Sometimes people looking in from the outside may not realize the herculean effort it takes to parent a child with a mental illness. Somedays it feels like it takes all of our strength just to breathe, and other days, we struggle with keeping our own temper under control while being under verbal assault. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to judge ourselves by the opinions of others and not by our own knowledge of how hard we work to get it all right.
I know for myself I was no longer the mom I set out to be. Not that I was perfect beforehand, but this really challenged my self-control. I learned so much as time went on, but you can’t go back and change it. We can only learn and go forward armed with this new knowledge. There are many situations that I was less than helpful, but there are many where I said and did what I believe was the right thing.
Sometimes, I still look back and wish to be able to begin again. I think well if I had done such and such this would have never happened. But the thing is even if I could go back armed with the information I have now, I know I would make mistakes. And I know this because I am still human and no matter how much education or support I am equipped with that will never change.
My son will be 19 in just a few days. He has come so far and so have I. But you know what? We still have moments of conflict. It is never quite like before, but it still happens. I guess my point is that even when you know better you are going to make mistakes. Make room for grace in your life for yourself and your child. We can only strive to be our best selves as much as is humanly possible.
And for those looking in from the outside, please know that under the same situation with the same life experience and the same DNA only by the grace of God would you not be the same.