I have anxiety disorder and depression. With meds, I am functional. Without meds, I am frequently useless. I take my damn meds because I want to be a good Mother and wife and not drag everyone down into my maelstrom of batshit. I don’t like having a mental illness. It is not fun. However, being in denial about my illness and making everyone around me suffer so I can avoid a “label” is worse than not fun.
Two of my daughters have been diagnosed with mental illness. Lilo’s Asperger’s syndrome is not a mental illness, but the OCD and anxiety that comes with it is. Stitch doesn’t have Asperger’s, but she does have OCD and anxiety like her Mommy and big sister. This is nothing I “wanted” for them. I am often consumed by guilt because I feel like I gave them poisonous DNA. I wish they didn’t have these issues, and I would give both my legs to free them from it.
In spite of my preferences, they DO have these problems so I haul their tiny tushies to a therapist and she is working with them to teach them coping skills. The sooner they learn the techniques to manage their illness, the better they will be able to function in the future and it lessens the chances of their needing medication for it as adults. Do I enjoy paying for treatment? No. But it is infinitely preferable to having them suffer frequent and/or debilitating panic attacks for the rest of their life.
My parents don’t approve of all this “diagnosing”. They don’t want their precious and beloved granddaughters “labeled”. My Dad recently complained to Mom that I would take the girls to specialists “until I found something wrong”. Clearly I don’t want what is best for my daughters mental and emotional health. I just want to find trouble because I am neurotic and have Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Huh. Now here I was thinking that there was something problematic about the fact that Stitch was in hysterics the other night. She heard a “funny noise”, decided it was a ghost, jumped to the conclusion that it was MY ghost, ergo Mommy was dead. She cried herself sick, and was almost inconsolable. It took me 1/2 an hour to get her calmed down. This happens, if not frequently, at least regularly. It’s been a week, and she is still fixated on it. She is still worried about what MIGHT have happened at Spock’s birthday party, which was 2 months ago. She is still stressed over Lilo falling down a YEAR ago. That is not “normal”. It is something that hurts her and if there is a way to make it hurt her LESS then I will crawl over broken glass in an open sewer to get it for her … and anyone who thinks that I am wrong for doing that can kiss my ass.
My mom is in her 60’s. She has ADD and OCD and anxiety and (I’d bet the farm) some other joyful things messing with her mental processes. She won’t go to a therapist because she is “too old to change” and “everyone would find out” and talk about her. She lives in Appalachia. Gossip is no small matter there. My mom is extremely focused on what other think of her, and demands external validation at every turn, so she choses the opinions of others over the reality of her needs. Therefore, rather than get help, she just lets the panic attacks take control. She misses birthdays, she misses opportunities to see her grandkids, because she is (intermittently) afraid to drive up here to visit. She has episodes of depression that render her non-functional. It has effected her well-being, and the well-being of her husband and children, for as long as I have known her.
Call me crazy, but I really don’t see that as a “better” option than acknowledging the problem and trying to manage it.
Then there is my Dad. God love him and all his Asperger’s qualities, but he thinks that 95% of mental illness is just people being “weak”. He also categorizes learning disabilities as “laziness”. He does this so he can join his wife in floating down the river of denial. He missed my depression until it had wrecked the my GPA and my health. He still argues that my youngest brother doesn’t really have a learning disability (ADD and mild dyslexia and auditory processing delay) because Charmer is doing just fine now. Yeah, that because Charmer was smart enough to figure out coping mechanisms as an adult. Nevertheless, Charmer struggles with school and Dad’s disappointment have effected his whole life negatively. Yeah, that looks peachy. Pardon me if I don’t want my kids hung out to dry the same way, just because I want to pretend they have no problems.
I fear my failing my children WAY more than I fear social stigma or judgmental asshats.
I love my parents, but they shove their opinion on my parenting and the girls mental health where the sun don’t shine.