You might have noticed that my blog has been pretty quiet of late. Many of you have asked if we are ok; it’s nice to know that we have been missed. For the most part, I’ve brushed it off, but when the harsh realities of life hit you square between the eyes, you need time to process it and that is what we’ve been doing this last week.
For quite some time, my eldest daughter has been struggling. It has been difficult to put my finger on how or why exactly, but I’ve felt increasingly uneasy about her wellbeing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – a mother’s instinct is rarely wrong.
Although she was initially reluctant, I pushed for her to get some help in December of last year and she agreed to visit the GP. Sadly, with the NHS being what it is, her situation wasn’t deemed bad enough for her to receive immediate help, so we were shunted to the back of the queue, along with thousands of other adolescents (and their families) in desperate need of help.
Thankfully we were in a position to seek out a private therapist. Although wonderful…in his words he wasn’t ‘enough’ for her and on Thursday of this week, our brave girl was voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric unit to get the help that she needs. Having successfully masked anxiety for many years, the ‘powers that be’ finally heard her quiet voice that inside had been screaming all this time.
If you’re shocked by this news then imagine how we feel – parents who have done everything we can to support our determined, strong, high-achieving, energetic daughter. We have spent hours agonising over where we went wrong, what we missed and the reasons why this has happened to her. It’s taken us a while, but we’ve now realised that depression does not discriminate when choosing its victims. There are no simple answers to the ‘whys’ right now and there probably never will be.
On Monday, she was offered the choice of trying to tackle it at home, surrounded by her family and with the help of medication, or in a hospital that will offer her 24-hour safety and all the psychiatric support that she needs. Despite knowing that she may not be able to take the GCSEs that she has worked so hard for, that she will not be attending her Year 11 Prom and will definitely forgo the life-changing trip to Nepal she was due to go on in July, she opted for the latter.
When your child looks you in the eyes and says ‘you can’t help me, I need professionals’, it is soul destroying. Aren’t parents supposed to be able to do everything for their children? Protect them from any harm? We’ve been on the most horrendous journey these last seven days but have finally realised that it’s time to let go and allow the professionals to take over.
So why am I sharing this with you; many of whom are total strangers? Well firstly, because I find writing a release. Of course I need to consider my child’s feelings, but somehow I think my second reason overrides that and she would support it wholeheartedly – mental health is not taken seriously enough and the taboo surrounding it needs to be lifted.
My daughter has nothing to be ashamed of and neither do we. Depression is an illness that can attack anyone at any time. The more I’ve shared with people, the more depression sufferers have come to the fore. The success stories have been an absolute comfort and strength. I hope that one day, our story will be the same for somebody else.