Mental Health Advocate Mom:
As a mental health advocate mom, I now have a diagnostic vocabulary without a medical degree. As a result, the terms Dual Diagnosis, Co-Morbidity, Bipolar, Borderline, Schizoaffective disorder roll off my tongue. Treatments to manage mental illness including; CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy), as well as the variety of meds affecting dopamine and serotonin is enough to make your head spin. Mine certainly did.
NAMI, psychologists and psychiatric hospitals with behavioral health:
Being a mental health advocate mom, you are the ally, the mother lion and the rock of the family. Contacting NAMI, talking with psychologists who specialize in mood disorders plus the support empathetic friends who are non-judgmental are vital. When and if your child needs to be hospitalized, he or she should be in a behavioral health unit that encompasses the whole person and family. Never forget the other siblings and the other parent: mental illness affects everyone in the family unit.
How I changed my behavior:
Five years into our path to wellness one of my beloved dogs died. After a suitable bereavement period, a big fluff of a dog, Kenny, entered our lives through rescue. He can be sweet as sugar and on a dime turn into Kujo! Holy barks Batman….. my dog has a mood disorder. Go figure. Of course my mental health advocate mom buttons were pushed. Two legged or four, a change in behavior had to happen. Hiring a trainer whom I affectionately call a doggie therapist we are constantly working to retrain the dog’s brain by being consistent in doggie behavior modification techniques.
Correct the undesirable behavior in a firm but positive way by focusing on small changes and rewarding them, over and over. Gee this sounded familiar, and for me it was both a distraction and an affirmation of all the information and processes I had learned while dealing with my daughter’s diagnosis.
Focus on the talent not the diagnosis:
Today there are more positives due to my daughter doing “the work”. She is not her diagnosis and the words, the labels, as well as the treatments are just a piece of the structure of getting well. Focusing on her talents versus the diagnosis made it possible for her to get through college. It has enabled her to live on her own and create The Huggable Horribles.
We are creating a movement for those who have mood disorders and for those who love those with mood disorders and mental illness. Join our movement, join our newsletter and welcome your own Huggable into your home to support this movement.