Kids are back in school today, mom sanity is slowly reappearing and I hope to be a more prolific blogger in days to come. I think I will start here…
As a participant as well as friend, acquaintance and cyber sharer of many a person involved in therapeutic parenting, I have learned a lot of mental health acronyms. PTSD, ADHD, RAD, ASD, OCD, ODD, LD – just a sampling of the myriad of alphabet configurations attached to and labeling many of our children. It can be completely overwhelming and disturbing. These are after all, our most precious people. They can’t be whittled down to a two to four letter acronym or summed up by attaching an alphabet string to their identity.
The DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – is the ever evolving and changing set of criteria that is used to diagnose behavioral and mental disorders. The DSM 5 has recently been released – this stuff is not exact science and must be modified as new information comes to light. But for parents trying to navigate this world with a bottom line desire to help their child live as healthy and thriving human beings, it can be a challenging intellectual and emotional exercise.
There are some very pragmatic reasons to have standards and specific criteria while doing the delicate and important work of diagnosing a real live person with a mental disorder. Differing treatments and interventions are required. There are insurance companies, coordinating care providers, educational rights and legal issues all bound up in these labels. But so many of the above acronyms overlap, intertwine and mimic one another. It can be an extremely confusing, stressful and frustrating journey.
As a mom who has several children, adopted and biological, with some of these labels attached to them, I find it a bit of a balancing act at times. The mama bear in me will research, fight and claw to find out what makes this child tick and how we can best help them to navigate through school, friendships and life. But on the other hand, my own unique, amazing child is so much more than a diagnosis or set of criteria.
So in the midst of the stress storms of trying to figure it all out, it is comforting to hear the gentle whisper of God saying, “Fearfully And Wonderfully Made.” As the psalmist knew of himself, I also know of myself and child. We are FAWM. Some of that came through genetics and some through life experience. We won’t ignore the other acronyms, but there is a level of peace that comes with acknowledging that we are each and every one FAWM and deserve to be who we were created to be. Walking alongside each of our children on that journey is the path I long to travel.