I. 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 – I fight like a mighty warrior for what is needed or deserved. I stand up and speak with confidence and boldness when it is warranted 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. I see the beauty that I had never experienced before.

I HAVE PATIENCE – I can wait well most of the time.

I CAN LET GO – My “striving to achieve” attitude isn’t always helpful. I have found that the world will survive if I do not cross my t’s and dot my i’s.  I have learned that striving for excellence is good but not paramount.  That sometimes good enough is just right.

I AM STRONG – I no longer go through life worried that “big” life challenges would cause me to fold.  I didn’t think I was strong enough. I was wrong; I am strong.

I AM LESS JUDGEMENTAL – If your kid is screaming in public or you show up to the grocery story in pajamas, I won’t judge. I will silently cheer you on because I am not the judge and jury that I once was and it is freeing.

I CAN BE ACCEPTING – I can wholly accept things, people, and circumstances that I never could before.  When I do this, it helps me to quit fighting reality.  I can say, “it is what it is” and move forward.  I don’t have to agree to accept, and it allows me to live life as it is – not what I want it to be.

I CAN BE SIMPLE – I have learned that “simple” is okay. Finding those perfect napkins for Thanksgiving may not need to be high on the priority list. Simple living allows more time for what is most important, like relationships.

THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY  – Two are truly 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. I could not have walked where I have been without the people that surround me.

I do have to say that none of the above occurred on their own nor do they exist all of the time.

I thought I was close with God until I walked through deep waters of watching my child suffer and not being able to fix it. I discovered a relationship through my dependence on him that I never knew was possible.

I wish that my blessings had come differently and that my child had never had to endure mental illness. Nevertheless, it is what it is and this year I am taking stock of the blessings in the midst of my child’s mental illness.

I hope you will take a moment this season and look closely at the blessings that have been born out of hardships. I would love to hear what your blessings are in the comments below.


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18 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jacquie

    Thank you for sharing this. I have had these same feelings throughout my sons illness as well. You wrote beautifully what has been in my mind.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Jacquie,

      So glad you too have had the same things on your mind. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

      Maree

  2. Reply

    Christin Baker

    Such a powerful post! These are lessons we can all learn, no matter what valleys we find ourselves in.Thank you for sharing your heart, and blessings to you and your precious child–may the Lord continue to surround your family with His loving grace!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Christin – Thank you for your beautiful words. Yes, we all go through something and find ourselves in valleys at some point on our journey. Thank you for stopping by. Blessings to you, Maree

  3. Reply

    Leslie

    So very powerful, Maree. I love the picture you share of how God can change our perspectives and bring glory to Himself through us if we continue to press through the difficulties. Thank you for this!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Leslie, Thank you for your encouraging and kind words. I am so glad you stopped by my site. I just took a peek at your blog, and it looks fantastic. I look forward to getting to know you. I am going to jump on over there and read a post right now. Maree

  4. Reply

    Glynnis

    Maree – This is an incredible post. I too have walked through very hard things with my children – those added to our family through adoption and those added biologically. God has used these experiences to break many unpleasant things in me. Thank you for putting words to what I have yet to put words to. This encouraged and inspired me.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Glynnis, I am so glad me putting words to my experience encouraged you. As we know, life’s hard. I haven’t always been in a place to be able to look back and acknowledge the blessings. It is so difficult when you are in the middle of it. I am so glad I was there this year and it could give hope to others. Maree

  5. Reply

    Michel

    Great article! I can better understand more now than I did 12 weeks ago! Thank you Thank you Thank you! We too are blessed and have much to be grateful for.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      That is music to my ears. I am so glad you can see how much you have to be grateful for. You both are amazing parents.

  6. Reply

    Joan Richmond

    this is a wonderful piece. I cannot claim to have learned all that you talk about, but it is something to work for. And finally, my relationship with God has carried me this far and will continue to do so in the future. keep up the good work in encouraging those of us dealing with a loved one with mental illness.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad your relationship with God is carrying you forward and that my piece was encouraging. All of the things I mentioned are true, but that doesn’t mean I have it all mastered or feel that way all of the time. I am a work in progress, but I find that having a community of people that understand helps. Thank you for commenting and visiting my site. I hope to chat with you again soon.

  7. Reply

    Melissa

    Finding the blessings in the midsts of pain– a beautiful thing! Thank you!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you!

  8. Reply

    Shirley

    Very inspiring. I’ll print it so I can have it available to read often. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you! It was so good for me to sit and count my blessings. It is so easy to get stuck on what is difficult. I would love to hear a few of your blessings.

  9. Reply

    Chelsie

    This is so good and encouraging. It’s so inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad this post inspired you. Thank you for the encouragment and the reply.

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