First and foremost, I need you to know that this entire campaign has been approved by my son. He has read every word, seen every image and approved every step of the creation and planning of this campaign.
Why is this important? Because although I dedicate this campaign to both him and his sister, the story is his and I want to respect his journey.
So kids, this one’s for both of you.
The journey of mental health with my son has been heart-breaking and exhausting, to say the least. His panic attacks began when he was in grade 2 and it is only because we had an incredible teacher (thanks, Shaye Sanford) who recognized what was going that we were able to label what was happening as a panic attack and not just “bad behavior”.
We battled panic attacks and anxiety for years, but this 10th year of his young life has been the most difficult. My son is the kindest, funniest, most incredible kid and to watch him go through what he went through…well…it takes a toll on a parent’s heart and soul. And, apparently, it wears a kid down neurologically and leads to childhood depression.
It was during this past year that I discovered a serious lack of resources in the area of childhood mental health. My son was in crisis for over 6 months and we were put on numerous wait lists. It took us over 4 months to get in to see a psychiatrist.
Every day my son would ask “are we off the wait list?”, “can I go see a doctor now?” and every day I had to disappoint him and say “not today, buddy, I’m sorry”.
As he battled this illness with grit, determination, heart and a will to overcome, I watched my son in awe and admiration. How could he continue to put himself into a situation of panic and anxiety?
Because he believed he could overcome and beat anxiety. Some days he did and some days he didn’t. But every day I was beyond proud of him. I’ve never ever seen an adult battle anxiety like my son battled anxiety. He was and is a true warrior.
These months have taken a toll on everyone in our family. My son started to have a minimum of 3 panic attacks per week. Long, 3-hour panic attacks. After every attack, he was exhausted. As his mother, I was left depleted, feeling inept and judging myself as a horrible mother who didn’t know what she was doing.
But, it wasn’t until my son started to have “sad days” that his Dad and I really started to advocate and battle for our son. Sad days are scary. Sad days will knock the air out of a parents’ lungs and will rip a heart to shreds. Sad days…are terrifying. During sad days, I would give anything, ANYTHING for a 3-hour panic attack.
I began pushing for answers. Researching. Trying to find resources to help educate ourselves as parents. I tried to find support for my child, my family, myself. I was confused and at a loss. I had no idea where to get support. Wait lists were awful. Waiting was awful. Watching your son day after day struggle IS awful.
The lack of resources for parents is a major concern.
The lack of resources for kids is a major concern.
So, what can I do?
Pushups. I can do pushups.
I realize pushups won’t do anything, but maybe if I do 50 pushups for 50 days in super random places, I can help. Maybe if 100s of people join me and do 50 pushups for 50 days, maybe…just maybe…more discussion on childhood mental health will happen.
This is a campaign for my son. This is a campaign to raise awareness for childhood mental health and to get people talking.
I want to raise $2000 for this cause and find resources that need the money to do their good work. I am supporting Buddy Check for Jesse, an organization I love and adore for their work in mental health in sport, Head & Heart SK who are trying to #EndTheStigma and any other organization I find along this journey that I feel aligns with my desire to help in the area of childhood mental illness.
I hope you’ll join the challenge. And, if you don’t want to join the challenge and do 50 pushups for 50 days, you can simply donate to this cause.
I will not fail my son.
If you believe in this and in what I’m trying to do, please donate or join the team. I would absolutely LOVE to make a difference in this world for my son.
I am standing for him and all the other kids and their families going through what we’ve gone through. I am your warrior and I will fight for you. Believe that.
If you need me, I’m here. Please reach out.