I have been asked repeatedly how did we “fix Jenna”. Desperate parents asking desperate questions. I could go on and on, about medications, and therapies and such. All the ins and outs of our journey. And I will gladly answer specific questions, just send me an email. Unitedathleticsrva@gmail.com. Between my role as a mother of a special one, and a job as a case manager, I do know how to access services vital to families on this crazy rollercoaster.
But really we didn’t fix her. What we did was remember to believe in her. To have faith that our Jenna was really there all along. And to love her. It really was that simple. And that incredibly, overwhelming, all consumingly difficult.
Believe. Faith. Love.
When we stopped believing in her, we lost sight of Jenna. Because sometimes it was just a brief glimpse of her shining soul. So breathlessly short. That if you didn’t believe that it was there, you would miss it. That quick moment that let us know she was there in the darkness would give us the strength to fight on.
You have to have faith. Faith in something larger than yourself. Whatever you call that higher power. I call it God. Faith in your family, your friends to catch you while you are free-falling, spinning out of control. Faith in your village, because you must have that village. Going it alone just isn’t going to cut it, not when dealing with something so huge as a mental illness. And to realize that this is nothing to be embarrassed about.
To love her. That sounds so simple. But so very hard. Truly loving someone is hard work. Holding firm. Staying strong. Accepting what exists while also encouraging growth. Learning to be strong in your love. Unconditional, unchanging, steadfast Love.
What we have accomplished with this wonderful child was the hardest thing I have ever done. The hardest fight I have ever fought. And will have to continue fighting for the rest of Jenna’s life. To keep her here with us. Knowing that someday, we may to start that journey back again. And again. And again. And again. But to keep on believing, having faith, and loving her.
And it is worth every bit of every moment that it took to get her back again.