It’s the stated or implied crux of most of our dilemmas in life it seems. We search for answers to solving obstacles and challenges based on the information we have, biased by our experiences, buoyed by our sense of reality that’s rooted in what we believe to be true.
Is this the right parenting choice?
Am I messing them up?
Will they be happy?
Is this how (parenting/marriage/adulthood) is suppose to feel?
Am I alone in feeling this way?
Have I made good decisions?
Mama, will I be ok?
Are all the other kids this way?
Am I doing it right?
Now imagine you can’t answer those questions.
That you agonize over your answers, or can’t reach an answer at all, because the options list themselves in a seemingly endless multiple-choice test queue that continues down the page. You keep reading the possible answers to select from to weigh your options but they don’t end. It’s the stuff of adolescent test nightmares over examinations and college entrance.
You finally pick a response. Your answer is met with confusion, derision, more questions, judgement, or ridicule by others. That is mental illness as a parent.
Constant fear over whether you’re doing anything right because you don’t trust your own judgement or perception.
Translating a sentence from a foreign language into your native tongue only to have it rendered into gibberish. If ever you wonder what it feels like for someone you love to be mentally ill, that is the closest I can come to describing the sensation.
Every moment, every day, can feel like a colossal effort to function in a societally accepted set of norms that feel like a yoke of burden that takes gargantuan control to balance while moving through the motions of life. All while asking yourself relentlessly the questions.
Am I normal enough?
Is this how I’m supposed to feel?
Am I hurting others? Scaring others? Will my kids be like this?
Can I save them from this?
What does it feel like to be normal?