In Real Life...

Parenting can be pretty rough, but we rarely see that because most people only talk about the good stuff.


In this essay series, CATCH offers a look at what's happening In Real Life with stories from parents and others.  We hope our readers will find comfort and support in their experiences.

In most cases, we are not posting the names of the authors of these essays because they include parts of their children's stories, and those are theirs to tell.

If you'd like to tell others what's going on In Real Life, we'd love to hear it and share it.


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Teen Shares Lessons from Inpatient Experience

When a young person enters an inpatient program for mental health, we know it seems scary, but we rarely hear what it's really like for them. In this essay, Etta, 17, bravely shares her personal story. Read more.

What do you do when your college student is struggling to get to class?

When the Anxiety Monster reared his ugly head one morning at college, a student called his mom. In this essay from the CATCH series, In Real Life, she shares their conversation and the one important question she asked to support him in that moment. Read more.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

What do you do when your parenting worries and fears are running nonstop? In this essay, Linda Davis shares her strategy to cope with the distress, find calm, and get through the tough moments. Read more.

Dear Anxiety

When someone is struggling with anxiety, it's often hard to understand what they are truly experiencing. In this brave and personal poem, Shawn Oberholtzer offers a glimpse of what it feels like to live with this relentless mental illness. Read more.

Holidays, Family, and Mental Health: A Parent's Perspective: Mac 'n Cheese

Happy holidays? More like unhappy holidays for this parent. After struggling with an anxious kid through all the stressors - his racing mind, family dinners, and holiday travel - she's decided, sometimes it's ok to just make mac 'n cheese. Read more.

I Grieve Because My Son is a Senior and This Is It

While battling anxiety and depression, her son got through high school and is about to graduate.  After all the years of supporting him through his mental health challenges, this mom reflects on missed moments and offers the lessons she's learned along the way.  Read more.

I Prefer Pandemic Days

While a year at home put many people into a panic, for some the pandemic delivered a serious break.  In this essay, a mom explains why she's just not ready to rush back to reality.  Read more.

A Mother Shares Her Daily Fears of Parenting a Child with Depression

When her child was 2 years old, this mom realized he needed mental health support.  Years later, she reflects on the challenges and rewards of parenting a child with depression in this essay about what happens In Real Life.  Read more.

Am I Brave Enough?

Her son is graduating from high school and planning for college, but after years of supporting him and his mental health challenges, it's not that easy for this mother to embrace the moment and let go of the worriesRead more.

GBN Grad Shares What It's Like to Experience a Depressive Episode

Someone who is smiling, laughing and experiencing joy can still have depression. GBN '10 grad Erin B. Doppelt explains what depression is like "In Real Life" in her brave and personal essay.  Read more.

An Anxious Parent, An Anxious Child, and the Value of Validation

What’s a mother to do when her own anxiety gets in the way of parenting her child with anxiety? In this post, one mom shares what she learned from her therapist and how it’s helping her manage the mix of emotions. It’s a helpful lesson on the value of validation and a reminder about what to do when we just want to fix everything. Read more.

The Work of Worrying Less

When you are the parent a child with mental illness, the fears are never-ending.  In this essay, a mother gets real about her concerns and shares her plans to worry less.  Read more.

Real Talk: Essays from Real Life

Real Talk: Essays from Real Life

From the CATCH Podcast: Parenting the Mental Health Generation

If you'd rather listen than read, tune in to Real Talk: Essays from Real Life. 

We're recording these heartfelt and honest stories from parents and others.

When you hear people share their most vulnerable moments, you'll know you are not alone.

Listen