I remember when she first told me she was struggling with depression and anxiety, I immediately thought ‘It’s my fault.  I should have been a better Mom. I should have held her more, listened more, paid more attention to her.”  But then I realized this is not about me and my insecurities over my faulty parenting.

(And for all you new parents out there — no one does the parenting thing perfectly, regardless of what you see on facebook, instagram or pinterest.  Parenting is a dance between absolute selflessness and total selfishness — I want the best for my girls, but I also want some ME time … and a big glass of wine.)

My baby girl — who at 22 years old is no longer a baby, but still my baby – struggles with depression and has for years.  I didn’t find out about it until recently and when I found out I immediately went into my ‘Fixit Mom’ mode.  I’m the Mom and I have all the answers – right?  Nope, wrong.  I don’t even understand the questions.  Depression and anxiety are very foreign to me.  I’m the eternal optimist — always looking for the silver lining in the dark cloud. But depression and anxiety aren’t about attitude — they are about the chemicals in your brain.

My daughter, Paige Snyder Dorman, has a mental illness.  Geez, that was HARD to type.  And before I typed it I called her and asked if I should say that.  Because she is fearless and brave, she said Yes.   I don’t want to say there are prejudices against mental illness, but there are — some of which I have long held.  I thought depression was just being sad and blue.  I thought depressed people could and should just ‘get over it.’  I was wrong.  Depression is about what is in your brain.  Now I don’t pretend to be a medical professional although I binge watched Grey’s Anatomy  this summer and feel as if I’m qualified to do surgery with a pocket knife, some super glue and a stapler.  I don’t understand all that depression is about.  And anxiety?  I once thought that could be cured with a glass of wine and an episode of Parks and Rec (somehow it all comes back to me and my TV shows).  But Paige’s anxiety is something I don’t understand — I’m learning.

I can’t fix her because she doesn’t need fixing.  She is learning to manage her illness her way.  Mom can’t swoop in with superMom powers and make it all good again with a plate of cookies and a fun movie.  Paige has decided to live her life out loud — and that takes GREAT courage.  More courage than I have at my age — and I much more than I ever had at the sweet age of 22.  When I was 22 I was most concerned about what party I would be attending and just how high I could tease my bangs.  (I was a thoughtful and wise young woman… or not).  While she navigates through the ups and downs of this illness, she’s decided to start a blog — some of it about the struggles of anxiety and depression and some about her life in general.

Take a few minutes to get to know her at website Dear Dorman — she’s a amazing writer and great communicator.  You’ll enjoy her and if you know someone walking through anxiety and depression — point them her way.