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I admitted my 10 year old son to a psychiatric hospital Wednesday night.

My son is mentally ill.

For years, I have apologized to people for who my son is. His behaviors or quirks were something that were spoken about quietly, like they were something to be embarrassed of – Like WE were embarrassed of him.

For years, I have defended myself, made excuses for a multitude of things – his medications, the therapies he receives, the fight for Special Education services, the way I choose to parent and discipline him.

Today, all of this stops. My son D is who he is. My job as his mom is to provide the best care for him that I can, to the best of my knowledge. I am not a sheep – being blindly led by psychiatrists and therapists. I do my research, and I am well educated about his associated Alphabet Soup diagnoses. He HAS to have medicine to function. I don’t let the staff at his school run over me at his Individualized Education Program (IEP)  meetings. I am on staff at his school, plus I know the laws regarding special education.

D got the shitty end of the deal when it came to genetics. See, I understand the raging in his mind, and the lows where all you want to do is hide from the world in a closet. I have Bipolar Disorder, Type 1. So does his birth father. I am compliant on my medications. It took me 8 years to finally get it right. There were times I almost lost everything – my family, my job, my mind. I am grateful for those who stuck with me through the good times and the really dark, ugly times.

Everyone knows at least one person who suffers from mental illness. One in FOUR people in America suffer from some sort of mental illness. Yet, there still is a stigma.

Today, for my D and me – this WILL STOP. No longer will I apologize for his behavior to strangers in public because he is on overload or having a meltdown. I will no longer listen to people tell me that my child is on too much medicine. I will not let people tell me I baby him when I choose to talk him down from a rage rather than “spank that ass.” I will keep fighting for his equal treatment at school. He has a mental illness, but he is a bright, smart boy. I will love my child for who he is, not for what others think he should be. I will not listen to negative ex-husbands telling me that I am doing it wrong, when he is only with D four days a month and only is “Dad” when he wants to be.

Today the stigma will stop. Follow me on my and my family’s journey.