“Mommy, what is that?”
“It’s Mommy’s medicine for her anxiety. It’s one of the ways that God helps me.”
Seemed like a simple response and he took the answer without having any further questions.
For some, that answer may have been sugar-coated or bypassed. For some, they may not even take medication in front of their children, especially medication that is used for a mental illness. They may hide their medicine in the closet or the top drawer of their dresser.
Because they don’t want anyone to know that they need medicine to cope every day.
But after I was thinking about this more – thinking about what I want my children to know about mental illness – it became even more important that they know my struggles. If I’m not open about it and I don’t talk about it with them, then if the day comes that they’re struggling with it too, they’re going to stay silent.
They’ll think that they’ll have to suffer in silence or that that’s just not something we talk about with other people.
They may think that people who take medication or seek help for that sort of thing, that it’s a sign of weakness.
They may even buy into the stigma that it’s a sign of weak faith and they may not be educated on the physical aspects of the brain and that mental illness is just that – an illness.
No, I don’t want any of that to happen.
If my children ever struggle with a mental illness, I want them to come to me with it and to seek help.
I want them to know that it’s okay to take medication to treat a mental illness and that it’s not something to be ashamed of.
I want them to know that God does not fault us for the things that are wrong with our bodies and that He still loves us.
I want them to know mental illness is not something to hide and that there is no reason to suffer in silence or to go at it alone.
So I’m going to keep taking my medication in front of my kids and having conversations with them as they grow up.
I’m going to continue keeping it real about mental illness.
This piece originally appeared at Her Strength & Dignity by Courtney Devich, published with permission.