I was scrolling through some blogs today when I stumbled on a quote by Dumbledore in the seventh Harry Potter movie. I heard it perfectly clear when I watched the movie in theaters, but I only just now realized something about it.
It could be just me taking it in the way I understood it, or it could have been meant this way, but nonetheless the message is true.
This totally started making me think about mental/emotional disorders.
Although the anxiety, ADD, ADHD, or even the extremes like schizophrenia are things that are simply in our heads, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.
People tend to have little or no sympathy for those who have mental disorders because they don’t understand and can’t see it. People often say things like, “Just because you have anxiety, doesn’t mean you can’t do things.” or “Your (insert disorder here) doesn’t control you.”
While it is true that you can fight your disorders and try your hardest to overcome it, it is not true that you can get rid of it entirely. And it is NOT EASY! However many people tell you that you are being ridiculous for your actions, you need to just take a step back, and ask yourself, “Is this something I could have controlled/done better?”
A lot of the time you will feel like you couldn’t have fixed it. That even if you had known the outcome of a situation, you wouldn’t have been able to change your actions. Even if this is true, you have to remember that you can’t overcome it simply by will and the desires of your heart. You can’t overcome these things on your own, but most importantly you have to realize that your disabilities/disorders are there. You have to accept that there is something there that needs to be taken care of.
I know from personal experience that mental disorders are misunderstood. When I first learned what anxiety really was, I was shocked. All of those things that define anxiety were…me.
When I tried to bring it up with my mom, she simply said something along the lines of “maybe we should take you to a doctor,” which is parent code for, “If I say this, will you forget about it and move on?”
After a LOOONNNGG time, I finally got to the point where I was breaking down over little things like someone eating my ice cream or someone telling me that I was wrong. Everyone around me thought that I was being stupid or ridiculous. They didn’t understand why I was being such a “baby.”
I felt like crap. I felt like I couldn’t go to sleep because if I did, I would just be closer to having to wake up and do things. I would lay in bed and not want to shut my eyes because I was terrified. I cried A LOT. And all the while I felt like I was being stupid. That I was stupid for telling myself I was stupid. And on and on into a downward, never ending spiral.
Everyone I talked to told me that it was all in my head because, “if mom thinks it’s nothing, than it obviously is nothing.” Finally, after a huge breakdown over a stupid History assignment (thanks to my dictator teacher) my mom finally agreed to take me to a doctor. They had me take a survey, and after talking to me for a bit, even they seemed unconvinced. They didn’t seem to even look at the answers on the survey and they just casually prescribed a generic anxiety medication.
Worst thing they could have possibly done.
After a while of taking the medication, I found myself getting worse. I would sit in a class, considering whether or not I should answer a question, and I would start to panic and shake and my heart would pound just at the thought of raising my hand. The medication had DEFINITELY not worked!
Finally, my mom decided to give me a medication that is commonly used for ADHD. And finally I was seeing some positive changes. I was definitely more happy and outgoing. I was no longer afraid of saying something stupid in front of my friends.
And finally, I realized the most important thing about this experience.
It WAS real.
No matter what happened, I knew that these problems couldn’t have been nothing. I worked at it, trying to convince SOMEBODY that it wasn’t just in my head.
Well, actually it was in my head. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.