Have you ever wished you could explain to others what it feels like raising a child with invisible disabilities? Do you wish others would extend grace and compassion instead of judgement for your child? I have wished that many times! So, I decided to take a couple hours to sit and write one day as I thought about raising a child with these unique mental health challenges. As crazy as it may sound, writing is like an escape for me. And while I have never written a single poem or even read poetry, what poured out my fingers that day felt like a pretty accurate representation of parenting a child through some of these tough mental health issues.
I am quite certain this poem has all sorts of poetic errors, but I think it brings the stark reality of this battle to light. It may have been more accurately titled, “It’s Real and It’s Messy…and Sometimes Real Messy!” Whether you are parenting a child with ADHD, anxiety, depression, DMDD, ODD, OCD, SPD, PTSD, executive functioning disorder, autism, mood dysregulation, or one of the other many issues you might face when raising a child with invisible disabilities, I think you will identify. May this touch a piece of your heart if you are in the battle, and may you be reminded…you are not alone.
–I have included the same poem specific to a girl below if you would like to see that.
Additional Resources for Invisible Disabilities
In raising seven children of my own, I understand what it’s like to try and sort through some of the confusing issues related to parenting. Sometimes you wonder, is this a personality difference or something more. As a parent you want to understand your child with all their unique strengths, potential struggles, and specific issues. And then we hope to use that information to build a better connection and relationship. Sometimes the mental health challenges can make that even more complicated. That’s why I feel such a desire to share some hope, offer education, and provide resources.
You may already know that ADHD is just one of the many invisible disabilities that children and families deal with, but it is also one that co-exists with other mental health issues. ADHD can often be misunderstood as being hyper or unfocused, but there is so much more involved. It can be easily missed, and especially with girls. So this month, let’s all work together to help educate and bring not only awareness but acceptance. Please consider sharing this and other blog articles from Parenting With Personality as a way to help educate, spread the word, and initiate more support. For more help with ADHD specifically, you might enjoy the 3-part blog series, Five Life-Changing Concepts in Parenting ADHD.
Parenting With Personality is here to support you. Having worked as a licensed professional counselor, as well as parenting a set of seven unique blessings, I understand that mental health issues affect a whole family. I don’t want you to feel alone in your journey. Feel free to sign up for my newsletters, receive helpful tips, and access to a library of free parenting resources, so please click here.
Hope for Invisible Disabilities
They see my child with a quick glimpse or two.
Then watch from a distance to see what I do.
They notice he’s loud, mad, and blowing a fuse.
Then quick with their judgement for what he will choose.
It’s an invisible disability,
Lacking what appears emotional stability.
Behind what looks normal they’d never guess,
Nor would they take time to fully assess.
They don’t know the anger, fear, worry, or dread,
Or even his sad, truly solemn wish he was dead.
While other kids play outside at the park,
He spends his time fighting a way out the dark.
Appointments, interventions, all carry a price,
Hopes of finding some relief, that would be nice.
No matter how hard he works and he tries,
At the end of many days, he falls, and he cries.
There’re desperate attempts to try and belong,
Hard lessons and struggles with friends, to get along.
We role play and practice and give it our best,
But fail to see others stand the same test.
Slow steps of progress are often not seen,
Feeling broken, tired of trying, or something between.
He says others hate him, I assure him they don’t.
He screams he hates me, and I pray that he won’t.
Quite certain I’m not built for this difficult course,
God grant grace for this journey, your love as our source.
Aid others in understanding the burdens he bears,
And give me the words for the hard thoughts that he shares.
Help us capture his heart in a real true way,
Guide and support us through each tough day.
Whisper his name when I can’t be near,
Remind him he’s loved, truly valued, and dear.
Place your guardian angels along his way,
Give him true hope and joy until a brighter day.
Use only with permission from ParentingWithPersonality.com