It took four hours to admit my 15 year old son Bob into the psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation. It had been a long stressful day since Bob told his therapist he almost killed himself the night before. She made Bob sign a safety contract then released him to me. I tried to keep him busy and distracted, but by late afternoon he could fight no more. Bob asked me to take him to the hospital. Keep reading »

October 29, 2012, it was the perfect storm. Hurricane Sandy was coming from the south. High winds and heavy rain tormented the east coast. My 15-year-old son, Bob, was spiraling towards the psychiatric hospital with suicidal ideation. I knew about the hurricane. However, I had little appreciation of the deadly depression developing in my son’s brain. Keep reading »

I am a working mom with two challenging jobs. I’m parenting a teenage boy with mental illness and I’m an airline pilot. The parenting job is much harder. I often say I would rather land my plane in the Hudson River with no engines, than undergo the tailspin of raising a child with bipolar disorder and social anxiety. Keep reading »

Last week, my son Bob announced he is no longer playing basketball. Bob’s been playing competitively since age five and is pretty good. This year he is a junior in high school, which means varsity — his dream.

Bob made the decision to quit because basketball is “no fun” anymore. It brings about severe stress and crippling anxiety. In the past, Bob’s anxiety has led to depression and suicidal ideation.

I told my son I support him. I’m proud he made his mental health and well-being a priority. Then I went upstairs to the privacy of my bedroom and sobbed. Keep reading »

As parents of children with mental illness, we witness extremely bad behavior. We know it is not okay to be disrespectful or put holes in walls. Yet, traditional discipline methods don’t work. We become desperate for effective parenting tools for our kids.

The key is to understand what is driving the bad behavior. Is it the kid or the mental illness? Keep reading »

I worry my son will end up in jail. This is ironic because my son is a rigid rule follower. He attends a small college prep high school and plays basketball. He’s a good kid. But, he’s a good kid with a serious mental illness. Keep reading »

School refusal is the most arduous test I’ve encountered while parenting my mentally ill son. Middle school is difficult for most adolescents. Seventh grade was the worst year for me and my son Bob. That is the year he refused to go to school. Keep reading »

Yeah, I spit ‘em out. I flushed ‘em in the toilet and ran ‘em down the garbage disposal. I slid ‘em into my pockets and held ‘em under my tongue. Why? Because they make me feel normal and I hate feeling normal!

Shocking. My child with mental illness stopped taking his psychiatric medication without telling me. Keep reading »

Losing a child is a parent’s biggest fear. Mine is to lose my child to suicide. My son, Bob, lives with mental illness and has experienced suicidal ideation. He was hospitalized at age 15 when his suicidal thoughts were too strong to battle on his own. When I heard of Robin Williams’ death, I had mixed emotions.

I felt terrified because the suicide statistics for teens are dire. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-23. Roughly 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness. Keep reading »

“But he doesn’t look sick,” my daughter said. She was right. On the outside, Bob looked like any other middle school child. What his sister and the rest of the world didn’t know was that Bob had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. His psychiatrist suggested we keep Bob home from school and wrote a note stating Bob was a threat to himself and others. Now I had to explain this to Bob, his sister and the rest of the world. Keep reading »