There are times that the mental illness or addiction of a loved one leaves you completely and utterly unable to act. Immobile. Stunned. Catatonic.
You are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start so you shut down completely. You just want all of it to go away. There are too many layers to tackle. Too many problems you can’t solve. Many times your loved one is not compliant either, making it that much more difficult.
You are so worried about hiding your ugly family secret, you start to implode and unknowingly make the situation worse. You are so secretive, you cannibalize your own support network because friends and family feel shut out. You develop an armor so impenetrable, no one can get in. And many times, someone does want in. They want to offer you support without judgement.
But you are too stubborn and too proud to accept it or seek it.
I have a news flash for you. You can’t fix this. You are not qualified. So I have to ask. Why are you going this alone? Why are you suffering alone? Why do you think that “being strong” means isolating yourself?
Asking for help or seeking a support group is an act of courage. And I want you to dig deep and find that now.
Your child’s problems are not the result of your inability to parent. I’ve known fantastic parents who’ve had children who struggled with mental illness, addiction or both. The finest people I know I have lost children to suicide or overdose.
Human beings were not meant to fold up like napkins and live on deserted islands. We were meant to be there for one another. We were meant to connect. And by not doing so, you are denying yourself a basic human right. Connection nurtures the soul. And if ever there was a time when you needed that, it’s now.
What I’m saying is that you need help, too. This is hard. Watching someone self destruct, go off the rails and get in trouble is awful. Watching someone take life-threatening risks is like walking on glass in bare feet. It’s torture.
You are basically ineffective if you have no resources from within to draw upon. And that’s what happens when connecting with others. You’ll never find it in a vacuum. You find that in a a support system– whether it’s a counselor or a support group.
I’m a big proponent of support groups because they are actively using resources in the community and I can’t tell you what mine meant to me. How they were there for me in a crisis.
I was once frozen, too. I know that overwhelming feeling. So find help for you.
All the best,