Five years ago, I got the call no parent wants—my daughter had tried to hang herself in the school bathroom. She was in the 4th grade.
As the social worker delicately tried to explain the events that led up to her call, my mind began to race and I felt sick to my stomach.
Our life hasn’t been the same since. We’ve endured multiple diagnoses, hospitalizations, investigations by the Department of Children & Family Services, police contact, strained school meetings, and tearful, sometimes violent, meltdowns.
It’s been hard and downright exhausting at times, but we refuse to give up on her because she has made one thing very clear to us: she doesn’t want to be the way she is.
So far, our journey has taught our family how to love her and each other unconditionally and to saturate each other with kindness and grace every single day. It’s not about “fixing her” so that we could get back to our old lives. It’s about learning to see her through the lens of unconditional love, uncovering all the wonderful traits and qualities that make her who she is. She’s a very funny, caring, and compassionate young lady who loves helping others, tending to babies, singing, and cooking.
I don’t know how our story will end. But I know my daughter will have her own “happily ever after” that she will define. Her mental health challenges will not dictate who or what she will become.
My daughter’s journey–our journey–brought me to the Youth & Family Peer Support Alliance. I want to ensure that my daughter, and every family with children with mental health challenges, has a clear path to the care, support, and love they need to create their own dreams.
– Regina Crider, Executive Director, Youth & Family Peer Support Alliance