Faith, love, hope – words I heard all of life but really did not feel the true meaning of such simple words until my son was born nearly 18 years ago. They are my motto every day and words I often express to others.
When loving a child with a disability of any kind they are words you cling to and believe in. My son suffers from emotional disabilities, or neuropsychiatric disorders or mental illness, however you choose to label what he lives with on a daily basis. He always overreacted to the most minor of situations, raging often, crying frequently and riding a daily roller coaster ride of emotions.
From very early on I knew something was wrong, which started this journey that is now 17 years long and prompted our book No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid. As he grew, suffered and tried desperately to understand what was happening to him he struggled with many questions of “Why?”, why me, why am I like this? along with feeling as if he were the only kid in the whole world who was struggling with these very complicated challenges.
I have often been called the parent who did not discipline my child, who raised a spoiled, manipulative, self centered, unruly boy, which are all very far from accurate. If you are a parent of a “high spirited, intense child” as I am, you have most likely heard some of the same accusations from parents of “perfect” children who do no wrong, who respond to their parents every command on queue, and perfectly behaved and well mannered.
My hope and prayer is that the people in general open their minds and come to realize that children like mine, who suffer with these illnesses, are not bad kids, not evil or purposefully oppositional but are lovable, kind, funny, smart and full of promise as is every other child. Yes,they may do things differently, loudly, extremely,and outrageously. They need to be given understanding, reassurance, patience, acceptance and compassion. Mentall illness carries such a negative stigma, need to work to change that. Take the "Mental" out of Mental Illness, and it is what it is, an Illness.