A couple of weeks ago (boy time does fly) this blog turned One Year old. It passed with very little fanfare and unfortunately without even a small celebration. Real life, as it is said, had gotten in the way. However, the anniversary of my first blog post is really something to celebrate and even more so, it is a great time to sit back and take inventory of the past 12 months.
A lot can happen in a year. Isn’t that the truth? As I look back over the past 12 months since Far From Paradise was launched, I recognize much personal growth and healing. I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from other bloggers, parents and social media friends who are also experiencing life changing events. I am forever grateful for the lives touched and for those who have touched mine during this first year!
One thing that I can say for certain is that life is a series of never ending lessons and adventures. It’s a roller coaster of joy and sorrow. Riding up to the crest with my heart full open and then plummeting into the abyss where I want nothing more than to pull the covers over my head and wait for a sunnier day. I have learned that things don’t stay the same forever. The pain will subside as will the fear. It is a moment in time. All of life is truly a moment in time anyway. Worrying about the current issues, past regrets or future unknowns doesn’t really do anything but waste energy and time. I’m grateful to look back over the past 12 months and see much less time I “wasted” engulfed in my pain, fear and darkness. Don’t let me fool you; there were definitely moments where I did allow myself to become engulfed. It seems to me though, that there were many more moments when I didn’t. Sure, I am still concerned for my son’s health and well-being, but I also recognize that he is of an age where he needs to find his way. I cannot “control” his path. I cannot make him feel better. The path and the decisions he makes along the way are his to make and choose.
Of course, I will continue to be here for my son and I hope he knows that my door is always open to him as is my heart.
My experience supporting my son through the past couple of years has really opened my eyes to the ways in which mental health care needs to be reformed. I have learned that there is so much more that needs to be done to ensure people who are experiencing mental health related situations receive the care they need; and perhaps not surprisingly, the system is broken not just for the patient but for the caregivers as well.
Some days this knowledge overwhelms me. Some days it makes my heart break, especially when I hear stories of other parents/caregivers who have lost a child or young adult to suicide due in part to the systemic flaws of the current mental health system. There are other days, though, where I truly feel hopeful, where I see and hear about the facilities and programs that work. This reinforces my commitment to affect change where I can, however I can and as often as I can.
I look forward to the next 12 months, sharing my journey with you and with a little luck providing information that will make your day just a little more hopeful.
Please feel free to email me your thoughts and recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can always send me an email with any questions regarding this information or any other mental health system question/inquiry.
I’m also on Twitter @farfrmparadise