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Mental Health Awareness Month || Is parenting really difficult for the mentally ill?
I am blessed with two adorable children. Together, they make my world beautiful and often times I find myself caught in the middle of how to discipline them and love them without being too soft or overly strict.
I have since learned that parenting is one skill you don’t pick up from a shop or borrow from a loved one. It is my firm belief that it is a skill many are not born with and a lot of people are lacking in that gifting. If parenting can be overwhelming for persons who have never been mentally ill, how do you think it would be for parents who have been mentally ill in the past or who are managing a mental illness? Being a mother of two young children and also a person living with bipolar disorder, I have had to accept the challenge and remain committed to being a better parent each day. Being a parent makes me a better person. I know that two people look up to me and I am determined not to fail them.
For me, the toughest part of being a parent and living with bipolar disorder is the misunderstanding I sometimes receive from friends and loved ones when I do not meet their expectations of who a good parent is. This sometimes results from my ignorance of the ‘generally accepted parenting myths’ or from my inability to manage my emotions and manage the children during a mood swing.
Usually, my first instinct is to ask for help when I find myself in a mood swing situation. In asking for help, I gain time to recover and get back to the right state of mind to manage my children.
So please the next time a parent disclose their mental health status to you, please know that it is not because they want to abscond from their responsibility or because they need your pity, they disclose because they need your help. They need you to understand their struggles so that you can offer creative solutions for them. These solutions are met to be stigma free and have the wellbeing of the child/children at its core.
We all have a role to play to #curethestigma of mental illness in our world.