My mother with mental illness died last week. She was 85 years old. Here I share my recollection of being raised by a mother with mental illness. Keep reading »

Raising siblings of children with mental illness is challenging. My husband and I have spent so much energy on my 17-year-old son Bob who lives with bipolar disorder and social anxiety, his younger sister, Hannah, is sometimes neglected. Hannah, the sibling of a child with mental illness, has witnessed multiple crises in our family. She has been the trigger or target of her brother’s outbursts. It is no wonder she is struggling with mental health issues of her own. Keep reading »

Today, I write a letter to my son with a mental illness on this Mother’s Day:

Seventeen years ago today, on Mother’s Day, your dad and I climbed on an airplane and flew half-way around the world to adopt you. Back home, your nursery had a crib, toys and baby clothes. On the plane, we had a diaper bag, stroller and baby food. In our hearts we had dreams, hopes and excitement for the baby who would make us a family.

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Self-care is critical for parents raising children living with mental illness. As parents, we tend to put our child’s needs ahead of our own. This doesn’t work. I’ve put together a list of eight self-care tips for parents of children with mental illness. Keep reading »

Traveling with a child with mental illness presents unique challenges. My son, Bob, lives with bipolar disorder and social anxiety. Traveling used to be so difficult we avoided it altogether. Now, after years of learning the hard way, I can offer some tips for traveling with a child with mental illness. Keep reading »

Have you ever wondered what to say to a parent of a child with mental illness? As a parent of a 17-year-old with bipolar disorder and social anxiety, I have. In this blog I will offer ideas of what to say to a parent of a child with mental illness. Keep reading »

Have you ever wondered what not to say to a parent of a child with mental illness? Every day I hear insensitive remarks about my child’s mental illness. I don’t believe the people making these comments know how hurtful they are to me. It recently occurred to me that most people probably don’t know what to say or what not to say to a parent of a child with mental illness. Perhaps that is why they say exactly the wrong thing. So I’ve put together some guidelines of what not to say to a parent of a child with mental illness. Keep reading »

There is a difference between a mood disorder in a teenager and teenage moodiness. My teenage son, Bob, lives with bipolar disorder, the monster of all mood disorders in teens. We recently discussed the difference between mood disorders and moodiness because Bob is recovering from an episode of bipolar depression. Keep reading »

Yesterday, my teenage son, Bob, told me he was depressed. This is not earth-shattering as Bob lives with bipolar disorder. What is remarkable is how he was able to identify his teen bipolar¬†depression and share how he was feeling with me. Now I can get him the medical help he needs. Keep reading »

My child with mental illness has experienced many unpleasant side effects from his psychiatric medications. They range from mild and unwelcome to intolerable and dangerous. During the early stages of my son Bob’s treatment, I voiced my concern about side effects to my son’s psychiatrist. He said, “Pick your poison.” He meant I had to choose between horrific side effects of my child’s psychiatric medications and my son’s mental health. Ugh. Keep reading »