Did you feel worse knowing that you had a diagnosis that was not going to go away, you weren’t going to outgrow it, or did you pretty much know already before the diagnosis that you were always going to struggle with this?
Of the years I remember being alive, mental illness has been apart of nearly all of them. From the days I scratched my arms when overwhelmed to when I seemed to be on the run. It was always there, laying in the background of almost every thing I did or said. Nearly everyday, I would meltdown in some way or the other, and my mood changed so fast that I would often leave other kis hurt and confused. Teachers and daycare workers would yell at me or tell me to calm down; but I never could. My emotions were in control of me, not the other way around. Yet they expected me to pull it together, often pointing out that Ben or Emily had calmed down. By the time I was thrust into the public school system, I knew that I was different; however, I couldn’t imagine how anything else would be like. This was all I knew.
Thus, as my disease progressed and became more obvious to others, I was always confused when they said I seemed different and asked if I had been been feeling odd lately. While I would smile and say that I did feel bad inside, I was thinking “But I’ve always felt this way. Why are they just noticing? I thought they said it was because I was spoiled.” In a way, I was angry when they pointed something out, because a few months before they had yelled at me for that very thing. Now they’re concerned? It didn’t feel right to me. If that made my head spin, though, I wasn’t prepared for when my parents were called in with my teachers, and I heard those words drop: mental illness. As if hitting a trigger, I responded with venom and denial. Mental illness was homeless people screaming on the streets, not me! For a long time, I would not even entertain the thought as diagnoses rolled to me; but once I accepted that something might be wrong, I was relieved. I wasn’t bad. We had our answer.
Somewhere along the line, though I am not sure when, I heard or read that a lot of these things last for years, even a lifetime. My whole life? Back then, I’m not sure I understood the weight of that, or if I could see that far ahead. While the idea of having a disease my entire life was intimidating, I just kind of shrugged it off. I had always felt this way, and never expected it to change. For me to completely different. The very fact we could treat it surprised and excited me. I could feel better! Maybe I could even be happy. My focus was on all the things that we were doing now to help me. Long ago, I had accepted that I would always be different. I was just glad to know it wasn’t because of inherit badness, and more than that, there were others. The length of the illness didn’t cross my mind as much as that.
PS: Sorry for the poor quality. I do not feel well.