Social Issues

The Real X-Men

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I guess many of you read my Facebook post a few years ago. It said about my first bout with this type of illness. I deleted it a long time ago, just because I felt it wasn’t necessary for people to see it, in its content and the way it was written. But now I have a blog I write in sometimes as well as a clear mind, I just want to tell a part of my story in this almost eight-year battle.

I’m part of what I call the next big issue society will have to discuss and act on, the mentally ill. No, I’m not ashamed and I don’t think being open about this will harm me. There are far worse cases than what I am experiencing. More and more kids are being diagnosed with mental illnesses such as ADHD. Maybe it’s because of all the radiation, I don’t know, and that’s not what I came here for.

Just a while ago my dad told me people don’t get ashamed when they have disorders in their kidneys, or heart. The brain is just another part of the body, so why treat it differently? That’s one way of looking at it, but he’s the kind of person who’s both outspoken AND well-informed. In my opinion, the world isn’t prepared yet to tolerate us at the same level as the LGBT community. It’s their time right now, same as females. Push a bit more every day, and someday I imagine they won’t be bullied or looked at as inferior. But when you look at a news item, say a shooting spree at a school and the suspect has bipolar disorder, you’re pretty sure he did it.

Before I went to college, my parents were considering putting me in this place where I’ll get to live and study with peers who also have mental problems. The guy pitching the place to me described the students as like the X-Men: a minority, people whose potential the world doesn’t understand yet. I didn’t end up staying there, but I understand the connection. We’re not part of the mainstream, at least not while the seeds are still growing.

Right now I’m being treated mainly for Bipolar symptoms and anxiety issues, plus a host of other more minor disorders. I’ve had anxiety since Grade 6, and people didn’t know until that Facebook post I mentioned. What many people don’t know is anxiety can destroy lives, it can be that awful. And sometimes what you don’t see in a person’s face, words or actions is the worst part.

My sickness led me to do very bad things to my family. But I know in my heart the real me didn’t mean any of those things. I regret doing those things, because I saw and felt them, even if it was like another person controlling me. I move on every time my mind clears, and I write whatever happened so I can tell my psychiatrist and improve my condition.

When I walk in the mall by myself, I remember the agony of the early days of my anxiety issues. When the day starts I’ll have minor fever and palpitations. When I’m in school I’ll have cold sweat all day and go to the restroom to puke at least once. And when I arrive home I’ll crash at my bed so tired because I didn’t have a rhythm in my walking (every step required great effort). No one knew what I was going through because even I didn’t.

So there’s always hope when everything’s pointing the other way. I honestly thought my situation was hopeless, and maybe I was too young to understand. Now I realize my condition’s taken a quantum leap for the better, and I can’t imagine how better life can be after the next one. Those kids who are having suicidal thoughts, they’re in the dark. They think their situation is hopeless, but it just needs a single person to light one match in their consciousness.

The key really is just two things: communication and the support system. I have those and they’re the two main reasons I’m much better now. When you’re always alone, dwelling on your problems, then you’re not opening yourself up for others to help you. I can even argue that because I opened myself up, my family’s been closer and more understanding than ever. Going to mass, reading the Bible, praying from the heart are part of our lives now. And trust me, God is one of those you can open up to.

So that’s all I wanted to say. Let’s all do our share in erasing the stigma associated with the mentally ill. We offer the same potential as those who are in the mainstream, we just take a little more time and a little bit of tweaking to reach our peak. Don’t judge us so quickly, because you never know, the people you idolize might be hiding the same things you despise. Like all people, we’re just a little broken inside, but we can do great things in spite of our flaws, amazing and inspiring things.

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