To the People Who Embrace My Daughter: Depression, Anxiety, and All

Words barely express the ways your actions have breathed life into my daughter. Movement into unknown territory involves risks. Your willingness to do that does not go unnoticed. Connecting with her isn’t easy. I know that. As you know, she’s not one of those outgoing social butterfly types. She’s an observer. In addition, her mental illness, makes identifying and controlling emotions challenging. She realizes the impact of her actions and words, yet, managing the whirlwind within becomes difficult at times.

By inviting her into your space, you moved beyond the walls of fear that easily keep us from engaging. with those who seem different from ourselves. Sometimes the fears are rooted in real experiences,yet, each of us has our own narrative. You have demonstrated to others that learning how to give and receive support is a significant life skill. There is no “us” and “them.” Everyone faces their own struggles.

We, her parents, are walking in unfamiliar territory. We have gleaned much about the way our society values others as well as the assumptions aimed toward families who don’t capture the “All American Dream.” Stigmas and fear feed the perceptions of parents whose children’s disabilities appear “fixable.” When behavioral and emotional issues manifest themselves, the journey becomes a lonely one for the whole family.

You have witnessed the storm of emotions blow out of her with a breath-taking pace. Out of her mouth, harsh words may have been hurled in your direction. Yet, you saw that she was more than those utterances. The open invitation to your home created a refuge and gave her purpose. How could you have known that her desire to conquer an 8 hour day of cognitive and emotional difficulties was rooted in the reward of spending time with your family? Thank you for loving her unconditionally.

To those unsung heroes at school, you are appreciated more than you can grasp. Her struggles impact our whole family. As parents, we transport, cajole, and encourage her to embrace the school day. But the reality is that some days, we all feel wiped out my 9:00 am.

How do you fight the clutches of anxiety/depression which attempt to pull your child back into bed? Some days, the nuances of battle were apparent. She arrived with eyes, swollen and puffy. But you welcomed her nonetheless and let her sit. Sometimes, you even provoked a smile and a laugh. You far exceed your job expectations.

Thank you for loving my child. Whether you welcomed her with a simple gesture or invested time with her, your kindness reaps a harvest in her soul.

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4 thoughts on “To the People Who Embrace My Daughter: Depression, Anxiety, and All

  1. mareedee2016

    People who will love our chidren with mental illness are sometimes few and far between. I get it, it is scary, one doesn’t’ know how to help and so they do nothing. I too have done this in other situations but have now learned through my own experiece to step out more even when I don’t know what to do.
    Every once in awhile someone amazing comes along and loves my child and it brings tears of joy to my eyes and my heart. They can see what I see, that my child is worth loving. That my child is full of amazing qualiites like love, compassions, strength and more. To me these special people are like angels on earth and I am forever grateul.
    But what is so cool is that not only is my child blessed, I find the person who is willing to invest in my child ends up being blessed too.

  2. Traci

    You write about your appreciation with such emotion. I don’t experience the gratefulness in quite the same way you do because our circumstances are different, but I realize more and more that our children’s teachers are a tremendous gift. I’m so glad you’ve found those who will bring out the very best in your sweet little girl!

    1. Stephanie Post author

      Traci, I don’t know your circumstance but I can tell you that the people who have supported us are in the minority. There is a long season of parenting which consisted of judgement and unhelpful interaction. That’s why I am so grateful for those who step out to enter an uncomfortable/unknown situation and want to know how to help. I hope you find more support.


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