Mental illness does not discriminate.
It does not care your gender, race, culture, religion, age, skin or hair color, shoe size, weight, height. So it can happen at any age to any person without warning.
Take care of your mental health as best you can. Become better informed about mental health disorders / illnesses. So that if it happens to touch down and impact you or your loved one that you will be better prepared on ways to get support and adequate treatment.
If your like me, I was once uninformed about the real facts regarding mental illness. I only fed my mind from what movies, media and false representations portrayed as individuals who have a mental illness/disorder. All of which, these are bad and create stigma and fear. The stigma is what causes fear in both the outsider who is led to believe false facts and it keeps the individual with the mental illness isolated and living in silence about what their dealing with.
I’m not a doctor. I’m not a licensed therapist. I’m not a mental health professional. But what I am, is a mother who has lived through some very trying moments with my children’s lives who have been changed, marked, and impacted by mental illness/disorders and also developmental challenges. I have my own experiences, views, opinions and voice, which I have chose to break my own silence and be the voice for others who will not advocate for themselves or are unable to speak. I have experiences with two very different worlds.
One being the “special needs & visible disabilities” world, where there seems to be somewhat more of an acceptable disability and their is more compassion and empathy. There is stigma over here too. There are even segregated categories and isolated community events. Other parents know what I’m talking about. You have those who are considered “high functioning” and those who are “developmentally delayed” (like my own son). Then you have “nonverbal” and various other “labels”. Labels by the way, don’t bother me. They’ve become white noise to my life And there may even be times I use them as a word to grab other people’s attention to better comprehend my articles. What does bother me is stigma, negativity, and false representations created by people who don’t know the truth or they speak about what they heard or voice upon things that aren’t true to their own life. Sadly there are times I have come across, even within this community we don’t fit in because maybe my kid is higher functioning. Or maybe my kid is verbal and others aren’t. Or maybe one is wheelchair bound and nonverbal, while someone else has the full use of their legs and ability to verbalize communication. So sometimes that creates separation. Honestly sometimes I feel like my son, isn’t “disabled” enough to be accepted in certain atmospheres. Its like others see him as not fitting into the “regular programs” because he’s delayed. I just see him as who he is. He doesn’t see himself as any less capable of someone else or any higher than the next. He is just super friendly, kind and socialable. And he just wants to be acknowledged by a simple “hello”.
The other being the “mental illness/disorders & invisible disabilities” world, where there seems to be more negative judgment, stigma and less acceptance, with very little to no compassion or empathy. Since becoming more involved within the advocacy for this world I’m in. It has been quite eye opening and I have become better informed on the side of speaking out and what needs to be said. Mental health laws need to change for the benefit of both parties. Mental health education should be required in schools and educators should be required to know this stuff accurately. There should be way more funding toward finding a cure for Mental illnesses. And there should be more funding invested into lab testing so people can be accurately diagnosed for better and more effective treatment. Oftentimes people go years being treated for the wrong diagnosis and that is why sometimes it will appear that treatment does not work. I just want both worlds to know that I am here and that I still have a whole lot more to learn but for now I’m using my own experiences to voice my views.
I’ve become their voice. That voice who isnt afraid anymore. That voice who speaks against stigma. That voice who will advocate for my children’s fair treatment and spread awareness to those who remain “untouched”.
You see my worlds are somewhat small and its by my own choice. Because I do what I can to protect my children from emotional harm and cruelty as well as keeping myself from becoming angrier with ignorance or wilfully ignorant people.
God gave me my voice to speak, so I’m using it for a greater purpose than to just talk nonsense.
Thank you for your support and following my journey.