It's true I haven't blogged in a week. I've been psycho busy and blogging isn't exactly a lucrative business but WOW I'm glad people noticed. Ego stroked! Ego stroking leads me to my rant for the day. At the risk of sounding like a world class ass to even more people I am asking you to share what I write today. It's about ignorance/stupidity and neglect and I might be writing about you. MIGHT.
In 1976 I was in first grade. My teacher suggested to my parents that I might have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). They were horrified. It was the seventies. It was more accepted to be a polyester wearing swinger than to have a kid with "problems." Second grade brought the same suggestions and throughout my school career I had difficulty concentrating, staying in my seat, shutting my pie hole and was told constantly that I wasn't working up to my potential. My general fund of knowledge and intelligence kept me in A's and the occasional B until junior high when the academic expectations required sustained focus. After that all hell broke loose.
By the time I was a senior in high school there were some questions as to whether I would even graduate. I was getting into trouble and my parents were beyond angry. Why couldn't I calm down and focus? Why couldn't I behave? I was so angry with myself. WHY COULDN'T I? I so wanted to and then I figured out how. I used alcohol and drugs to do it. I had the access, the cash and the will. My most successful days academically were when I was stoned. I snuck out of the school for cigarettes. A quick smoke and I regained my focus. This is how I got through the day. THIS IS CALLED SELF MEDICATION.
Today the stigma attached to ADHD, depression, and other "mental illnesses" is less negative but nowhere near less than l believe it should be. When I was still doing face to face work with children and families I worked with numerous people who could not accept their child's diagnosis. They blamed the school, the neighbors, the child for being a jerk, themselves for being lazy with discipline, etc.They had no knowledge about mental illness. They didn't understand what it meant to have a child with ADHD or a learning disability. What did this even mean? THIS IS CALLED IGNORANCE.
Most of the parents I worked with knew their kids needed help. I suggested things like medication, medical intervention, behavioral plans/ interventions or counseling but they either didn't want to spend the money, chose to ignore the problem /behavior until it became dangerous or illegal or played the blame game with the world. THIS IS CALLED STUPIDITY.
If you or your child were diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cystic fibrosis, turner syndrome, arthritis or any other physical problem you would seek treatment, correct? I'm assuming this which may be ME being stupid but I can't imagine you would you say, "If I just TRY harder I can get my goddamn pancreas to make enough insulin," and risk your life every day? Are you like Charlie Sheen? Will you make it so with your MIND?
Would you ground your child from friends, television and video games saying, "Jimmy you little brat! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST MAKE INSULIN LIKE I TOLD YOU YESTERDAY? You really inconvenienced me and I had to leave work to pick you up from the hospital because you passed out and guess what else? That damn diabetic coma you were in was rude. You should answer when people talk to you and not lay there ignoring us. ALL THAT VOMITING ON THE SCHOOL CARPET did damage and I'm taking the money out of your bank account. Your mother and I are so disappointed that you can't make insulin like the other children."
FAC T #1: The numerous conditions known as mental illnesses are no different than any other condition in our bodies. They are a result of a chemical imbalance. Some require medication, some do not. All of them require awareness and some form of treatment. All of them are exacerbated by other physical conditions AND chemicals in the body. ALL OF THEM ARE TREATABLE. They are NOT preventable. They come in all shapes, sizes and cause differing degrees of impairment in life.
FACT #2: If you choose to ignore of deny the existence you are setting yourself and/or your child up for FAILURE. Ignorance isn't your fault. Stupidity is a choice. Choosing not to help your child is stupid but THIS IS CAN ALSO BE CALLED NEGLECT.
Now about that hell that broke loose in my life? My parents finally got on board the crazy train. I got therapy, medication, support and ACCEPTANCE. I stayed alive because I stopped self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. I went on to college and graduate school. I earned two Master's degrees. Of course the story isn't that simple but the point IS just that simple.
MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT A WEAKNESS. MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT INVISIBLE. MENTAL ILLNESS IS TREATABLE.Mental illness is no different than any other illness in your body but because it's occuring in your brain and you can't see the evidence on an x-ray of a blood test there are boneheaded douchebags that claim it doesn't exist. Ignorance, stupidity and neglect feed the problem. If your fragile ego is preventing you from getting help for yourself of God forbid your child then you can't blame a chemical imbalance. THIS IS CALLED BEING AN ASSHOLE.
P.S. This might just be my favorite blog ever.
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