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To the Mom Who Thinks She Failed Me and My Mental Health

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Let me start this off with this statement:

You did not fail me.

Neither of us were given the choice to get rid of my mental illnesses. As much as I know you would’ve loved to have a child who didn’t constantly worry or check everything multiple times, I wouldn’t be me without these habits.

I vividly remember the conversation we had at the dinner table when I was home from college. Just a casual talk surrounding how school was going and how life was.

We laughed for an hour or so talking about different topics. Everything from old memories to what was going on around town.

Until we got on the topic about my mental health. Ever since I found out about my anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), we’ve tended to steer away from the conversation. Always worried someone would say the wrong thing or possibly offend someone.

We discussed how after I found out about my illnesses I was never placed into therapy and haven’t taken any medication. There have been times where I wish I was placed into therapy to help me cope at points in my life. But most times, I’m content where I am.

At the table you said the one thing I never wanted to hear from my mother:

“I feel like I failed you by not getting you the help you needed.” 

You know I’ve never been good with change. Growing up I was used to finding my own coping mechanisms to get through the anxiety attacks and constant compulsions. So the thought of therapy terrified me.

As an only child, and with it being just you and I my whole life, I was used to my independence. I never tried to rely on other people or tell them about my issues. It terrified me to ask others for help. I would rather help out others than myself.

What I love most about our conversations surrounding my mental health is that you show how much you care. Taking the time to ask how I’m feeling and what you can do for me every time I’m struggling is the best thing you can do for me as my mother.

That is not a mother who failed me. That is someone who taught me what it means to show compassion and love to someone going through a tough time.

So please do not blame yourself for something that didn’t happen years ago.

It has never been your fault and never will be.

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Lead image via contributor

Originally published: January 14, 2018
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