My Mama Has A Mental Illness

Parenting a teenager is tough. But doing it while you battle mental illness is a hundred times harder. I’m not looking for sympathy or pity by making that statement because a lot of others have a tougher time at parenting too. Like the parent that is in a wheelchair, or who battles cancer, there are always challenges and obstacles that we have to overcome just to live, let alone raise decent human beings.

I have Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression. I struggle to manage emotions and maintain a healthy lifestyle in my day to day life. I’m supposed to be setting a good example for my teen to follow, but there are times that I’m simply unable to do it. For example, when dealing with conflict, I become anxious and agitated and I worry about how my teen will herself respond to conflict in her life. I suffer from very low self esteem, while constantly striving to raise hers so she won’t face some of the same pain that I spent years dealing with. Sometimes I even believe that I’m a hypocrite because I don’t always practice what I preach and I can understand why sometimes my teen just doesn’t listen to my guidance.

This is all normal parenting stuff and everyone struggles at some point to cope with a headstrong child, but I wonder If they ever spend their time agonizing over how horrible they are as a parent? Do they lose themselves in overwhelming emotion?

Managing my illness requires a great deal of self care and saying no to things I simply cannot do. And yep, every time I say no, I feel guilt and shame for not loving my child. Intellectually, I think I’m doing a good job as a parent, but mentally I have a hard time believing that. Whenever my teen and I have a conflict, I immediately blame myself for the situation and I worry that she will think that’s how others think. I want her to know the value of compromise and negotiating and to be respectful of others needs but I worry I don’t role model that for her.

Yep, parenting a teen is tough. The only thing any of us can do is love them through their own confusion – mentally ill or not.


About wendyenberg

Living the best life I can with BPD, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and PTSD. Mental illness won't stop me from achieving my dreams - it will inspire me to keep fighting harder.
This entry was posted in marriage and children, mental illness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My Mama Has A Mental Illness

  1. This is very powerful. I have BPD myself and when I think about having a child all the things you mentioned are things I know I will do and am scared it will make me a bad parent. You sound like you understand your illness and your roll as a parent though 🙂

    • wendyenberg says:

      Thanks. I wasn’t diagnosed with BPD until more recently in my life. I believe that I would have been a much more effective parent if I had an awareness of my illness in the beginning. Remember that despite having BPD I have been as good a parent as I could be and I have instilled the core values like love and kindness and my children do love me. Having a mental illness doesn’t diminish our capacity to be loving and wonderful and competent parents.

  2. Peggy Nesbitt says:

    Powerful message. All parents are doing the best they can do each day. Having succeeded raising 3teens now that are adults over 25 and are doing well with working and their social life. Times were tough when they were teens. But even with my disability they saw perseverance every day. Now that’s a good legacy to give to your kids. They will need that in the future.

  3. wendyenberg says:

    Reblogged this on wendyenberg's Blog and commented:

    Round two of the battle with the headstrong mini-me! Hold on! It’s gonna be a wild ride!

  4. Theo says:

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, except before ending I
    am reading this fantastic post to improve my experience.

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