Studies suggest as special needs parents we’re more likely to struggle with mental health issues, yet this is something that is really hard to talk about. Nobody wants to be the one dealing with depression, anxiety, or trauma, but we do. This is a conversation we need to have. Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need to know that we are not alone, and other people struggle too.
This is an episode you do not want to miss . We share openly and honesty, because we want you to know you are not alone, and we want you to find hope and encouragement in the journey.
Join Erin and me as we interview Gillian Marchenko, author of, Still Life: Living Fully With Depression, about mental health issues in special needs parents.
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Notes from the show:
Studies suggest special needs parents are more likely to have mental health issues. This is not to suggest our children cause us to have mental health issues, but the challenges we face can bring out some of those tendencies. The chronic, on-going, on-call, adrenaline filled days that never end can turn into something more serious. Not only that, but many special needs parents experience trauma because of medical complications their children have to endure (and the kids do too!).
Mental illness is the second leading cause of disability. 1 out of 4 people have a mental illness. For women, 1 out of 5 women will struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives. It is a lot more common than people think.
We do not realize how prevalent it is because people keep quiet because of the stigma.
Clinical or situational depression is not the same as feeling really sad.
The signs of depression are different for everyone, but when they last for more than four weeks and they interfere with our ability to interact with life, we are at a point in life when we need help.
Sometimes we hold on for so long that when we can finally let go we fall apart.
Some women feel like they are bad moms because of how their mental illness affects them, but that is not true, there is a difference between a bad mom and a sick mom.
Mental health issues can amplify with our life’s circumstances.
You feel what you feel, and you have to work through it.
Getting the help you need looks different for everyone, it could be medication, support groups, therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, reach out to people and create authentic friendships, exercise, diet.
Nobody has the time for life overhauls, sometimes small changes can really make a difference, it is something.
You are worth it! To be who you need to be for your family you need to take care of yourself and do something about any mental health issues you have. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your family is put yourself first.
Taking care of ourselves is not a selfish thing to do.
Mental health illness is a family illness. It affects everyone in the family, your friends, your church.
Mental health issues can affect our marriage too. Not everyone has a spouse who is supportive or understanding. This is why if you feel like you do not have a teammate, getting help is so important.
We are made for community. Sometimes our inclination is to move inward, rather than move outward and ask for help.
We all have individual journeys, but we all have to start the journey.
Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully With Depression (affiliate link)
Sun Shine Down (affiliate link)
Still Life: Book excerpt 1, When Mom Is Home But Absent
Still Life: Book excerpt 2, Praying With Depression
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