Sandy & Danielle Mackley
When my son was just a young boy we knew something wasn’t quite right with his emotions. I had him prayed over by many church people, I even had him annoited with oil. Little did I know that God was preparing us for a journey that is still in process. As my son got older it was clear that he was unable to deal with stressful situations or changes. He was only seven years old the first time he talked about dying and going to heaven and not wanting to live. This being a shock to both my husband and I we decided we better investigate with some counsellors. After many appointments, observations and attempts of medications the only clear diagnose that made sense to the professionals was he was depressed and full of anxiety. We worked very hard to keep our son in his schedule and a routine that made him comfortable with his surroundings. He liked predictability, he liked routine, it gave him a sense of security. We had another bump in our journey when he hit puberty and in grade 7 became suicidal again. We pulled him out of school for grade 8 to homeschool him. Being at home was difficult as he had little to no motivation to complete school work or to do anything outside of being in the bedroom. My worst regret was to have allowed him to have an Xbox in his room. He spent hours by himself entertaining himself playing games. We placed him back in school in grade 9 which he struggled socially and emotionally with another suicide encounter. This time it was physical in which his dad had to wrestle a knife from him. His anger and bad attitudes continued throughout 10 and 11 and never really fitting in (not even in church). I struggled with the youth group and youth pastor for their lack of empathy and lack of effort to include or to make any effort to understand or reach my son. Perhaps in hindsight there was a lack of knowledge on their parts. In grade 11 he suffered again with times of depression and suicidal thoughts. He had homosexuals hitting on him in school which made him not want to go to school. He would stay in bed and at this point being 6 foot I couldn’t drag him out of bed to go to school. His attendance was poor but the school continued to push him through and graduated him again to grade 12. Thinking that routine was good for him, he decided he wanted to go and join the reserves. His father and I decided we would support him in his decision as it showed us his attempt to take control over his life. Again another decision I totally regret. Not only did it make him more angry inside but it brought out something else in him that I never thought he had. His lack of empathy and callousness towards people begin to really show itself. Something happened to him that summer while he was in Gagetown. He has chosen not to share it with us but has shared it with a counsellor. In doing so he has been diagnosed with PTSD significant sleep deprivation and depression. He cannot shut his mind down at night he sees things that keeps him up. All of this caused a lot of stress at home because we as parents had different ways of dealing with my son. I felt my husband was too “hard lined” and my husband thought I was “too soft.” This caused a lot of stress in our marriage to the point we weren’t sure if we would make it. We committed to sticking together and sought professional help. We also made the hardest decision ever and to ask my son to move out on his own. He was not willing to live by the standards we had at our home and challenged us frequently. As much as I thought this would cut our ties with our son, it has actually allowed some healing. (It also allows me to step out of the way so God can do His thing in my sons life). Although I don’t know all the in’s and outs of what goes on in his head, I have no choice but to trust him to God’s care. God loves him far more than I ever can. I’ve spent many nights crying , I’ve spent many days worrying but more than that I’ve spent a lot of days on my knees. It is hard to let go and let God. I want the best for my son and he does not see the best in himself. How do you encourage someone that doesn’t want to be encouraged? How do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped? I continue to fight the battle on my knees in prayer and in scripture. Those who I trust deeply pray for my son. Others know that there’s been struggles but don’t know details but continue to pray for me and my family. It’s a hard balance between grace,mercy and natural consequence. It’s a hard balance being mom stepping back and allowing my son to grow into a man. I’m certainly not perfect but I continue to strive to do what God wants me to do and listen to what God wants me to do with my son. My son knows I’m here when he needs me, that I can listen and talk to him anytime he wants but also giving him space so that God can speak loud in his ears. This is a hard thing to do. I know my journey is not over but if I can encourage any parents out there with a child struggling through depression anxiety PTSD they are not alone. That’s been the hardest part of this journey feeling so very alone. Not having people understand is difficult, not having anyone to vent with or pray with has been a challenge. Our God is bigger than all of these problems here on earth into that and I am trust my son completely to God. Something my husband said that was profound and really help me with my place “ if you continue to save your son he will never meet the real Saviour”. Call me when my son reaches to his lowest will he look up and see the hand of his father reaching down to lift him out of the depths of his despair. To God be all the glory to what he will do in my son’s life.