I watched something this morning that not only tugged at my heartstrings, but it nearly caused my mother heart to burst wide open.
Before you continue reading this blog post, you have to watch the video. Otherwise what I say may not make sense.
There were four little letters that were mentioned in this video that sent a wave of hurt rolling through my body.
P T S D
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
When I looked at this beautiful mother's face while watching the video, I saw my own reflection.
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 real and it is scary. At times, it is debilitating. And oftentimes, it is a battle that is waged in silence for fear of what people may think or say about you.
It is time to end the silence.
It is time to end the stigma and the ignorance. You cannot know what a person is going through unless you walk that dreaded mile in their shoes. You cannot judge someone's strange actions without knowing what is going on inside his/her head.
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?"
It's easy to say all of those things when you are not the one who is in the midst of that battle.
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?"
Oftentimes, the person is trying to get help. As in the case of Emily Dyches, they were doing all that they could to get her the help that she needed. They utilized all of the resources to their disposal. But there were still missing pieces to the puzzle and without those pieces, the battle is hard to win.
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.
How can we do it?
We can stop pointing fingers and whispering behind backs and start helping.
There is hope and there is help when there is LOVE.
I am loving my second chance at life.
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Copyright Desirae Ogden, www.desiraeogden.com, 2015.
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