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"What my son taught me about the brain" by Elizabeth Estrada (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com (2018), CC0/PD[/caption] My son has suffered with anxiety and depression for the last five years. It has been a long and difficult journey for him. The anxiety has driven his brain to exhaustion to the point he was hospitalized two years ago at only eleven years old. Sadly, he is there again and is now in an intensive outpatient program. The journey to get here was not easy. There were emergency room visits, with him feeling so physically sick he missed school. I have been trying to do my best to stay strong by his side like Mother Mary did for Jesus. As we have waited in hospital and outpatient clinic waiting rooms, I have been overwhelmed by the numbers of young adolescents who are waiting there in our midst. I sat in awe, especially in the outpatient clinic, at how many kids are on brain overload. The kids looked sad, withdrawn, and overwhelmed, with their parents who were sitting with them waiting for what is to come for their child, with some hope. Stress is real for these kids and for my son. It can range from the dynamics of their families or from all of the complexities of the world they live in on a daily basis. I have learned that we need to take the brain seriously, just like we would any other organ in our body and not take it for granted or dismiss it as just “adolescence.” These days these kids lack connection with adults and their peers. They haven’t been taught how to label their feelings or that it is okay to say what and how they feel without a judgment. Sometimes they need a person who will listen, be present, and give them the comfort they need. This is what my son has taught me about his brain. I can’t take his feelings for granted or minimize what he’s going through. I need to listen and say that I am here to support him, whatever is taking over his brain. My hope is that if you are reading this you might take a bit of time to learn about the brain, whether you have kids or not. I know that it has helped me learn how to lessen my anxieties and emotions and how to support others as well. God created the brain, after all. He wants us to take care of it, educate others so that we can be there for our kids, so they can continue to grow and be the kids He created them to be. I am sure that God wants our kids to have peace. His mercy and love is what has helped me be at my son’s side, as Mother Mary did for Jesus.
Copyright 2020 Elizabeth Estrada