My Normal

Okay, let’s just start with the obvious question on everyone’s mind. Who in the world am I to think anyone would actually want to read an article I write? I mean that is side-splitting comical really.

Seriously, it’s comical.

The truth is I don’t know exactly why  I feel LED and COMPELLED to start this Website. I don’t know exactly what I hope to accomplish with this site I feel LED and COMPELLED to start.

Well, pull up a chair and let’s get real right out of the gate.

At first glance, on the surface, I’m a mom just like million of other moms around the globe. But, in reality, I’m not like most of the moms in my suburban middle-class neighborhood at all. My normal is not the same as their normal. Period.

My normal is being the very proud mom of two beautiful boys with Mental Health Disorders.

Now, if you felt any degree of pity for me when you read the last sentence, STOP. Just don’t allow yourself to go there. If I don’t pity myself then you shouldn’t either!

Society pressures people to feel sorry for moms like me but please don’t. This is my normal and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

In fact, I fully embrace my normal with my arms wide-open. My hope is some day the rest of the world will embrace children with Mental Health Disorders the same way. Every person will recognize they are still children of God, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. This is something we should be shining a light on and rejoicing in (yes, I said rejoicing in!)

Instead many choose to pity children like mine, isolate children like mine, and ultimately question and judge children like mine…behind closed doors.

When people see kids in a wheelchair, they know how to respond. When confronted with this normal , people tend to have a loving, “oh how sweet”, generally accepting reaction.

When people see my kids having an epic tantrum in public, they don’t know how to respond. When confronted with this normal (my normal) people tend to have a stunned, “what in the world?”, generally judgemental reaction.

I guess I started this Website to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the humorous aspects of being a Mental Health Mom.

Now let me back up a bit and explain how I got here…how I got to this season in my life that LED and COMPELLED me to start this site.

My story began almost 10 years ago when my husband Tim and I adopted two little boys, Adam and Alex.

They are biological brothers who have a long history of Mental Health Disorders in their bloodline. They were both exposed to drug and alcohol abuse, and no prenatal care, in utero. We knew all of this prior to the adoption process. However, talking about the possibility your kids may have disabilities in the future, and actually walking through it with them in the present, are two totally different animals!

Adam is 11-years old going on 40! He was diagnosed at 7 with Bipolar Disorder. He is beyond brilliant, testing at the Mensa level on an adult IQ test several years ago. Adam lives through extreme highs and lows, is overly sensitive, goes from hypo-manic happy to depressed on the turn of a dime, can never turn his brain off, and experiences auditory/visual hallucinations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is Adam’s normal.

Alex is 10-years old and has always been our little monkey. He was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and last year he was diagnosed with Autism, testing mild-average on the spectrum. He is considered high-functioning. While we were relieved to have the answers we had been searching for most of Alex’s life, his Autism diagnosis still completely rocked our family’s world (and when I say it rocked it,  I mean it rocked it like the boat in the movie The Perfect Storm kind of rocked it!)

Introverted Alex screams loudly on the outside when the words don’t come fast enough yet suffers quietly on the inside struggling to develop interpersonal relationships. This is Alex’s normal.

With that said, the road of life is not always an easy one to travel on and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. However, I do believe the nagging question for most of us (whether it relates to being a mental health mom or anything else in our life) is,”How do I embrace my normal if it’s not what I thought it was going to be, or hoped it would be?” And even more importantly, “How do I embrace my normal if it is constantly changing and how do I teach my kids to embrace their normal?”

So now you have the basics to understand future articles. Again, my end game is unclear beyond feeling LED and COMPELLED to share my journey as a Mental Health Mom. What has worked and what hasn’t worked. What has made me laugh and what has made me cry. What has made me mad and what has made me get down on my knees and pray to my Heavenly Father above.

If doing so helps even one other Mental Health Mom embrace their normal, that would be icing on the cake.

If doing so helps change the perception even one person has about children with Mental Health Disorders, that would be the cherry on top.

Stay tuned friends…

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