Loving Daughter

I think back to over a decade ago – to a time when I was in high school and learning to drive. I remember looking over to the passenger seat to see my father with his hands holding his head up as he sobbed uncontrollably. He was supposed to be teaching me to drive, but instead his depression was winning without contest. This was not what he wanted to do. He is an amazing dad, a former physician, and a loving human being. He wanted to be there for me, just as the day he taught me to ride a bike. This was the illness – this wasn’t my father.

I think back to such memories with great pain and sadness. I hear stories from mom about how others abandoned my father as a friend and a colleague following his diagnosis. That is stigma. This stigma gave me anger for so long, as I knew my father deserved to be understood and loved. Today, I have come to a place far away from anger and to a place of acceptance. I’ve come to understand the lessons that his illness has brought me and chosen to share those moments with others. I hope one day that this ugly stigma won’t hurt families loving those with mental illness… And I want to be a part of that change.

6 responses to “Loving Daughter”

  1. Julie says:

    Thank you. My growing up years were filed with anger. No better or worse I guess. Just sad, and not really the men we called dad. To this day I have a hard time thinking good things of him. And yet some of my most amazing, tenacious traits come from him. Oh the irony

  2. Hilary says:

    As a mom who has struggled with depression my whole life, I have worried and prayed that my daughter would be spared from the monstrosity that is mental illness. But just like your powerful, poignant story, my daughter (who is now 22) has been with me through it all. I’m sure there were times she felt confused and hurt, maybe even blamed herself. But she has never taken it upon herself and now speaks out to her friends about how the reality of mental illness is not in the stigma. I am proud of her and of you, for telling your truth and sharing compassion and insight to others.

  3. Mary H says:

    Beautiful….! Thank you for sharing..#bringchange2mind !

  4. Suzie R says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. Your words went straight to my heart….as a parent with depression, I appreciate the love and compassion that you have for your dad. It’s tragic that the stigma that accompanies a diagnosis of any mental illness or disorder so often exacerbates the situation. Thank you for being a clear voice and for being part of the change! ✌️

  5. Sheila says:

    Thank you for sharing this touching story. Stigma is a hard thing to bear and to banish. When my husband was in the worst of his depression, he lost touch with many friends because he was embarrassed for them to know how depressed he was feeling. Fortunately, many had a hunch and continued to reach out to him. We all need love, support and compassion, especially when we are in the midst of a struggle.

  6. Bobby s says:

    Last year I lost my custody of my son because of unfair stigma. Before he was kept from me I explained my bipolar in a way he understands. Explaining that when I cry it’s not because of him nor was it his job to comfort me. My happiness isn’t his responsibility. I had left a job with no insurance I had no meds so he had never seen the depression so up close and frequent. The curse was that when he was taken I couldn’t get off the couch and stop crying. Only after family stepped in paid for my Dr and meds within a month I had a new high paid job. Now I’m getting my confidence and self worth back. As well as retained a lawyer fighting for my parental rights.

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