For those of you that don’t know, my dad struggles with Severe Mental Illness (SMI). The exact diagnosis still seems to be debatable at this point, but his SMI has been debilitating for the past 20 years and it destroyed our family on levels I never thought possible.
But something amazing also happened this week—for the first time ever, my dad asked for help. Actually, he begged for it. I just happened to be fortunate enough to have had a vacation scheduled for this week and the recent purchase of a car so I could head to Tucson to be here with him. What I didn’t expect was that it would result in him checking himself into an inpatient program for the next several days. As much as I know this is the best thing for him right now, it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
And so I’m struggling.
Struggling with what this means for my dad, who has struggled through an 8 month incarceration and a handful of violent felonies that are going to follow him around for the remainder of his life.
Struggling with the realization that, at almost 60 years old, my dad has never lived on his own. And he doesn’t know how to do that. And I don’t quite know how to help him.
Struggling with the fact that I’m the only family member of his left that is really willing to support him through this. Everyone else has abandoned him because it’s too hard.
Struggling with the fear that this could be me in 20 years if I don’t continue to be treated for my own depression.
I know that struggle breeds strength, but right now, I feel broken and hopeless and unsure of what the future holds. I’m grateful for my tribe, who is providing me the strength I cannot muster on my own right now.