To all the moms with mental illness out there juggling a family, you are not alone. Many people have walked the same steps in life as you, and they keep going forward no matter what life hands to them. It’s easy to crawl into a ball and cry and feel sorry for oneself and resent and rage at what life has dealt us. We may have relapses, but we need to pick ourselves up and move on. 

Depression may haunt you, and hallucinations may torment you. Your medication may not seem to work, and all you feel is hopelessness. Getting up each day may be a chore, and you long to go back to bed to escape the difficulties of life.

Your children may cling to you and demand all their needs. It is hard to meet the needs of others when you can’t meet your own needs. You may feel like a balloon with a slow leak, and by the end of the day, you feel deflated. Hearing them yell, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” makes you want to scream, “Help Me!”

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You may feel your counseling sessions go on endlessly with no end in sight. Unfortunately with mental illness, there is no end to this lifelong disease and all that goes with it. You talk in your sessions and tell of your hopes, fears, and dreams that have overwhelmed you. Dreams unrealized, hopes dashed, and concerns of all kinds follow you.

You may have physical illnesses, too, that compound the already heavy load you bear. You may feel sick or have pain, and that adds to the struggles you have daily. You may look to the future with no relief in sight. Endless days with mental and physical anguish crush your soul.

But you are strong, and you are powerful, and no matter what anybody says, you can do this.

Your hopes, fears, and dream are not your enemies. They are what keep you going on each day. Your fears keep you motivated and keep you on your toes. Your hopes and dreams should be what drive you to go on. Talk about them and share them with people who understand. Don’t let those who say mental illness is terminal discourage you when you know it is not.

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People may say those with mental illness should not have kids. But with so many of us out there, that would leave a vast hole in the population. People with mental illness have done so many great things. From world leaders to athletes to celebrities, know we are not alone. Our dreams are as wide as the sky and as vast as the ocean. We only need to realize them.

Our children are our lives, and we want them to have the best. We do not want to pass on the mantle of mental illness to them. Sadly, there is a high chance of passing it on due to hereditary. But we can teach them to be strong like us. They watch us, our every move. Our behavior, language, and actions make us their ultimate role models. Even if they inherit the illnesses, life will still go on.

We teach them they are strong just as we are strong.

We teach our children not to give up and to persevere. We may fail sometimes, but we go on. On and on we go, never giving up, always reaching for the next star. There may be relapses and hospitalizations, but they are just a blip on the radar. Our living is what matters and what we do with the life we’ve been given.

We take our medications, sometimes hating them for what they are. Or for the side effects we battle, we must go on. Be brave and secure for our family. Especially the little ones who are watching us, make them proud of you, for your successes, and help them understand your failures.

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You are only human, but you are strong. You can do this. You have got this. You can go on! Don’t give up or give in, give only the best of you and love yourself, even with all the flaws. 

Mental illness is a part of you, but it is not who or what you are.

Jennifer Corgan

I am a wife of 27 years, mom to five adult children, and grandma to two great kids. I am a freelance writer (jennifercorgan.com), and I have a health and wellness blog  (naturesmanymiracles.com). I love teaching and sharing new ideas with others and being a mentor and role model to those with mental illness of which I also have. I live life to the fullest no matter what life hands to me.