P T S D
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
I have been that mom. The one with the marginally clean house and the happy kids. The one who smiles and laughs and loves life. The one who seems to have it all together.
I have also been that mom who shut herself in her bedroom and spent an hour restlessly pacing back and forth, trying to convince her panicked brain to stop.
I have been that mom who felt like she was stuck in a giant pit of quick sand and no matter how hard she tried, she could not break free from the powerful grip. All she could do was watch herself sink deeper and deeper into despair while life as she knew it carried on above her.
I have been the mom who was so scared that her cancer was going to return that she was almost paralyzed with fear, causing her to not be the kind of mom that she knew she could be.
Mental Illness is Real.
It is time to end the silence.
Are you wondering why "so and so" is always avoiding social situations? Maybe she/he suffers from social anxiety.
How about the woman next door who just can't seem to be in anything but her bathrobe? Maybe she is battling severe depression.
What about the kiddo that just can't seem to stop bouncing off the walls or seems to have no boundaries? Maybe that child has ADHD or Autism or some other Sensory Processing Disorder.
So you ask yourself...
"Why doesn't that person with social anxiety just get over it?"
"Why doesn't my neighbor just put on some clothes? Surely that would make her feel better."
"Why doesn't that kid's parents just discipline him/her or put him/her on some medication?"
My friends, we have to stop. We have to stop pretending that mental illness is something that people can just "get over." We have to stop thinking that medication or enough discipline will solve the problem. We have to stop judging our family members, friends, and neighbors and ask ourselves instead,
"What can I do to help them?"
A lot of times, however, the person is afraid to get help because of the stigma that is still attached to mental illness. They don't want to be "that person" in the office who is seeing a psychiatrist. They don't want to be "that mother" who has her kid on medication instead of going the natural route or they don't want to have their child be the one who has to leave class to speak to the school counselor.
We can win this battle together.
We can stop pointing fingers and whispering behind backs and start helping.
We can stand up for our friends when people start questioning this decision or that.
We can pray for them and pray for ourselves to know what we can do and how we can help.