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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mental Disorder or Just Life?

Bipolar. ADHD. Depression. Anger problems. These are the "diagnoses" that have been given to basically everyone I know at one point or another in their lives. Me, I was given bipolar, ADHD and I'm pretty sure anxiety was in there somewhere. 

   I'm sure almost all of you can relate to this. If you can't, that's awesome. That hopefully means your brain was not subjected to harsh unfamiliar chemicals that stunted your growth, turned you into a fat emotionless zombie, or made your little boy body grow boobs. Which apparently is the newest drug side effect these days. 

   When I was in fourth grade, I remember the doctor writing a special note to my teacher that allowed me to play with this little chain necklace during class. The doctor figured it would help me concentrate, but what he didn't know was that I really just wanted to have special permission to play when other kids couldn't. I wasn't stupid. They called it ADHD; I called it boredom. When my mother took me to the doctor talking about, "She must have this ADHD everyone's getting", and I found out that having ADHD meant having a cool little chain necklace to play with during class when all the other kids had to sit there and pretend to listen, I happily agreed, "YES I have ADHD!". ADHD was awesome. I even got a special rubber seat cushion to sit on during class. The rubber seat cushion was full of air and it's purpose was to help me concentrate on balancing during class, which somehow was supposed to make me concentrate on whatever the teacher was saying. Really though I just ended up concentrating really hard on balancing and really hard on having fun with my chain necklace. 

   First they put me on Ritalin, then they put me on something different once that appeared to not work, then another, then another. I'm pretty sure Adderall is the one they finally stopped on. Apparently I wasn't as hyper as I once was. It could have been due to the fact that by this time I was starting to think boys were cute and that was feeling a whole lot more important than playing tag and running around like a child. Or maybe the Adderall was "working". Who knows.

   When I was 15, in an inspired fit of creativity, I stayed up until about 2 AM drawing a picture of a beautiful Victorian era little girl. To this day it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever drawn in my opinion. The next morning I excitedly showed the picture to my mom and dad and proudly announced that I had stayed up until 2 in the morning to draw it. My parents immediately forgot about the beautiful drawing and began saying things like "this is a classic sign on mania" "blah, blah, blah mania". A couple days later, I was in the doctor's office with my parents. They were telling him about how I got angry a lot and stomped around yelling(teenagers are usually so calm!), and I experienced depression regularly... Here I thought I was a regular teenager just like any other, but apparently other teenagers didn't get sad about boys not liking them and apparently it wasn't normal for a teenager to get angry when not allowed out late. This was all news to me.
    Needless to say, a whole stream of different medications came to follow. I gained weight, lost weight, slept days at a time, barely slept for days at a time... I was a mess of a kid. Finally in the years to come I would wake up to the fact of how dangerous all those medications were and I'd stay nice and far away. But that's another story.

   The point here is that we are a way over diagnosed nation. We shove pills down our children's throats because we believe these doctors who are claiming our children are broken. When really, our children are children. It's that simple. They are living life. They are having fun. Or they're not having fun, but either way they are just living. Calm down. Take a breath. Your kid just doesn't like the boring stuff their teacher is saying. They don't have trouble concentrating. I'll bet you that if that teacher was talking about something cool, your kid would be able to tell you allll about it. Now, I'm not claiming that there are no mental disorders. There are. I have seen real mental disorders. I'm just saying that most people diagnosed are just living their life and they've decided it's hard. They want a pill that makes life easy and happy all the time. The truth is that life is not always happy. It's depressing, it's scary, it's exciting, it's maddening. Life is beautiful. 

   We are here to experience life. Taking a pill that dulls that experience is not a way to become happy. If you want to be happy, you have to earn it. It won't feel right unless you do. You will not feel deserving of it until you work for it. To get to the happiness, you need to first deal with the sadness, the anger, the anxiety. The happiness cannot be fully appreciated until you have felt those things.

   I welcome the good, I welcome the bad. Both have taught me beautiful and unforgettable things. I wouldn't be the awesome person I am now without my best experience, and I wouldn't be the same without my worst. It's scary to have bad experiences, but the more you face them and learn to get through them, the better you'll be at handling them. The better you are at handling them, the less they will be able to make you feel negatively. 

Namaste ;)

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