Your Child’s Mental Health Matters

Growing up Black, children didn’t have permission to have issues. We weren’t allowed to be stressed because how could a child possibly be stressed? We didn’t have to go to a 9-5 everyday, pay bills or support a family. Our “little” struggles in no way compared to what the adults were experiencing.

Growing up, the mental struggles of children were often minimized and dismissed based on the beliefs that they weren’t that serious. The minimizing of my struggles led to my first suicide attempt in 1996. Now, at that time having kids weren’t in the cards for me but once I became parent I vowed to always listen and take into consideration what my children expressed. I vowed to pay attention to the things they said and the things they didn’t say.

As cliche as it sounds, a mother always knows. God gave us a special kind of intuition that allows us to see into the souls of our children. I’ve talked about listening with your heart in a previous blog.

Fact, kids go through things and while they may seem insignificant to you, it’s a big deal to them. In my 40 plus years here on Earth, I’ve learned that we don’t get to tell people how to feel. As adults we’ve developed skills that help us to deal with issues, children are still in the molding stage.

Recently I started doing weekly mental check-ins in our family group chat. I simply text, “Mental health check-in! How y’all doing?” I give them the option of texting me individually in the event that they don’t want to share with everyone.

A few weeks ago my son expressed how school was stressing him out and how life was hard for him in the moment. He felt like he needed a mental health day, which I allowed him. Now, in addition to allowing your children moments to decompress, teaching them how to successfully deal with adversity is even more important. Life ain’t always pretty, and they have to be strong enough to deal with the not so great moments.

I had a conversation with someone recently about today’s generation of children and their inability to deal with hard situations. Can we blame them? I at times feel like we who were raised by “old school” parents have handicapped our children emotionally by trying to NOT be as hard on them as our parents were on us. Well let me speak for myself, I know I’m guilty.

Providing them a safe space that supports their mental health is important. Not making the topic taboo or linking mental health and crazy together is also important. Teaching them to talk about what they’re dealing with while you listen without judgment. The other piece of this is teaching them how to deal with problems and issues. Helping them to understand that life won’t always be favorable.

Here are three easy ways you can help your children with their mental health:

  • Have a conversation about the importance of mental health
  • Weekly check-ins or however often you feel is appropriate.
  • Incorporation of therapy if necessary.

I hope that this helps you to start healthy conversations with your children about their mental health!

Until next time…🦋

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Step Away & Breathe, but don’t Give Up

Sunday 10/13 was a day. I’d had a discussion with someone that put me in a bad headspace. Im normally strong enough to brush it off, but today was a little different. As a person who suffered for years with anxiety and depression, every now and then I’m reminded that there’s still more work to do.

After this interaction, everything began spiraling (thoughts are powerful y’all). You know those moments when you lose control and everything seems to go to shit in a hand basket real quick? Those who have suffered with anxiety and depression know exactly what I mean. One thing happens which triggers a deluge of negative thoughts.

Throughout the course of the day my children kept asking me was I okay. Now, I’m really bothered because I’ve allowed this mess to affect my exterior. Suffering with anxiety and depression as long as I did, you learn how to mask. You learn how to exist on autopilot, presenting a pseudo happy exterior, however, there are moments when the facade doesn’t work.

Remember the spiraling right? Well, earlier in the day I went into my closet to get clothes. I currently have organizational storage that I built and installed, nothing extravagant but it gets the job done. While pulling out a shirt, the bins come apart on the end. As I tried to repair it, that triggers a domino effect and half of the unit falls apart and all of my clothes fall to the floor.

I take a deep breath, put the clothes aside in nice neat folded piles and began to rebuild. As I’m reattaching the last piece, it falls apart again. Y’all, I literally screamed, threw all the clothes into a pile and cried like a baby. I had a full fledged meltdown. I gathered myself, got up, stepped away, showered and went on about my day. At that point, I had given up. I was not going to rebuild that damn thing.

It’s now late in the evening and before my children went to bed, I talked to them. Providing them clarity is important to me. We talked, said our I Love You’s and they were off to bed. I sat downstairs by myself in the quiet to go over the day. Here is what I know for sure, I’m human. Too often we are too hard on ourselves. We don’t give ourselves grace

What I learned that day:

  • I am human
  • It’s okay to no be okay
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Walk away but don’t give up
  • It’s better to face an obstacle with a clear head

Every morning I post inspirational messages on my Instagram stories, and this particular day I had to watch them for inspiration. This is one the one that helped me!

If you’re having a bad day. Allow yourself a moment, but don’t stay there.

Speaking of NOT staying there, I did indeed repair my closet. Grant it, it was about 12:30 AM on a work night, but I did repair it. I refolded all of my clothes, and put them away nicely. I didn’t give up, I did step away to breathe though.

How do you deal with breakdowns?

Until next time…🦋