Dear Child of Mine. A Letter From a Mother With Mental Illness

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

photo-24765218-mid-age-woman-carrying-a-sleeping-babyDear Child of Mine,

I know you were afraid. It wasn’t your fault.

I understand you missed out, and that the quality of life I gave you wasn’t what you dreamed it would be. It wasn’t what I knew it should be, and not what I dreamed for you.

When you were small, you looked up to me with your big, all-trusting, beautiful eyes, desiring an engaged response. I would pick you up and laugh and tell you how priceless you are. If only those moments could have been frozen, then what came later would not have hurt you so much.

I know you were afraid. You didn’t deserve that.

You were raised in a public image of all-is-well.  I hid the chaos in my mind from the world, or thought I did, anyway. You asked me why I didn’t have many friends, and why I didn’t call anyone to chat, or hang out with other women. You were given excuses. Truth is, I was scared too.

When I couldn’t function and was not the mom you wanted, you must have been confused. Maybe you thought it was all normal, and that is sad. The hospital stays when I didn’t call you, the weeks you sat in front of the TV because I could not interact with you, and the less-than-stellar moods were not the gifts I wanted for you.

The lessons you were taught about relationships, common sense, faith, and emotions were incomplete.

Yes, I know mental illness is not my fault. I’d like to say I always did my best, but on occasion I used my illness as an excuse. I am sorry you paid such a high price for that luxury. Most of the time you were my focus and a reason to keep moving.

I know you were hurt.

However, there is something better I want to give you now.  Write this down, copy it in your heart, and maybe you will be set free.

1) It was never and still is not your fault. There is nothing you could have said or done that made me ill. There is nothing you could have said or done to save me from my illness.

2)Mental illness is difficult to watch, and supporting a struggling person can be draining. It was not your role or responsibility to fix or save your parent. For one thing, you were a child trying to learn your own way. A second truth is that it is still not your role or responsibility to fix or save your parent. Your job is to accept me as-is and to develop your own life.

3) You are valuable, to me and to God, regardless of any mixed messages you may have received.

4) You are not destined to experience the same kind of life as me. You can make your own decisions, and shoot for your own goals.

I pray for the very best for you. You have been and always will be my heart walking outside my body. I hope you see me as the woman who fought for you, and that you will fight for yourself.

All my love,



Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

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One comment

  • Dear Nancy,

    You truly get it b/c u have lived it. I have said some of these things to my son & husband who u know. I can’t count how many times I have apologized to both my son & husband (leaving out names for anonymity).

    It is very comforting to have a friend who understands how I feel. You are gifted at relating to others who struggle with mental illnesses Thank you for your blogs!

    Hugs & blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

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