Today is World Mental Health Day and almost nine years to the day since DDH came into our lives, turned it upside down, Inside out and shocked me to the core, taking us on a journey I’m not sure we quite survived.
That is nine years of pain and appointments for my son and immense bravery too. From the tiny baby who went into a harness and then went onto to have endless operations and spending months in casts and wheelchairs, using bottles to wee in and frames to walk with.
As a parent you want to do all you can to take away their suffering and pain and that can lead to huge anxiety and stress.
Appointments and battles to be had, recovery periods and nights watching them struggle on hospital wards while you count down until the morphine kicks in and the screaming stops.
I’ll be honest. My mental health suffered as a result of this path. Anxiety and panic attacks became the norm. I’d cry for the healthy baby I didn’t get and worry for the toddler who was taken from pillar to post but still smiled and came along for the ride. A business closed, friends lost, and even the strongest relationships put to the test as the ongoing challenges of this chronic condition kept coming back and kicking us just when we thought Lucas was on the mend.
No, he wasn’t going to die and yes, people told me I was making a big deal out the situation, but when it is your child, your family and your life, that isn’t going to help, it is simply going to make things worse.
I got through it, all four of us have, but while our photos on the beach and snaps of Dotty running wild (usually in poo) show the happy side of life, I hope this is proof that you never show it all, especially when you are at breaking point and you don’t want anyone to know just how tough things really are.
We feel the need to put on a show, to be perfect and with the pressure of social media, no one wants to admit that life can be hard, as well as really good fun.
Don’t let mental health get the better of you, don’t suffer in silence and don’t think people won’t understand, because if you choose the right people, they will.
It takes guts, I know that, but reach out, talk to someone, and start to unravel the problems you are facing and see where you can start to make the small changes that can have a big impact.
I am so sad to keep watching the news, scrolling through FB and reading posts that someone else has taken their life, that is has all got to much, that they saw no other way out.
I wish that we could use today to start to accept this isn’t something to be hidden any longer and it doesn’t make us weak, it actually makes us human.