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Parents:

The ones who bathe you, feed you, and change your diapers.

If they are loving parents, they kiss your hurts, teach you to ride a bike, and chase away your fears before bed.

How difficult it must be for a parent to watch their child lose parts of themselves until finally they are told that their child, the one they love, the one they had dreams for, the one that used to laugh and play, the one that they would do anything for, has a mental illness.

I can only imagine that the parent at first feels despair, and a sense of loss. All the hopes they had for their child may very well seem like they are unrealistic.

Initially, they may feel like their child will need care for the rest of their life, and maybe, their child will.

Many of us with mental illnesses struggled for years with medication, and doctors before we were given our proper diagnosis.

Many of us nearly lost our lives to our illness at least once.

Not being a parent myself, I can only imagine that mental illness is not only damaging to the person who experiences it, it is devastating to our parents.

I know there were times when my parents had to sit helplessly by and watch as my mind raged with psychosis. There was no easy fix. There was no hospital that would take me without being a danger to myself or others. There was no doctor that I trusted enough to tell my thoughts to.

They often say that growing old is not for the faint of heart, well having a mental illness, and being a parent of a person with a mental illness is for those people who are fighters.

It as if we can never give up. We all have to go! Go hard! Go fast! Go with all we’ve got. We have to punch at it and never stop punching because it doesn’t go down. There is no knock out. The bell never rings.

This is to my parents, who had to watch their baby go from an outgoing, smart, funny kid, to a troubled youth, to sometimes psychotic adult.

They never complained. Not once.