This post has been brought to you in partnership with T-Mobile, but as usual, all opinions are my own.
Looking at the smiles above, you almost won’t believe the story I’m about to tell. I’ve been hesitant to share the deeply personal story of my family’s mental health journey. Today I’m going to talk about my son’s mental health struggles since Covid, hoping to help other families and Stop The Mental Health Stigma.
Stop The Mental Health Stigma
My son, a happy, cheerful, smart teen asked us to help find him professional help after struggling with his mental health a few years ago. The request shocked us – me in particular.
Though I always knew my son to be a happy easy-going child, I suddenly noticed his demeanor becoming hostile. This was after a number of personal disappointments he encountered at school and with his sports team. When COVID hit and lockdowns started, my son had the added hardship of switching schools, and it caused a snowball effect on his already delicate state of mind. He was exhibiting signs of depression and severe anxiety.
It is a long story, but I really want to emphasize the importance of not neglecting someone’s needs or mental health state and looking for professional help.
Covid delayed the process, combined with my disbelief that my happy, precious son could even have something like depression.
Though therapy has been so important, it’s not an easy road. It’s a journey filled with both ups and downs during treatment.
I commend my son for being brave enough to ask for help, but I think it’s important to be honest that it also is hard as a mother to see their child struggle. There have been times when I think he doesn’t see all the love I have for him.
These are just some parts of our story. We’re still on the journey to heal as a family.
While it was difficult to hear him admit he thought he needed help and my love wasn’t enough, I’m so grateful he shared his feelings with us, otherwise I would never have known that he experienced such extreme suffering.
The seemingly happy, cheerful boy was hurting and was experiencing intensely dark periods in his life due to social issues. I often ask myself how things changed so drastically, and it’s been a difficult journey for me to even understand at times.
We (my husband and I) were completely unaware of what was going on. We didn’t see the signs, I only saw the son I always thought of him as, and he has said that was difficult for him as well.
I’ve lived my life as a mother, working 40+ hours/week to keep him in private school, sports, piano lessons and choir and all that he manifested interest in.
My husband and I always went above and beyond to support my son’s dreams, giving him all that we could to make sure he had the best opportunities. I think it’s easy for parents to think these are the things that equate happiness. But mental health does not always work that way.
It’s easy to criticize myself in retrospect. Looking back, I wish I had been less of a helicopter mom, less busy doing things and paid more attention to his feelings and what was going on with him.
But we’re moving on with the healing process, not trying to blame ourselves and trying instead to find a way to support his future happiness and understand his healing journey. What I know now is that we need to help him just by staying by his side, letting him find his peace and path to happiness, along with the professionals who continue to support him.
Trust me, if it happened in our family, it can happen with anyone.
That is why I want to use my space and my story to raise awareness in May, during Mental Health Month, hoping to help families break the stigma, pay closer attention to their kids and seek help and healing, if needed, to support loved ones. Since going through our journey, I have learned about so many who weren’t as lucky as us in terms of finding the resources needed for those who are struggling.
This is why I was so affected by a story about a T-Mobile Employee I recently read about who is in charge of communicating how the company is mobilizing for communities during times of crises. Those crises aren’t just physical ones like natural disasters, but personal mental health crises as well. It was heartbreaking to read about how the loss of her brother to suicide after his long struggle with depression made her so devoted to getting the word out about something called the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Have you ever heard about it?
You can check out her video testimonial here:
Something she said in her interview really resonated with me:“They say grief after loss never goes away, right? Four years later, I’m still trying to find ways to cope with that grief. But getting stronger at handling it over time.”
Today besides sharing my story, I am joining forces with T-Mobile to share this important resource:
Did you now that in 2020, T-Mobile became the first major wireless provider to make the 988 emergency lifeline immediately available to its customers, which offers real-time mental health services? Calling 988 connects customers to free mental health services from professionally trained counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, now the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
In 2022, T-Mobile announced that those customers can also text for that same critical support, too.
Studies show that those who reached out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a counselor. This service, available to any T-Mobile, Sprint, Metro by T-Mobile and Assurance Wireless customer, removes barriers to accessing help.
Let’s together share this great resource, which can potentially save a life!
Save for later:
I can’t wait to hear what you think about my story and the resource we shared to help Stop The Mental Health Stigma.
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