Parents Affected by Mental Health Stigma
When a parent is affected by mental health stigma, there are unique problems that occur (Issues for Parents With Mental Illness). These difficulties can range from a neighbor or friend commenting on your fitness of being a parent while living with a mental health issue, to having to battle for your children during a divorce hearing, or even facing losing your children as a result of a breakdown. The important thing to remember is when you are a parent affected by mental health stigma, there is always hope and you have to focus on getting yourself better first.
Parents and Mental Health Stigma Video
Parents Living With Mental Health Stigma Require Self-Care
There is much evidence to prove that you need to take care of your own needs and let others take care of your children's if you are too ill. This may happen at times when you are navigating rough waters in your life journey as a person with mental health issues.
First of all, no matter how much stigma you face as a mentally ill parent, there will be a time for your family to come back together. It could be soon, it could be after they have become adults, but that bond will always be there. You deserve just as much as anyone to love and be loved by your family. In a flight attendant's safety briefing, they tell you that you have to put on your own oxygen mask first and then help your child(ren). This is because you can't help someone else until your own needs are met. Lifeguards are another example; they are told on their first day of training that when helping someone who is drowning, they have to give them a flotation device first, and then help them otherwise the drowning person will drag the rescuer down.
Mental Health Stigmas About Parents Have Little Basis
It can be so hard to be a parent when you are affected by mental health stigma, but one of the most important things you have to remember is that just about every child has a natural emotional bond, an inclination to love his or her parents unconditionally. My mother went through breakdowns and suicide attempts and I understood she had special needs and never loved her any less.
When I got older and became sick myself, she was always there for me. We developed a very special bond in that we both suffered from mental health issues and stigma. I think I only loved her more because of how much she cared and helped me through the tough times.
Perhaps in this case, parents have to remember that stigma towards a parent with a mental illness is based on a misunderstanding and the ignorant idea that you are a bad person or dangerous because you have a mental illness. This stigma still hurts though, be it towards you from others, or towards yourself in the form of self-stigma. But you have to keep in mind that it really has nothing to do with the love you have as a parent or your actual abilities to raise and nurture your children.
Gregersen, L. (2016, August 28). Parents Affected by Mental Health Stigma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2016/08/parenting-while-affected-by-mental-health-stigma
Author: Leif Gregersen
Most people go through tough times. Yes, many see their parents go through difficult times. It can be confusing at the time, but when you get to that age and become a parent yourself, it all makes alot of sense.