Do you ever stop to think about just how much you affect other people before you act? Before you say something, write something, post something, do something? It’s probably human nature not to think about it often. We all get caught up in our own crazy lives to think or care about it. But maybe we should think about it. Maybe we should care.
Because of something that recently happened I was thinking about some posts I’ve written and how I made generalizations or assumptions and written in a harsh tone. I regret it. I wish I hadn’t posted those things. I hate it when people get so wrapped up in their own opinions and causes that they don’t think about how the way they present those opinions and causes can affect and possibly hurt or damage others.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be allowed to share our opinions or progress our causes, but I do think it’s important to do it in the right way. I hope, for the most part, my posts have shown that I’m simply writing about my own experiences and not trying to generalize, stereotype or chastise people. I know there are a few, and like I said, I very much regret those. I’d rather be someone who inspires than one who degrades, berates or makes fun of. I also hope that when others share opinions that are different than mine I can respect them rather than become annoyed or contemptuous. Respect, gratitude and kindness seem to be lacking a lot in society today, but I honestly believe we’d have a better world if people saw how important those things really are. If they saw it and acted upon that rather than impulse or anger.
One thing I always hoped was that if/when I had kids they would never have to suffer from mental illness the way I did/have. So when my daughter started exhibiting signs of anxiety when she was only eight my heart hurt so much. I knew what was possibly in store for her. People said she was lucky because she had me, and I could help, but I don’t know what it’s like to have anxiety as an eight-year-old. I don’t know what it’s like to help an eight-year-old who has anxiety. Luckily, it hasn’t been too debilitating for her. She has a lot of fear and I’ve seen her have full-blown panic attacks, but it doesn’t interfere with her every-day life as much as it could. At least not that I’ve seen. Of course, who knows what will happen in the future?
As a parent it’s always hard—probably the hardest thing in the world—to watch your child struggle. Almost a year ago, after a bunch of testing, I was told that my son (six at the time, now seven) was borderline on the autism spectrum. I had wondered, but there were certain traits he had that seemed to conflict with autism, so I simply hoped for the best. However, there are a lot of stereotypes out there about Autism Spectrum Disorder, just like there are about mental illness, and I’ve since learned that those traits of his do fall within the envelope of ASD. My son is incredibly smart, so I don’t worry about him academically, but socially he has so many problems. Whenever I ask him about who he plays with at recess he usually tells me that he plays alone. He doesn’t seem to notice or care—he’s used to going into his own world. But it breaks my heart. I’m sure kids look at him and see that he’s not “normal.” They make assumptions, not really knowing or understanding why he is the way he is. They make assumptions about who is and what he’ll do, not knowing that he really isn’t that way. Truth be told, he’s smart, energetic (maybe a little too much!) and so extremely loving. The other night, he slipped this note he wrote me under my bathroom door as I was getting ready for bed.
I know some people don’t want to bring children into this crazy world of ours, but children are amazing and strong and resilient. And my children are the greatest blessing God has ever bestowed on me. All I can do is pray that I’ll be able to help them and love them in the way they need. All I can do is hope that they learn and grow and become more from their struggles the way I have with mine.
I have wanted to write, but I’ve been too busy. I have written, but then I don’t think it’s good enough. Then I emailed my boyfriend about this experience I had and thought it would make a good blog entry. It’s about anxiety.
I work as a secretary at a high school and this morning a couple came in at 8:58 for a 9:00 meeting with the principal. He was still in another meeting and not in the office. So the couple sat down to wait. By 9:05 I was wondering if the secretary they had talked to when they came in was going to go get the principal. They did have a meeting at 9:00, and it was now five minutes after that. By 9:08 I was about ready to go get him myself because that’s too long to have to wait. 9:12 rolled around, and I couldn’t believe they hadn’t freaked out about the fact that the principal still hadn’t come down and no one seemed concerned in the least. I was about to freak out! My anxiety levels were going up and up, despite telling myself to keep calm and not think about it. Finally, at 9:14 the principal walked into the office, and finally, I was able to start calming down. Start—because it took awhile.
It sounds so stupid, doesn’t it? It didn’t even have anything to do with me! The couple sitting there seemed calm and patient, and even if they weren’t, I wasn’t involved in the situation, so why should I care? But time gives me so much anxiety. I hate being late. That doesn’t mean I never am, but I try as hard as I can not to be because I know that it will give me anxiety. And that’s what mental illness is. It doesn’t make sense. But it still is.