When Mental Health Improves, the Possibilities Are Endless

Cazandra Campos-MacDonald avatar

by Cazandra Campos-MacDonald |

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My youngest son, Caeleb, is 16 and preparing to begin his junior year in high school. School has been difficult for him since before kindergarten. With complications from hemophilia and an inhibitor, he missed numerous days of school through his third-grade year, which caused him to lack social skills at the time. It took quite a while for him to catch up and be comfortable with his peers.

Online school through the pandemic also affected my son negatively. It dampened his social butterfly personality, resulting in depression and anxiety. When he finally returned to in-person learning, it seemed like his fourth-grade year all over again. Finding his place was difficult.

When Caeleb came to me and asked to see a therapist, I was initially surprised. Then I began to look closer at my son. I see him daily, and throughout online learning, I sat with him to work at the kitchen table. But he needed help. It’s easy to miss the signs when you are with someone often.

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The school counselor recommended one-on-one counseling. This past spring, Caeleb began seeing a therapist weekly. He’s responsible for his appointments, indicating that he appreciates the work. His desire to care for his mental health is beautiful.

Working with the therapist led to an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. My husband and I didn’t want another medical condition that would label my son; we believed that hard work would be enough for Caeleb to succeed. But with his past struggles, nothing worked.

After speaking with physicians, we realized medication to help Caeleb’s focus might be worth exploring. He’s in the process of figuring out his correct dosage. It takes some time.

However, I’m already seeing a change in him. He seems excited about the school year for the first time in his academic career. He has a full academic schedule with challenging courses and band commitments. As he prepares to start school this month, I see new hope in my son.

As a mom who was a highly motivated, successful student, I have difficulty seeing my son struggle in school. It’s hard for me to understand. Not that I’m making excuses, but a friend reminded me that Caeleb’s journey to this point was filled with struggles I’ll never understand.

Caeleb is a fighter. Despite hemophilia, he’s more empowered today than I ever imagined possible. He may not realize it, but I see the strength and courage that personify him.

He will find his way. I know this for sure.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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