It doesn’t matter what kind of books you read or if you were a nanny for 5 years.
Attentive Aunt or Uncle…okay, cool.
None of this matters because nothing can prepare for that moment when you realize you are responsible for someone’s physical, mental and emotional needs. That EVERYTHING you say, think and do can affect someone else’s life now and for the rest of their freaking life.
Basically, I see why some people have chosen to NOT have children. There’s so much pressure. So much work. So much money. So much time. So much at stake.
This is why I’m not mad at my parents for the things they didn’t do. I like to think that they did their best. They did what they could with what they had. They loved me and cared for me to the best of their abilities. This makes sense to me now that I’m a parent.
And while I wish some things could have been done differently, I’ve got to keep remembering, as their first born child, I didn’t come with a manual.
There’s one thing I wished they did though. I wish they would have made mental health conversation a regular thing. We NEVER talked about it growing up.
And like every kid, I had my challenges…
- My parents’ divorce shook my entire core and crushed me.
- Getting picked on in middle school sunk me and the only thing that gave me hope was my ability to write my feelings out.
- I yearned for a level of closeness that I never got with my parents as a teenager
- I wanted answers to questions I was afraid to ask.
- I needed more support when my teenaged body was violated by a dirty old man.
- I was desperate for relationships.
- I wanted to be understood.
- I always felt awkward.
My emotional state like many kids and teenagers was forever wavering and I felt like no one saw me struggling. I remember how low I felt and never want my own children feeling that way.
And this is why I am trying my hardest to make mental health a priority. This is why I can’t stop talking about it and telling people my story. Helping other mothers realize that YES, motherhood isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. And telling Black folx, NO, you cannot do it all on your own.
It also means having realllllly uncomfortable conversations. Conversations that are 10 and 20 years too late. Conversations that may not end in hugs. It may mean removing toxic people and situations from my life. Even relatives.
But you owe it to yourself. Parents, you owe it your children. Stop the cycle of dysfunction.
And in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and this Bloggers for Mental Health Awareness campaign that I’ve launched, I’m going to take some serious steps forward. Honestly? I’m terrified. But it needs to happen. I’ll discuss them more in a bit but for now…
Get some help. Please.
Dani and I did a show all about mental health awareness.
Is it scary? MAYBE
Will it change your life for the better? YES
If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, here is a great place. I’m here with you and you absolutely don’t have to do this alone.
Check out the other bloggers that participated in #BloggersForMentalHealth campaign:
- It Only Looks Like We’re Not Hurting: #BloggersForMentalHealth – Mommyvents
- Hello, My Name is…. 1 in 5 – Keta’s Kairos
- Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Undrinkable Brandy
- Suicide: How Do You Know the Signs? Where to Find Some Answers – Mom Does Reviews
- My Fight with Anxiety and Depression – Sweet Tart Beauty
- 10 Truths About Mental Health – Good Girl Gone Redneck
- Forever Broken: My Mental Health Journey – 2 Chicks and 1 Old Lady
- Anxiety: There’s No Shame in Needing Medication to be Healthy – Phyrra
- My Spouse Has Depression…What Do I Do? – South By Midwest
- 5 Reasons You Should Go To Therapy – Nesheaholic
- BiPolar and Isolation – Finding Sanity in our Crazy Life
- Let’s Talk About It: Depression and Me – Zengrrl
I’m challenging you to open up this conversation with your kids or parents. Are you ready?