The title to this post may seem hurtful, because it is hurtful. Imagine being the child that phrase is said to. Today in Canada we are having "lets talk day. It's a day where people are encouraged to talk about mental illness, either their own illness or about how it affects someone close to them. It's a way to remove the shame many people feel who suffer from some form of mental illness. Just like when people from all walks of life started coming out as members of the LGBTQ community, many people from different parts of society are coming forward to admit they have suffered or are suffering from some type of mental illness. People are now finally realizing it is just an illness, you wouldn't feel ashamed for getting pneumonia or cancer, you shouldn't feel shame about this.
I find there are times when I have to watch that I don't let darkness creep in. Lonely dark winter days that can isolate or make a person feel isolated, are the most dangerous. I have seen the effects of depression and other forms of illness on friends, to be honest it really scares me. I can't stand not being in control so the thought of an illness that takes away control and delivers chaos, is frightening to me.
I was thinking that I'm lucky I have not had to deal with mental illness. Suddenly I realized that is not true. I had a lot of anxiety as a child, I worried about everything, I was afraid of everything. I think my parents realized something was wrong but were not sure what. I remember having to go to a psychologist, I remember being told to keep that hidden, I remember my dad and older sister thinking that I just needed to "smart'n up". I knew my thoughts were not normal for a kid and wished they would just go away but I didn't know how. I wished that I could just be like all the other kids, I did not fit in at school. I remember my father saying things like "what is wrong with you, it's like your half mental", he often used that term. I don't hold that against him, he gave me a secure life and he just didn't know any better at the time.
I also remember why I almost never take medication for anything. I was given something to help me, some sort of medication, it was orange and had a great taste. The trouble I found was after a while it wouldn't help, so then I would have to take double. The other thing I found was I felt calmer after taking it but then hours later I felt like crying all the time. Like many children, I learned fast to fake being better, I didn't know what that medication was but I felt it was something to be avoided.
One final thing I want to talk about is how kids can hide stuff from their parents. I never talk about this but my parents have no idea how ill I could be at times. I was terrified of my father and hiding everything from him was goal number one. At a young age I developed some sort of bizarre eating disorder, I had heard a story of a child choking to death just from eating her lunch. My brain focused in on this and I developed a fear of choking to death. No one ever knew I stopped eating, adults rushing around in their day to day lives would never suspect a child going to great lengths to hide this. This obsession with not eating would last for months at a time. For weeks I would survive on chocolate milk and soup. I would take food but slip it to the dogs after, no one noticed. The last time it happened I was probably thirteen just turning fourteen, I never told a soul until last year, I mentioned some of this to my sister but I could see she didn't grasp what I was trying to say. To this day, I feel that I affected my growth rate, I feel that is why my frame is so small compared to other guys. Well that's my story.