Growing up with a mental illness is… Normal.
I didn’t realise I was different.
Being on different medications all the time was normal. Being hooked up to an EEG machine was normal. Having my teacher tip out my school desk all over the floor in a fit of anger was normal.
I was just me.
I didn’t at all think there was anything really wrong, I just figured it was no different to my asthma, or my allergies. It seems funny now how normal I used to think I was but how different I realise I am now. To be honest I wish we all had that childlike “normal” approach to mental illness. It is just another illness.
My upbringing was good. I had a great life; no traumas, no anxieties. Yet at age 5 I was diagnosed with anxiety, I still have the paper. ADD and Anxiety. Truth is I actually have type 2 Bipolar Affective Disorder, but that’s not exactly something that’s easily identifiable in a child.
So I was anxious but with nothing to be anxious about. I had a great home environment and parents that loved me. I wasn’t a kid that got abused, nothing bad ever really happened to me.
I was just a kid with an illness in my brain.
An illness that made me different.
An illness that made school hard; I all but failed.
I found solace in art.
Not solace from the world; solace from my soul.
It was like I had a storm going on inside me everyday. Staring out the window of my classroom I felt torn away from the world I lived in but would always be abruptly interrupted by a scowling teacher. This was my world.
And this is many children’s world.
It’s about time we showed them they weren’t so alone.