Mental Illness. - The illness of denial?
As I have repeatedly stated, I support and welcome guest blog posts. I am pleased to announce that next week, 8/22/22, I will have a guest blog post by Cody Mcbride on the topic; Making Your Mark as an Influencer: Questions You Should Ask Yourself. Thank you Cody for your submission.
Greetings. This week's post is an expansion of last week's video post as a result of many emails I have received asking me to discuss this topic further. However, before we begin, there are a couple of reading ground rules. Is there such a thing? The first is that mental illness is a topic that everyone hears about and knows about but does not want to deal with the reality of its existence. Therefore, here are the ground rules.
1. READ THIS ENTIRE POST.
2. These are medical facts, not my opinion. Any personal experiences I relate to are based on medical facts and the facts of the events. Not opinion.
Some of the questions I will be addressing in this post are:
- Sources of mental illness.
- Where and when does it start.
- How to recognize it.
- How to deal with it.
- Awareness/Parental denial.
Keep in mind this is a blog post, not a book. Each one of these topics can get into greater length. There is sufficient information available on the internet if you want to know more about a particular topic. As we begin, I would like you to keep the following two things in mind.
Being a parent is a lifetime job.
A parent's job never ends.
LET'S ADDRESS ALL THESE POINTS:
There is numerous diagnosis of mental illnesses. Only a professional in that field can diagnose and choose the proper treatment method for a particular type of mental illness. Mental illness comes in many forms and for many reasons. It can be as simple as depression, anxiety, or other forms of illness. Not all types of mental illness present a danger to society, people, and those suffering from them. However, identifying the source is where the challenge begins.
For example, for many people that are affected by some form of mental illness, the source can be traced back to their childhood. Yes, I know. You have heard that millions of times. However, it is a proven fact. We must keep in mind how a child learns. A child learns by example, association, their surroundings, and the people they are surrounded by. Keeping that in mind, we must also know that at younger ages, a child does not understand or have the ability to rationalize what they see. However, they are old enough for it to affect their emotions and leave a lasting impact.
This is paramount in cases of child abuse or neglect. I made two statements above. Being a parent is a lifetime job, and a parent's job never ends. Both are true. Bringing a child into the world is a tremendous responsibility. One which most takes seriously. Sadly, there are many that do not. Many children come from drug-addicted parents who leave them alone for hours, even days.
As a paramedic, I once responded to a call for a baby that would not stop crying. After many hours, someone in the same building called 911. Upon arrival and gaining access into the apartment, I found many items of drug paraphernalia lying around and two babies still in diapers. They were eating the feces in their diaper. As it turned out, the mother had an addiction problem and was known for leaving her children alone for long periods. Of course, we took all the necessary steps to report this and care for the children. Subsequently, the mother was found, arrested, and the children taken away from her and placed in foster care.
The question is this. If the mother was known for this, why did she even have custody of these children? That answer is simple. NO ONE WANTS TO GET INVOLVED. No one previously reported it. To some extent, I can understand it, even though I do not agree with those choices. People are afraid for their safety. However, if no one ever gets involved, children could die, and things will never change. I have been on these types of calls for children of all ages. I've been called to check out 6, 7, and 8-year-olds found walking the streets at night with no clothes on.
Do you think that does not have an effect on these children that could follow them into their teenage years and older? If you don't, you are greatly mistaken. This can lead to these kids growing up on the streets and learning how to survive. They don't go to school, skip school, get a poor, at best, education, and often turn to a life of crime. A young adult is very impressed when the local drug dealer pulls out a roll of money and doesn't have to go to work at a regular job to earn it. Younger children and teenagers are the easiest targets for these drug dealers.
Not only is this a source that can lead to mental illness, but it is also a time in their life where it starts. They learn anger and violence. In their eyes, that is normal. A way of life. Another source is broken homes and neglect. I am NOT saying that two people should live together if they can't get along only for the children's sake. In reality, that is even worse. It's worse because the children do not experience a normal, loving, and sharing family environment. With that said, many couples stay together because neither can survive on their own financially. However, that is no excuse for neglecting your children or using them as a tool against one another, and that happens quite often. This oftentimes leads to child abuse. Mentally, verbally, and physically.
That does not have to be the case. Unfortunately, there are deadbeat fathers and mothers as well. I raised three children. I was divorced when they were in their pre-teenage years. However, my wife and I were instrumental in their lives through and after the process. To this very day, my children have grown into wonderful adults. Own their own homes, and have their families. I still speak to them regularly to see how things are going or if they need to talk about anything. Remember I said you are a parent for life, and it's a lifelong job. My children were NEVER exposed to any disagreements my wife at the time ever had. We split up, agreed on what was best for the children, and followed through. Both of us were instrumental parts of their lives. Our family stayed close because she and I acted like adults.