I came across an article on the interwebs detailing the dilemma faced by a doctor whose patient’s mother was, without the girl’s knowledge or consent, dosing her with drugs for her mental health condition/s. The girl had chosen to stop treatment but, the mother argued, she responded well to the medication and would undoubtedly relapse into cutting and related behaviours if she stopped taking it as she almost inevitably would were she to discover her mother’s deception.
Similar stories abound in the HIV field (of minor patients unknowingly taking ARVs) and it could be argued that the HIV situation is ‘better’ since once full disclosure is achieved and any anger issues successfully dealt with, the patient is presumably able to make objective choices regarding their healthcare whereas a mental health patient might not be equally able. In either case I think the protocols are the same: disclose as soon as possible and any challenges can be dealt with as they arise with the support of a multi-disciplinary team.
Parenting is hard and with the advent of social media and a seemingly liberated society it’s becoming harder. When we acknowledge this and stop pretending it’s intuitive and instinctive we’ll be better positioned to help parents and they in turn will not feel stigmatised and forced to deceitfulness in raising their children, but will be more likely to admit that they need support and more likely to make use of existing support structures.
We’re all just walking trauma cases to a greater or lesser degree. We’re that generation of which future generations will say of our parenting: the hurt raising the hurting.
All that said, here’s some balm for your soul from House, M.D. You can take comfor in knowing that no matter what you do, your children will be messed up. You can only do your best.