Talk to your college student about mental illness, even if you do not believe your child is displaying any symptoms of a mental illness. Not only do college students often become symptomatic for the first time when they are away at college, but they are also much more likely to die of suicide (Discuss Mental Illness and Suicide with College Students). While we cannot prevent mental illness, we can equip our college students to recognize symptoms of mental illnesses and suicidality and get help for themselves or a friend if necessary.
Mental Illness in the Family
We need to discuss mental illness and suicide with college students as every college student needs to be educated about these things. In a society where we educate our teenagers on birth control, alcohol and drug abuse, along with religious, racial, and gender preference awareness, we are failing to educate our college-bound teenagers on mental health issues. For their own wellbeing, we must educate every college student on mental illness and suicide.
For the mom considering suicide, please don't give up (What to do if You Are Suicidal). I know what it feels like to be so tired and so desperate that nothing feels more appealing than just not being here anymore. But please listen to me, mama: you are worth saving. You are worth fighting for. Your family is worth fighting for, and they need you to be well so they can be well. So, friend, if you are considering suicide, if you think your family might just be better off with you, this is for you.
Getting the kids back to school can be exciting, but it is important to take care of a mentally ill mom during the back-to-school transition. Moms with mental illness, especially, need take care of themselves in the midst of this huge back-to-school family transition.
It is entirely possible to vacation well with your spouse despite mental illness (Marriage and Mental Illness: Take a Vacation Alone Together). But, one of the hardest things about having a mental illness is that you can’t take a vacation from your mental illness. Even if you want to escape your life and just enjoy your partner on vacation, you still have to make allowances for your mental illness. It might feel like more work than it's worth, but making space for your mental illness on vacation will enable you to have a better vacation.
Married couples dealing with mental illness need to take a vacation. And I’m not talking about a coffee break. I’m talking about getting away by yourselves for at least a few days to reconnect and have fun together. No matter how long it’s been since you and your spouse have been on a vacation alone together, taking a vacation can do wonders for your own mental health and your marriage with mental illness.
Moms with mental illness, is summer making your kids crazy? It feels like that at my house. The same kids who were tired of getting up early and not having enough time to play during the school year are now complaining that they're bored. They're whining about chores. They're crying. They're throwing fits. They're fighting with each other. And as much as I have tried to structure our days, plan fun activities, and keep my wits about me (Summer Survival Guide for Moms with Mental Illness), as a mom with mental illness, I'm struggling to stay sane while summer is making my kids crazy.
Family vacations can make me feel like I'm losing my mind. I pack so many expectations into our annual, family vacation that I forget to be realistic about what I need, who my family is, and just how much togetherness we can endure. But this year, I'm dead-set on surviving our family vacation without losing my mind.
Parents with mental illness, expect summer transition behaviors from your children. We often underestimate what a huge transition our children experience as they finish up the school year (Help Your Child Feel Confident at the End of the School Year). Their routines change dramatically, as do ours. It is normal for kids to be grumpy, overly tired, and even combative as they work through major transitions in their lives. Parents with mental illness expecting these transitions into summer may have an easier time working with their kids and avoid mental health triggers.
Families with mental illness can have fun this summer, even on a budget. Many families with mental illness cannot go on an expensive vacation this summer. Even if families do have the funds, their mentally ill family member may not be well enough for an entire week of family togetherness (When Bipolar Ruins Your Vacation). But if you’re like my family, you still want to share special time together. Here are some great ways to spend time together this summer, even if your family is balancing a tight budget and mental illness.