I would love to start talking about silent mental illness. Last year I was gearing up to start talking about this very topic on my blog, ironically I came down with severe depression at that time.
Since this blog is coming from my own personal experience as a mother, a wife and a sufferer, I don't want anyone to get the impression that this is how it is for everyone, this has been my journey. I can only imagine that some of you out there will read it and it might look familiar. I suppose as I talk about silent mental illness I should describe what I personally am talking about. I am talking about the illnesses that can be very easily either overlooked or labeled as something else. An illness that is so serious that it can encompass the entire family. Ones that have touched my life are anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, severe separation anxiety, severe sleeping disorder, and now boarder personality disorder.
The reason I call these conditions silent, is because most of the time the person is either not presenting behaviors because their medication is working or, they may look as if all they are demonstrating other types of behaviors, "bad behaviors", "inattentive", "rudeness" and/or "unfriendly" but certainly not a medical condition. A condition or combination of conditions can seriously affect the person who is suffering and it can affect their caregivers, family and friends around them.
My experience started around 11 years of age, but that is probably just when I can remember more clearly circumstances, words spoken to me, and consequences. I am sure I had it most of my life. I say this now, because of my youngest child who has sounded like me from an extremely young age. So I have felt it for about I'd say about 36 years. When I was young, I was not offered help. No meds or counseling. I just had to cope and the way to do that was stuffing the pain, tears, fears, and worries and moving on. Laughing a lot instead of crying.
I met Rick and he and I married. He knew I was a mess (I tease him, that in the natural world he would have eaten me if he were a lion and I were an injured or ill gazelle, so well kind of his fault for taking me on :). Together we had 3 beautiful and extremely smart children. I mean really smart. As it turns out, all 3 have a somewhat serious case of a silent mental disorder. Of course that is what they got from me! and all the mental illness from Rick. No no no......I kid....
Our girl is the oldest. She has ADD. For most of her very young life she spent aloof. I thought she had hearing problems. She would trip over bikes in the yard. Or get sucked into anything that was on TV. She would work for hours and hours on a paper. One time she wrote a 10 page introduction to a paper she needed to write, and that was in 4th grade. She would always get "lost" in what ever she got involved in. She, however, has always been a very verbal about her ADD. She is a very strong advocate for her own self. This helps me and her dad.
Our second child is a boy. He came out needing his mommy. We family bed him in the hospital. I was under a lot of stress during his pregnancy, and that is what they say adds to all the chaos to the precious baby en uterus, nice mom. He really experienced a lot. When he was just a newborn he did not like being held by anyone other than mom or dad. He was very heavy (10lb 15oz) but looked really skinny. He slept through the night so infrequently that if he ever did, I woke up ans was sure the entire family had died. He was finally tested and shown he had Sever separation anxiety from me and from Rick. He had a sleeping disorder. He slept 3-4 hours a night. He walked at 10 months., He was a tight snuggler and had no boundaries. He was diagnosed with depression in 1st grade along with his sleep disorder and his sever separation anxiety. Along with that, he had sensory integration issues. This Through all this I was with him and supporting him. Cora was a frequent visitor to his appointments. It was there we discovered she needed Physical therapy for her poor trunk control. So this begins too.
Then comes Sam. FUNNY! He was always funny and still is. He's charming and very smart. But he was born without self esteem. So even when he was getting us to laugh, he hated when we laughed. And if we didn't laugh he got so upset that we didn't find him funny. It was and still is a balancing act of which way should we take this, he's funny, do we react or should we pretend not to notice.
13 years ago Rick had acute depression. It came on very very quickly. It was job related. I worried about him constantly. At the time I had a very thriving Pampered Chef business and making pretty good money and earning free trips and product. It was then that I had to slow my business down. December 2014 I became completely inactive and no longer sell Pampered chef. It came from Love for my husband and for my family. I could no longer have as many shows at night after that fateful depression and slowly veeerrrryyy slowly my business went down down down. Then I got sick and I let it go a drift. I just could't manage it anymore.
Me and my anxiety is all I knew. One fateful appointment to a marriage counselor, telling the same stories I have before, but this time for some reason, BOOM! depression hit and it dropped on me and it stayed. The professionals called it that for about 10 months until I entered the program I am in now. They call it Borderline Personality Disorder. Yes, I am embarrassed to tell everybody. Yes, I was surprised I had something like this. No, I don't have every symptom, but, I have enough.
I have lost friends, made enemies, I have lost my short term memory, I have lost my ability to organize, I am sad most of the time, I feel inadequate, frustrated, and sorry. But I try, too. I try every day to work towards health. I have made different friends and have kept a safe distance from what makes me nervous or more anxious. I have taken my crafts and art and writing more seriously. I don't sell anything. I don't think I am up to that caliber yet, but it bring me some joy in my life. Sharing it on Facebook and with people who happen to come over or go to coffee with me is enough. That has to count for something.
Listed below are several links to the disorders that I have touched on. By all means there is way more information and experience out there, but it gives you a good idea if you are just interested. Autism or mild dementia can appear to be a silent illness too. This is a topic that I will be bringing up often in my blog. I also will be bring in my art and my animals as well as other random things that happen. Thanks for the time you took to get through this lengthy post, I had to do this post sometime. Trust me it took WAY longer for me to write it than for you to read it. k~