From Our Readers
October 05, 2014 7:11 am

Growing up with a mother who has anxiety and depression was not easy. Although I resented my mother a lot when I was younger, as I grew older I realized that she took care of me the best she could at the time. The lessons I have learned from her are some the most important lessons a person can learn in their lifetime.

Anxiety and depression made it difficult for my mother to take care of herself, and in turn, it was difficult for her to take care of me. She is a very selfless and kind person, always wanting to put other people before her. But this is not always the right thing to do. When we neglect ourselves at the expense of others happiness this becomes toxic. There is nothing wrong with being selfless, if we do not completely forget ourselves in the process.

After many years of anger and resentment, I wondered if she had taken better care of herself, that maybe we would have had a healthier relationship. Low self-esteem is dangerous, and I do not think as a society we realize how damaging it can be, not only to ourselves, but to those who care about us, and especially for those who depend on us.

What I would like to take from my mother is her courage to keep moving forward. I admire her kindness and selflessness, because she has made me feel like the most important person in the world. She has taught me compassion, empathy, and most of all, she has taught me what it really means to love. Even looking back at some of the more difficult times, I can appreciate the fact that this has helped me become a more independent adult, which I believe is one of the most important things a parent can teach their child. She has taught me the value of intelligence, and having a good sense of humor, and the importance of having your feelings validated.

I think all of these things have made me a stronger woman, a better friend, and more importantly, a better person. 

There is a certain strength in being able to talk about our feelings that our society does not value enough. It takes a great amount of courage to be able to do this. We tend to forget that courage is not the absence of fear, but embracing fear and facing it head on. Talking about our feelings, especially our darker ones, is still taboo. But it is clearly a sign of strength, and as it signifies a desire to improve, and to feel better.

Some of the lessons I have had to learn were tough, but I am very proud of my mother for reaching out when she has needed help. We all need help sometimes. No one can do everything on their own, and she has taught me that this is okay. 

It is easy to blame our parents for the mistakes we’ve made or our poor attitude towards life. But it is only you decides who you become. We can either let our past make us bitter, or let our experiences make us stronger people, who can inspire those around us to be strong, too. 

 Living with a parent who has severe anxiety and depression has only made me realize the kind of person I want to be for myself and my children one day.

I want to be strong, confident, and above all I want to be the most amazing person I can be.

Olivia Blackmore is a 22-year-old Toronto native, and recent graduate. She has been a published writer since the tender age of 16. She is a lover of books, music, travel, and has a serious passion for laughing. 

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