Ever heard the expression, "A mother is only as happy as her saddest child?”
There are some statements that resonate as incredible truth for me, then there are those that I feel are pure bull crap. I suspect the person who coined this phrase didn't have a child with chronic depression.
Imagine someone saying, "A mother is only as healthy as her sickest child." Parents raising children dealing with mental illness are met with so many challenges. We certainly don't need people placing our ability to be happy in question. It’s like saying that a Mom who can navigate through life with peace and joy despite her circumstances is somehow insensitive or a lesser Mom.
Parents who navigate the rocky waters of depression should be applauded if they can raise children, hold down a job, run a household, enjoy marriage and a social life, all while lovingly raising a child with mental illness. What a burden my child would have felt if he thought each time he had a depressive episode that he not only had to work on his own well-being, but be responsible for mine, as well.
Moms, Dads, Sisters, Brothers, all family members and friends living with loved ones who deal with mental illness...
Let's remember, our loved ones need us to be understanding and present for them, but they are NOT the emotional thermostat for our homes. I've worked hard at NOT mirroring my son's emotional state; I encourage ALL caregivers to do the same. It's a constant struggle. I can't tell you how many times I've mustered up the strength to go out and be a social butterfly, only to have someone ask, "How are you?" and then have them NOT accept my "I'm Great" response. As well-meaning as some can be, this could cause one to feel guilty about feeling "great" thus, clipping our butterfly wings.
This Holiday season, let's dismiss the bull crap quotes and adopt Mahatma Gandhi's "Be the change that you want to see in the world."
May You and Yours Have A Happy and Joyous Holiday!!!!