Teenagers struggling with mental illness is a problem that my family is all too familiar with. This week there was a senseless school shooting in Florida on Valentine’s Day. Tragically, 17 students were killed and many more wounded. My heart hurts for those families — the Lord is hearing all my prayers and knowing all my thoughts. YIKES!! I cannot hide my inside anger from God, so needless to say more prayer is needed.
People are questioning on the news why parents are not getting help for their mentally ill teenagers. HELLO, families are trying!! My family (like many other families) has a teenager that is struggling with mental illness. Our 13-year-old daughter, K.J., has been diagnosed with teenage schizophrenia, bi-polar AND schizoaffective disorder. Yeah, that is as dangerous as it sounds!
K.J. has always been in a world unknown to anyone but herself (well at least since she arrived home at three years of age after her adoption from Haiti). She communicates with “voices” that no one else can hear and her behavior is dangerous and unexplainable. When she was young, her doctors referred to her “voices” as imaginary friends and had hopes that “they” would go away. Well “they” did not — actually it continues to intensify as she gets older. 🙁
My heart for all that visit my blog is that you leave feeling edified and encouraged with hope through Jesus Christ. When it comes to mental illness, I am left struggling to find the right words. I wish I had amazing discoveries that derived from all our time and huge financial investment that we poured into this topic. I would love to be listing a team of professionals that are dedicated in helping mentally ill teenagers. My heart’s desire would be to bring relief and protection for that poor family that is being privately tormented and abused by their sick family member.
But here I am typing with none of that to offer. My daughter has no relief and as much as she is being internally tormented, she works overtime to openly make sure everyone around her feels her pain. She is working closely with a new physician that is trying different medications to break the psychosis; however, to no avail (as of yet).
The more we reach out for help, the more we discover we are “medically” alone. We discover that the only solution that “professionals” and “authorities” have are the parents. We get beautiful words of encouragement that she is right where she needs to be, around family that cares and works hard to help her … blah, blah, blah. They are also very sorry that our family has to go through this … blah, blah, blah but in the end we walk out with more confusion than we walked in with.
Our “wordly” help has been greatly disappointing due to the lack of resources; however, God never has anything going on down here on earth that he didn’t address in His Word. So to that Mama that is reading this and is going through that private pain, this is for you. This battle is too big for you! Cast your cares and worries onto the Lord — He is the only one big enough to shoulder this mess.
God has already given instructions that we are to take care of the “least of these”. So sweet Mama, roll up your sleeves, you are in full-time ministry! Learn to contain the situation. What does that mean? Your sick loved one will destroy everything in their path and guess what? You’re in their path. My K.J. sure can steal small moments of my day, but never do I empower her to steal my joy or my whole day. I have learned to contain the situation and recognize that this is her illness, not mine.
Finally, don’t forget to pray — you will learn quickly the meaning of praying without ceasing. Living with a loved one suffering from schizophrenia is so humbling — pride goes out the door! My family has learned so many life lessons on how to handle embarrassing situations with grace, dignity and a sense of humor. Smile, sometimes that is all you have left. 🙂
For the love of those struggling with mental illness,