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So I log into facebook today, and I see a beautiful wall post that my friend posted and I had to re-post. It's apparently special needs/autism/adhd awareness week. I spent a good 10 minutes, and still am, crying about this subject. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant but I don't think so. This topic touches my heart greatly. I am an adult with mental illness. I believe 2 of my children have mental illness but it's too early to tell. I have to wait until puberty according to their doctors. I struggle each and every day with it and I honestly try to hide it because I'm tired of the labels. I'm tired of being called "crazy," "wild," "not all there," "worthless," being told "you'll never make something of your life because you're nuts," the list goes on and on. I was told I was "crazy" from a very young age and NO ONE corrected it. My mother encouraged it and never advocated for me. It's taken me 24 years to finally break through the label and I STILL have people call me "crazy" on a daily basis, not because I do anything "crazy," nor have I in years, but because of my past and the label that has followed me. You have no idea how much this hurts unless you have a label like that follow you your whole life. It destroys your self esteem, your thought process, your way of looking at things. It's hard. I avoid trying to meet new people because of it. I avoid telling people I have mental illness because of it. I haven't presued my dream job because I'm afraid of the rejection. I'm afraid of someone saying "We found out you have mental illness. You can not work with the mentally ill. You can't help others who are like you because you're "nuts." It's a very real fear. It's very damaging and I don't think a lot of people know how damaging it really is. I don't post a lot of comments or share my facebook page because I'm afraid of being judged so cruely as I have been a majority of my life, because of my mental illness, which is part of who I am. I've been in treatment for the better part of 13 years by the way.
My point with this whole post isn't to gain sympathy, make you fear me or think less of me, just simply to educate. If you have a child with special needs or mental illness, PLEASE be their advocate. PLEASE don't let them be bullied like I was and still am. Please teach them that labels mean nothing and they're beautiful. Teach them their illness/disability does not define them. THEY define their illness. If you hear they're getting labeled at school, if you aren't comfortable going there to defend your child, imagine their discomfort they feel every day and PLEASE over come it for them. No child deserves to grow up with labels or stigma associated with illness. They last their ENTIRE life and it's heck trying to get rid of the labels and show people who you really are under the label that they think you are.
If I made any of you uncomfortable, it wasn't my intention. If I hurt anyone's feelings because they don't advocate for their child, which I hope I don't, you can change! Start today! This minute, right now. Simply tell your child they're beautiful and you love them no matter what. If they come to you and say "Mommy, so and so said I'm (insert whatever cruel thing children and adults can come up with here)" Tell them that there's no way others see them like this, especially you. Tell them they're their name, not whatever the rude, cruel person said,` and hold them extra tight.
If you don't, they could end up like me: Struggling to walk through life destroying labels others made for me before getting to know who I really am, avoiding relationships due to fear, and no one wants their child to go through life like that. I know I don't. Our children need our love, guidance and help, not ridicule. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing that. I realize it must have taken courage to put down all of that in writing. Based on your comments and posts here and on the TTC board, I never once thought you are in any way 'crazy' or 'out there' or any of those things. The impression I got is that you are a kind, loving woman who loves & takes care of her husband and kids. You are a wonderful person. Thats who you are to me. The fact that you have been struggling with mental illness and been getting treatment, doesn't change my impression of you one bit. This is just added information. That's all. It definitely does not define you. I pray to God that I am never in that situation where my child is struggling with being labled as something out of the 'norm'. But if God forbid, that does happen, I promise I will remember your words. Thank you!
I'm so sorry you have been through that in your life! From what I see you are a sweet person and loving mother! The only labels that should be attached to you are...STRONG, loving wife, loving mother, and I'm willing to bet a great friend! You are stronger than you gave yourself credit for in that post!
Thanks for sharing that and I'm sorry you have to struggle with the labels as well as the illness. So many of my good friends have mental health issues, and they are all amazing, beautiful, intelligent people who have so much to share, and you give the same impression of intelligence and passion. I myself suffer from depression and anxiety, but it is very much an internal struggle that doesn't get the same external judgment that other people get. It is sad that this world marginalizes and alienates people who have so much to share as friends and workers with a little support and understanding.
I believe that you would be an asset to the mental health field, since you have lived with it yourself. You are in the unique position to understand and empathize with others who suffer from mental illness. But of course I can understand your hesitation. Thanks for sharing
As someone who has suffered with PTSD for more than 20 years, your post really hit home with me. Thinking back to the days when I was untreated and undiagnosed is tough because I was also labeled.
In addition, I have a child with autism. Thankfully she got all the therapy she needed early on, so she's doing quite well now, but still, anyone familiar with autism can still tell that she has it. I will always be her biggest advocate and biggest cheerleader; she is a blessing to me and the love of my life.
As an aside, I successfully worked in mental health for quite a few years, and found my mental health history more of an asset than anything else. My struggles have made me who I am today, so if anything, it gave me more of an ability to approach my clients with the compassion and empathy that they desperately needed...Pursue your dream job if that's what you want to do - I'm sure that you would be great at it!
I am sorry you had to struggle so much and your own mother would not stand up for you, that breaks my heart. Your children are so lucky to have you as you will be the best advocate for them knowing what it is like.
The support you ladies are showing me and others with illness/disabilities is astonishing. Thank you so much. You actually left me speechless, which is hard to do, ask my DH lol. I wish I had the words, but all I can say is thank you so much and you have no idea how much this really means to someone like me. It's inspiring.....
I'm sorry to had to live with labels like that. Every child should have strong advocated for parents! It was a beautiful post, and you should pursue anything you put your heart & mind too! We'll certainly cheerlead you on here!
My youngest, who we say is "quirky", I am pretty sure there is something there with her.
I am wondering if it could be aspergers or sensory sensitivity. I will be getting her screened soon. I feel like I am always trying to explain, she isn't rude, or naughty. I don't let her get away with her "fits" she just can't cope with things. Or when a child tries to talk to her and she says, Mommy! I don't like this!. She isn't being mean, she is seriously scared.
When I talk to my mom she says I just need to spank her and not let her get away with it. She doesn't get it.
I don't want something to be wrong with my child, but I want answers so that I can help her cope, and help myself cope.
My oldest also has ADD.... and after finally finding a pediatric neuro who could explain things to us, it made a world of difference in helping our child.