This story is part of a blog series called, “Your Story: a conversation on mental and emotional health and disabilities.” Please read with a heart open and understanding -free of judgement.
Please be aware that the interviewee mentions her dad’s struggle with depression and disordered sleeping. If this topic affects you in any way please stop reading, talk with a someone you trust, or contact a mental health professional immediately. You may also call the Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).
A Note On Editing
Minor changes were made to the interview to bring clarity to the reader.
Let me Introduce you to…
This story is shared by a loving daughter about watching her father struggle.
I think it’s important to note a few things here. First: mental and emotional health struggles and disabilities do not discriminate between age, gender, sexual orientation, race, spirituality, family history, financial independence, level of education, or anything else. Second: I think men, especially, are more prone to suffer in silence. Within our society as American’s, we have trained and raised our sons to become strong men, hard working and protectors; men who don’t show their emotions for fear of being called sissy’s.
Even though, it was incredibly difficult for this daughter to grow up in a home where her father struggled with depression, I am grateful to know that he was able to find support and love within his family.
How did their mental/emotional health impact your relationship?
It made us distant for a good chunk of my childhood. But, now, he is in a good spot, and he helps me with my own issues.
What symptoms or behaviors do you notice in the individual who struggles with mental/emotional health challenges and disabilities?
Totally giving into depression. He would sleep all day then wake up late at night and stay awake until early in the morning and then go back to sleep. I would not see him for days it felt like and he was out of it when I did talk to him.
Did you have an intervention, a conversation, or receive a “plea for help” with this individual? And if so how did you respond?
No, it was just how Dad was.
Do you feel that you’ve played a role in their treatment and healing process? If so, how?
Yes. I remember when he started eating dinner with us again. I would also watch movies with him. My favorite was that, for a while, we would take walks together and just talk.
Has this experience made you more aware of those around you who may also be struggling? And if so, what actions are you taking to be there for love and support?
Yes! It makes me more understanding of people when they cancel plans or do not want to hang out. I let them have space, but I also make sure they know I care.
How do you cope with the bad days, flare ups, and ups and downs in their mental/emotional health?
I let him know that I love him, and I remind myself that it will be ok.
What advice would you give someone who is witnessing the mental/emotional struggles of someone they love?
You need to be patient not just with them but with yourself; you cannot always help them. You cannot do the work for them. You can help, but they need to want to change and work on healing themselves.
Is there anything else you want to say about this experience of witnessing and caring for someone with mental/emotional health struggles?
It’s a long hard process to heal, and there will always be scars.
Thank you for sharing!
Continuing The Conversation
Feel free to continue the conversation on mental and emotional health in the comments below. But please understand that your comments are being moderated and will be deleted if they are hurtful, hateful, or inappropriate in any way. This is a safe space to share your story about mental and emotional health and disabilities and find support. Please do what you can to keep it as such.
A Note For Readers
If you feel inspired to share your story, please click here to be taken to the introductory post where you will learn where the inspiration for this blog series came from as well as how to participate.