By: Alyssa Cutt
Growing up with Mental Disorders
I struggle with ADHD, Bipolar, and a little bit of OCD. Growing up was not easy at all especially for my family because they did not know what was wrong with me. My Bipolar was really bad when I was little, it caused me to go into screaming rages with my mom, and we would constantly fight with each other all the time about stupid little things. The biggest trigger for my Bipolar was when someone told me “No.” That word set me off into a screaming rage because I was not going to get what I want. Bipolar is defined as having mood swings ranging from depressive lows and manic highs. I am not going to lie and say it was easy because it was actually really hard.
The hardest disorder to grow up with is ADHD, because on top of the Bipolar, ADHD causes behavior problems as well. ADHD or (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) But what does it mean? It's a condition that makes it difficult for children, teens, and adults to pay attention and/or control their behavior. ADHD causes Behavioral problems like aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions which is where the little bit of OCD or (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) comes into play. ADHD can also cause Cognitive problems like absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, problems paying attention, or short attention span. Mood problems like anger, anxiety, boredom, excitement, or mood swings. ADHD can also cause depression or learning disability.
When I was little, I did not understand what my diagnosis of Bipolar and ADHD meant. It was not until I got older that after seeing all the symptoms in front of me and realizing that I can relate to all of these, that I have to struggle with this problem every day. It started to make a lot of sense why my mom and I would fight all the time and why I could not sit still to save my life in school. I feel like my mom struggled the most when I was little because she was a single mom trying to raise me, and from her perspective here I am her baby girl and her not knowing if I am ok. Her coming in my room to check on me in the middle of the night and seeing me play with my stuffed animals almost all night long because I couldn't sleep. The two of us constantly screaming at each other over something small and her thinking “am I doing something wrong?” When In reality she was doing everything right to make sure that I will be treated no different from everyone else.
What is the hardest part of having a mental disorder? It is feeling like you are the only one that has this condition in the entire world, when in reality there are thousands of people that know exactly what you are going through because they have the same thing. Looking back, I honestly feel bad for my mom because, I know that she tried to help understand but she felt like she could not help because she did not know how. She did everything to make me see that I am not the only one out there going through this. If it was not for my mom taking me to doctors and finding the right medications that work for me, I do not know where I would be now without her. My mom is my biggest support and she really changed the way I look at my mental disorders. She helped me open my eyes and look at them as a way to help others just like my younger self, and to spread the knowledge to other people who know nothing about ADHD and Bipolar to show they are not alone.
When my mom was at work my grandparents on my mom’s side were the ones that stepped in, to take care of me. Since my mom was a single mom trying to take care of a baby, she had no money so my younger years were spent growing up at my grandparents' house which will always be what I consider my home. My grandparents always make me feel so special and around them I never felt any different. They are so special to me and have helped me get through my bad days. They have helped so much in my life and I am very thankful to have them.
What was something that really made you angry? Is when people especially my teachers would say that I am just using my mental disorders as an excuse for something. They would act like it was some made up thing like it was a persona that I put on in order to get by. Some teachers to this day still act that way towards me but now I know How to approach the situation and deal with it. But there are two teachers that made a huge impact on my life the first teacher was my fourth grade teacher Mr.B, he was the one that told helped me get an IEP teacher (Individualized Educational Plan). He made sure to always check on me and see how I am doing. The crazy part about all of that is he did not actually go through it himself yet, he made me feel like I was not alone.
The second teacher is Mr.Schellert I had him my sophomore year for U.S History and my junior year for Government in high school. Now looking back at those two years I feel like he understood that I struggled in history. Yah, there were days I tried really hard but did not get it and there were other days where I gave up because I could not focus or because I lacked the confidence and did not try at all. Instead of hounding me about my missing work like other teachers did he would step back and let me take care of it myself. Which made me notice that he really wanted me to succeed and he knew that I was smart enough to do it, so it made me push to try. He made me feel no different than anyone else because he looked past all the bad days I had where I could not concentrate, and he looked at who I am as a person. Which made me look up to him, feel close to him in a way that I knew I could trust him because I knew he would not judge me, and I respect him a lot. Thanks to these teachers they led me on my path to success and looked past my mental struggles, and because of that I am a senior that will be able to feel a big accomplishment of getting my high school diploma in June.
The Lesson I want people to learn is that everyone struggles with something no matter how big or small they may seem. You are the one who can choose to look at it in a different way you can change the perspective. There will always be at least one person who knows exactly what you are going through. If you can you should try to get into contact with them and sometimes reading, researching, and watching videos about other people who know what you're going through can make it easier to get through. As you get older you figure out your own way to cope with things. No matter what you can get through anything as long as you try.
Thank you for reading!