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The following post is written by an incredible lady.  This grandmother is strong, amazing, supportive, a wonderful listener, a gifted storyteller, and she’s my mother.  She has watched me grow from a moody girl with a strong attitude into a moody woman with a strong attitude.

I’ve asked her previously if she would ever want to write a guest post, that she’s more than welcome to and I’d happily share it with the world.  In typical fashion, she has written something so beautifully in response to my last post of depression and anxiety that I had to share.

Let us know what you think!  Comment below!

My incredible daughter asked me if I would like to write an entry for her Blog sometime.  I have thought about it, but always felt this was her space, her avenue of emotional release from an unexpected life.  When she writes, I don’t comment, I just support.  Sara’s perceptions are her truth.

Today, I read her post on seeking help for depression. For both Sara and her husband, Phil, my precious son-in-law, life is a little different from the vast majority of people they know. AJ heads off to Pre-K and nowadays, Riley attends a medically fragile Pre-K classroom.  For Riley at school, a new teacher, new nurse, new understanding, new worries.  Doctor visits, doctors agree, doctors don’t agree…next week an MRI check-up at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami followed by a visit with NOT her regular neurosurgeon because the neurosurgeon (who we love) is on maternity leave. So, what will that mean? Different doctor, different thoughts?  Then a follow up on the same day with the neurologist (who we also love) and find out if she will still be in the trial study (free drugs) or move to the newly approved FDA drug which may or may not be covered by insurance.  Add to that, is AJ learning, is AJ receiving enough attention and the right attention…then add a corporate job for Sara and back to school for Phil and the stress associated with all that.     No wonder depression comes into play with families of a child with disabilities.

So, why would I add my two cents as Sara has already so eloquently expressed her desire for anyone that needs help to seek it?  Because it should be said over and over, it is OK to ask for help. Because people need help, they shouldn’t be afraid to get it or be afraid to talk about it. I don’t want another person to feel alone, to suffer under their burdens, to die from suicide.

I am certain my Dad had PTSD from World War II.  He was stationed in London with the 8th Air Force.  Because his not-quite-right eyesight prevented him from being in the air, he worked in the transportation corps in London. Seems like a cushy job, until you realize London got bombed every night. Then comes that one evening when he didn’t quite make it to the shelter and suffered from temporary blindness and deafness as a result of a bomb blast.  While recovering in the hospital, he received a “Dear John” letter from his first wife followed by a letter from his Uncle informing him that his Dad died. The PTSD followed him his entire life, but I didn’t really understand until I was 25. I thought he was just moody until he ended up in the Tampa VA Hospital Mental Health Unit.  I was eight months pregnant with Sara.  My conversation with my Mom went like this:

Me: “Mom, why didn’t you explain this all to me before?”

Mom: “I didn’t want to worry you.”

That was it, end of conversation. Mental health was not an appropriate topic of discussion, especially for a war veteran. My Dad came home after three weeks at the VA, different medications, much better. A different time and different perceptions.  Perception should change.  Please, please, please, talk to someone, preferably, a mental health care professional with knowledge of how to help.  Call a crisis line, find help, find help, find help.

Someone must be thinking as they read this “Bet she gets depressed.”  Yes, sometimes, I do. Sara’s Dad and I have an unexpected life as well.  I worry more than I should about every one of my children and grandchildren.  They travel, I worry; they go to school, I worry; they go to work, I worry, etc.  I desperately worry that I don’t share myself enough with my other children and grandchildren, but I am fortunate that I have the most incredible family and I am certain they are happy to share us a little more than they expected. There are the occasional times that I must shove to the back of my mind the day that I attended Sara’s doctor appointment with her and we were told that Laila was lost. I changed forever in that moment and felt my daughter change as I held her sobbing in my arms.  When I come downstairs in the mornings, I stand by Riley’s room and listen for her breathing.  Some days, I find myself thinking about what it might have been like having identical girls chasing their big brother AJ around, or playing with all their cousins.  That’s when my heart hurts and I go to my room and cry.  For me personally, I believe in quiet meditation and prayer and I pretty much do that every morning.  How I react, how I give my tears to heaven, how I can ask for help to get through difficult times is the gift I’ve been given from the morning quiet. This is just what helps me get through difficult days.  Each of us is different and there are many help-filled paths; you need to seek the right one for you. Make the call and don’t give up.

You are special and cared about.  You are not weak, you are strong.  For our family, we are #RileyStrong.

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Sara is a mother of two, wife and full-time employee. She's also a parent of a child with special needs.