Am I My Child’s Only Advocate?

Once upon a time, I was married to the Teen and Eco’s father.

But now he’s dead. Taken away by suicide, falling prey to the demons of depression. And I wonder if it would be worse or better if he were here. At the very least, I often think, there’d be someone else who would love my children as much as me.

I know that studies show a genetic link to numerous mental health issues like depression, anxiety, addictive personalities, and suicide. A risk factor for suicide is a parent dying by suicide.

The highest risk is for teenage boys who have lose their parent at that fragile age range.

Teen and Eco were toddlers, barely 4 and 2 respectively. But the risk is there. The worry is there.

Teen struggles with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. It’s not managed by medicine, only therapy. I’m on the fence about starting an ADHD medication. I’m not sure why. Eco is on meds. Perhaps the stigma remains even as I try to remain open-minded.

Eco struggles with the same diagnoses, but he’s managed with medication, specifically for the anxiety and depression. Moreover, he has a counselor he sees weekly and a psychiatrist who manages the medicine and symptoms. The words “personality disorder” has been brought up a few times, but at this point I’m not sure what that would mean. The psychiatrist is quick to reassure me that their words are simply to educate, not to diagnose. The counselor is quick to point out the age (11 years) is a tricky one and that sometimes waiting is just a thing that is needed before further answers will be provided.

I always feel better in those appointments, with people on my side. But out in the world of non-professionals, the world that stigmatizes mental health, I feel very alone, especially when dealing with Eco.

I’m left with a fiancee who is struggling to understand that mental health is a real thing. I’m left with people who think that his outbursts are pure disobedience. I’m left with adults that tell my son that the reason he has no friends is because he interrupts too much, that he’s socially awkward at best.

It’s destroying relationships and bringing up walls between myself and others because I am a mother cobra ready to strike if someone harms him. But sometimes I can’t strike until the damage is done. His wounds are real and raw and terrible.

But adults would rather a silent, submissive child, even if it means destroying his entire spirit.

I love his spirit.

I love him.

I like him.

I love all of his little quirks. I love his imagination. I love that his favorite place is inside a book store or library. I love that he devours whole books in a day. I love his grandiose ideas. I love the empathy he has for animals. I love his future dream of becoming an ecologist.

He just has barriers that sometimes have undesirable symptoms. And I’m trying my best to give him the tools he needs to thrive, the tools he needs to grow.

It takes a village to raise a child.

But the village isn’t here.

The village isn’t here the neurological child. How in the world can I find one for us?

3 thoughts on “Am I My Child’s Only Advocate?”

  1. Wow! That’s hard. Despite the dialogue, the lack of awareness is so pervasive. The age of your son doesn’t allow him to understand that the world doesn’t get him… you are the link between the two. I love your attitude. Keep trying. Let’s spread the word. Let’s not hurt children. They deserve all the care they can get.

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  2. Look into some neurodiversity positive parenting groups. Honestly, just look into the neurodiversity paradigm in general. Your kids will thank you someday if you can help them work with their brains, without treating them as lesser, instead of against them. Chronic self esteem issues are the norm for kids who have experienced trauma and are neurodiverse, but they don’t have to be. I’ve seen some really encouraging things in those groups that make me less worried about ‘what if I recapitulate my own awful childhood by having a kid’ as my partner and I think seriously about how we would want to raise a hypothetical future child to accept their likely genetic differences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve temporarily joined groups focused on ADHD, which has helped me see both the spectrum of symptoms and comorbidities that come with it. But I haven’t found a very positive one. I’ll do some more extensive searching for just neurodiversity in general.

      I did find the book Differently Wired. I’m currently reading it and so far it is giving me so much hope.

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