As its World Mental Health Day, I thought it was about time that I shared my own mental health story.
I have always tried to be genuine and honest in everything I say and do and I hope by sharing just a tiny bit of my life, it will help others in a similar position to know they are not alone even though our path through parenthood may be different.
Being a parent is hard. But when you are an adoptive parent, life can be tremendously tough.
Absolutely nothing prepared me for the impact trauma would have on me and my little family. I’ve needed resilience by the bucket load and sometimes even then that’s not enough. You feel disconnected from the world, because there’s stuff going on that I never thought in a million lifetimes I’d ever have to deal with. Stuff that’s shaken me to my core and ultimately changed who I am and will continue to affect me whilst we are on this journey.
At lot has changed in the thinking about adoption associated trauma in the 4 years since we became parents, and this is very slowly changing the way families are supported.
I have secondary trauma. I’m exhausted from having to fight for the right kind of help and support. I have lost friends along the way, and find it hard to make new friends because my child needs to be parented differently. Not everyone agrees with our approach, some think if we just hold him that bit tighter and love him that bit more then everything will be ok. And whilst that sounds lovely, in reality it doesn’t work. So we’ve had to adjust to a life of missing out on celebrations, missed work opportunities, going to the pub with friends, to a social circle that at times just includes the two of us. By no means is this the complete story but a snapshot of our lives. We are battle scarred but surviving – just.
So last month I made a choice. I chose not to let this consume me. I chose happiness. I chose to have faith in myself, to be positive, calm and happy. I’m determined to take things one day at a time, focussing on my choice and encouraging myself to twinkle again.