A Mom’s Story of Her Child’s Mental Health Struggles

As I look back and reflect on the past 10 years, it is apparent to me that my son’s struggles were swept under the rug during his formative years. He was a “difficult child,” and though I sought out help, we tried to pretend all was well. This became increasingly stressful as he became bigger, and so did the problems in our ability to parent him. He was kicked out of school, had many visits by the police, and, finally, there was the collapse of our family unit. I have regrets for sure, but my biggest is that I was in denial of where we were going, and that he was different and needed additional help. I struggled to get the help I needed for him, and by the time I lifted that rug, there was an elephant in the room. This elephant was ADHD, ODD, anxiety, and depression.

Our journey did include Alberta Health Services services for him such as counselling, psychiatry, the PAS program, and even visits to the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital emergency department occasionally. Those times are tough to look back on, but I am thankful for the services available for families in our community and the providers that care deeply about youth mental health.

I am glad to say that he is now 21, and though not yet fully launched, he is still my incredibly intelligent beautiful boy. He has pushed his way through college and is doing just fine. When asked how he feels when he looks back on his childhood, he told me, “I have had a sweet life so far Mom, you did what you could during those years.” I asked him if he wishes we could go back and do things differently and his answer was, “not even for a minute.”