When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be Sick


collage by coyotefugly

There’s nothing more frustrating than being a child, asking for help because you don’t know what’s wrong with you and that simply something IS wrong with you, and having nobody fucking listen to you.

To stand there, to tell the people who should listen and care and worry about you that you need help of some kind, and have them completely disregard you simply because ‘you’re a kid’. By the time my parents started to even accept the possibility that I might’ve needed help years ago, I no longer cared to get help, as I’d been living with these problems for so long that I knew I could cope with them far better than having to listen to someone tell me how to deal with them. I was forced to go to therapy, but I didn’t listen to a single thing anyone said, nor did they prove themselves of having anything worth listening to in the first place. All the same, inane bullshit therapists have spouted for decades. Then they did what they always do, they throw medication after medication at you, hoping one will stick to the wall, but they never did. In fact, no matter what they gave me, it only ever exacerbated the problem or caused some other unrelated side effect that made me feel worse, like weight gain. Great, now I hate my brain AND my body. Wonderful.

Thankfully though, it seems we’re turning around on this and recognizing that kids might actually be smart enough to know what’s wrong with them, or at least know that they have something wrong with them to begin with, and that’s great. And, for the kids who don’t start out with something but instead grow into something, that is still a good thing. Everyone can be sick. Nobody is immune from illness, of any kind. Great, you don’t get the flu that often? That’s awesome. How’s your anxiety treating you? Pretty terribly right? Right. Because you’re still susceptible to illness, whether it’s physical or mental. So often when we speak of illness, we immediately think of it as a physical malady. Being physically handicapped or something of that variety, and that’s why, I believe, mental health gets not only pushed under the bus, but then also shit on by the bus driver. The hardest part honestly, in my life, hasn’t been coping with the problems I have but accepting that I shouldn’t be ashamed of having them to begin with. I feel much more ashamed of being sick than I feel sick. The stigma can be worse than the illness, and there’s something really fucking wrong with that.

Kids can be sick. As much as we as a society, as a nation, who like to believe ‘no child left behind’ while we underpay teachers and take money from education and believe we’re protecting kids, we sure refuse to listen to them. We sure refuse to even acknowledge that they’re still people. They’re human  beings. Human beings completely capable of being sick, of being sad, of being hurt, and the sooner we start to accept that, the sooner things might start getting better. You can’t protect children if you don’t fucking listen to the things they tell you they need to be protected from. If a kid tells you they’re having scary thoughts, that they want to hurt themselves, that they’re very upset for some reason, how about you listen to what they have to say. Kids might not articulate as well as adults, but it’s actually that cutting through the bullshit approach to speech they have that makes them much more understandable. Adults like to dance around problems, they don’t like to admit they’re sick. Kids know feeling sick or sad is a feeling they’d rather not feel, and they want it to stop. Adults would rather pretend they’re ok. Your kid is either already sick or going to grow up to have some kind of illness, physical, mental or otherwise. Just accept it.

Trust me. I’m a great example of parents who didn’t.


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