Being a parent can be a juggling act at the best of times. You’re constantly balancing your own needs with those of your child. Your role requires excellent time management skills, enough resources while at the same time supporting your child. If one of you is coping with a mentalillness, any issues you’re facing are magnified. A parent with a mental illness has a number of extra burdens to bear such as decreased energy, irregular sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, irritability,and moodiness. All of which are not ideal qualities for being an effective parent. There are, however, things you can do to be a better parent while coping with mental illness.
Find Joy in the Little Things
When you’re living with depression day after day, you’ll lose sight of the little things that are important. Give your child some attention, even if you can only manage five minutes at a time. Share a quick snack with them, read a few pages of their favorite book, or take a walk outside and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes for both of you.
Get Help for Your Child
Children who have a parent with mental health issues can find life very stressful. There are, however, trained adults who understand what your child is going through and can help alleviate some of that stress. They’ll be able to teach your child about depression in a neutral and empathic way. Children with a parent who has mental health issues often develop behavioral and emotional problems,and a therapist will be able to help them overcome these as well.
Find Help for Yourself
Day to day living can be very overwhelming if you’re struggling with depression, and if you’ve got children to take care of as well, the burden becomes even greater. The right kind of treatment is vital,and by seeking it, you’ll find that parenting becomes easier with time. If your mental health issues are related to a drug or alcohol addiction specialist treatment is also available. Forward Recovery, for example, can offer inpatient or outpatienttreatment to help you find the right path in life.
Stay Connected with Your Child
When you’re coping with a mental illness,it can be hard to tune in to your child’s emotional needs. It becomesvery difficult for you to be emotionally available when they need your comfort or support. You may also be suffering symptoms such as hallucinations or psychosis, that are going to be very confusing for your child. Try to stay connected with your child because it helps to make them feel secure and loved. Put aside time for you and your child as often as you can. Mental illness can strike at any time, whether you’re young, old, single, married or have a family. It is possible to balance your mental health and family life successfully,and there are plenty of people who can help. As well as the professionals you’ve got friends and family who will willingly lend a hand when you need it.