Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pediatric Mental Illness? It's Like This...

Pediatric mental illness is screaming and crying; raging and breaking things; cursing and swearing; ER trips and suicide attempts...

...and it is midnight visits from a 9-year-old who still knows how to fit into the curve I make in the bed just the way he did when he was a toddler. "Mommy, I'm so glad you're the one who's my mom."

Pediatric mental illness is causing my marriage to become frayed and tattered by constant, unrelenting stress punctuated by terror...

...and it has also bound me to my husband and him to me with the strength of carbon steel forged by fire.

Pediatric mental illness is the cause of our deprivation due to living on one income: no vacations, no meals out, no new cars, and the horror and humiliation of calling on family for help when the car breaks down...

...and it is also a sense of contentment and pride knowing that, when it seemed that our flailing, struggling, violent, suicide-attempting little boy was doomed, we, his parents, were able to give him what he needed and help him back to relative stability. That may not always be true, and for so many families it has not worked that way, so we know that we are blessed, in spite of our financial suck-fest.

Pediatric mental illness is the hateful stares and nasty comments from strangers and those who do not (or will not) understand...

...and it is the vast, generous community of people near and far who surround us with love and understanding.

Pediatric mental illness is drama and crisis and terror...

...and it is also this little boy, my boy, whose heart is so broad, whose empathy is so deep, whose emotional generosity is so vast he takes my breath away. He is afraid of so many things, but he is not afraid of people in pain. He is no afraid to feel your pain with you.

Pediatric mental illness is the crumbling of our family around us, the absence of two of my children, the deep pain and woundedness in us all...

...and it is also a new understanding of what it means to be family, to invite without forcing, to choose to stay, not from obligation, but from love.

Pediatric mental illness is the utter destruction of faith, smashed around our feet and ground to dust...

...and it is the rebuilding of a new faith, faith that breathes humility into us in incomprehensible, overwhelming ways, faith that makes no false promises, faith that makes it possible for us to live with the fear.

Pediatric mental illness is the thing I would cure in an instant, no questions, no looking back...

...and still, there are gifts.

 

Adrienne Jones writes the blog No Points for Style.

15 comments:

  1. So powerful, and I was deeply touched by "he is not afraid of people in pain." What a wonderful quality to have. So few do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Adrienne, you just slay me, as always. So good to hear your words, your voice. Always.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So beautifully powerful...."the deep pain and woundedness in us all"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes to this especially:
    'Pediatric mental illness is the thing I would cure in an instant, no questions, no looking back...and still, there are gifts.'

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow, this is a beautiful read. a painfully, beautiful read. your voice is so powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. When time goes by without a posting from you at No Points For Style, I pray extra hard for you and your family. When I read your essays, I weep. Thank you for giving a voice to the mute and a window into the souls of many who go unacknowledged.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When time goes by without a posting from you at No Points For Style, I pray extra hard for you and your family. When I read your essays, I weep. Thank you for giving a voice to the mute and a window into the souls of many who go unacknowledged.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When time goes by without a posting from you at No Points For Style, I pray extra hard for you and your family. When I read your essays, I weep. Thank you for giving a voice to the mute and a window into the souls of many who go unacknowledged.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love ya my friend...you and all around you which you have so warmly shared with Pickles and I. And for making us feel welcome in a place in a way we have never felt before.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So beautiful. So powerful. So real. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete