To My Family: 'Thank You' Isn't Enough, so Please Accept This From Me

To My Family:

Who don’t we thank enough? “Parents” may be a common answer to this question. But for many teenagers, their ignorant response may be a little different (and I am guilty of having been a “difficult” one!).

Writing this now as an independent 28-year-old, all I can say is this: If I could go back in time and actually listen to one thing you said, it would be to “trust you.” You were right. I wasn’t going to understand you then. In fact, anything you said sometimes went in one ear and came out the other with the exact opposite meaning. But I needed to trust that there was a method to your madness. There was a reason you raised me the way you did.

Having a child in psychotherapy takes a toll on an entire family. It takes a toll on everyone in their lives. Looking back, it must have been like having two kids for the price of one. When I was a child and experiencing OCD, there were good days and bad days. And the days changed so quickly you probably wondered, “Where did my child go? Where did my sister go? She and her bubbly self were just here yesterday.” Now, I wish I trusted you through every up and every down and believed you when you said, “This, too, shall pass.”

four women in warm jackets

Reflecting back now, there is no word in the dictionary that would come close to adequately expressing how I feel for my parents and family; however, “unconditional” comes pretty close. Because that is what they are. No matter what I did or what mental state I was in that day, they never closed the door on me, and they always strived to teach me, to instill hope and to trust them — even at times when it seemed like they were speaking a foreign language to me.

There is never a day that I don’t get out of bed in the morning now and thank God for them. Whether you’re religious or not, my advice to anyone young and struggling would be to give your loved ones who are trying to help you the benefit of the doubt. I know it’s not easy. But at the very least, don’t give up on the trust they have for you because this unconditional love will never go away. This love has nowhere to go, but to follow you and be a reminder that you are not alone and never will be.

One billion thank-yous will never be enough, but at the very least, please now accept my trust in you and that I can admiringly look back and see your trust and faith that you always had in me — no matter what.

I love you forever and always,


The Mighty is celebrating the people we don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please submit a 400- to 800-word thank you note along with a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].

Want to end the stigma around mental illness? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The Note I Gave My Brother After He Locked Himself in the Bathroom

“Collin, if you don’t stop folding your dirty laundry, I swear I’m going to smack you.” My brother and I burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of our mother’s violent comment. Her empty threat, which to an outsider might sound strange and even cruel, for us was dark comedy in its highest form—a precious light [...]

I Faked Happiness Every Day. Then a Drug Addiction Story Saved Me.

From the viewpoint of anyone else on this planet, I had the world. I was a Villanova cheerleader, had a graduate degree, countless friends and family, vacation home on the Vineyard, Kappa Kappa Gamma… the list goes on. While it may seem to many people that the most difficult question I would face every day [...]

Don't Say You Have OCD Just Because You Like Things Clean

People have developed this habit of saying “I’m so OCD about BLANK.” They say it because they like their bedrooms clean, they say it because they don’t want their foods to touch on their plate, they say it because they make sure to brush their teeth every night before bed without fail. They say it [...]

Opening and Closing Doors Repetitively Won't Keep People From Dying

When my roommate jokingly said I should start this piece with, “You down with OCD? Yeah you know me!” I initially thought it couldn’t be quite as terrible as my urge to drop an “Arrested Development” reference by calling it The O.C. Disorder (don’t call it that). It’s still pretty cheesy, but it’s easier to [...]