The Path to Mental Health May Mean Taking the Road Less Traveled

May 28, 2021

By Amy Bailey

College wasn’t right for my son. As much as I wanted him to love it, he just didn’t. He tried, but a few months in, he was miserable. He didn’t like his classes, and he was struggling to make friends. We decided to pay to have his best friend fly to spend the weekend with him. They could go to a football game and spend some quality time together.

I think this just made it worse. It sent him into a tailspin, and we were worried he would hurt himself. I felt helpless. Scared I would lose my only child, and I didn’t know how to help.

He was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade. We spent lots of time in psychiatrists’ offices and did behavioral therapy. His issues continued in high school, so we searched for a therapist who could help a teenager. This took work — a LOT of work. He hated them. All of them. They were too old, and he couldn’t relate to them. But we were relentless. As a parent, you must be. And for me, it was the only way I could help. I am not good at doing nothing.

So, we searched and searched. And then we found HER! She got him. She understood him. And he liked her. He opened up to her, and things got better. And then a pandemic happened, and he was sent home from college.

We struggled with finishing his classes online. We did it —I say we because it took him sitting in my office and me helping him understand the lessons and getting the assignments completed. He finished his first year, and then he said he didn’t want to go back. He couldn’t continue to do online school. He hated it. So, he applied for a leave of absence and looked for a plan B. He found it in a trade school.

He talked through it with his therapist and realized not everyone has to take the same path in life. Even though his friends were still attending college, he realized he didn’t have to fit that mold. It’s been a long road, but what matters is he is happy. He is on his path and has strong relationships with his friends, and even has a girlfriend.

About the Author
Amy Bailey is senior vice president of marketing at Telarus Inc., where she oversees communications strategy and manages events, creative and recruiting. Having worked in many aspects of the business, she brings a comprehensive knowledge of the industry landscape to communications outreach to provide targeted and effective results. Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and liberal arts from San Diego State University (SDSU). Passionate about empowering women in business, she participates in the SDSU Aztec Mentor Program and serves on the board of Alliance of Channel Women as its current president.