If You Don’t Get Your Kids The Psychiatric Care They Need, You Fail

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depressed-teen-girlWhen my doctor told me I might have adult ADD, I laughed in his face.

“Take the meds,” he said, ripping the prescription off of the pad, “tell me how you feel in a month.”

I took them, wincingly, expecting it to be bullshit. I waited for evil things to happen. What I found instead is that I can suddenly do things that I never imagined doing: our bills are paid on time, I no longer promise to do things and then break those promises because I become overwhelmed by them and watch TV all day instead, I can write without being gripped by the sudden urge to hyper-focus on all of the dust on the blinds. I can function. I am converted.

When I tell people that I take Ritalin, they usually don’t believe me. Ritalin is for kids, they say, or they launch into a lecture about how ADD is fake quackery and bullshit. If it was legit, why did it take me so long to get a diagnosis?

The answer to that is simple: in my family, we were not allowed as children, to take psychiatric medication or even see a therapist. It took me 26 years to get a diagnosis, and that actually kind of pisses me off.

I hadn’t raged about this for awhile, until I was watching Extreme Guide To Parenting and watching Shira wax philosophic about the dangers of meds and the quackery of shrinks. I think this is wholly irresponsible.

I have two brothers. After some court-ordered counseling, one was prescribed Risperidone, an antipsychotic, the other was prescribed Bupropion, an anti-depressant. My mother flushed both down the toilet, and without telling stories that are not mine to tell, I can at least say that in both cases, this proved to be catastrophic. In one case, we are extremely lucky that it didn’t end in tragedy. It almost did. Twice.

I hear all of the time that there is a tendency to over-diagnose. Maybe ADD is less prevalent than the high rates of diagnosis indicate. Perhaps not every teenager is depressed. People complain all of the time that as a whole, society is over-medicated because we don’t want to deal with hard things. I don’t know how much of that is true. But I’ve seen firsthand what happens when it isn’t.

Someone with depression does not have a flaw in their outlook on life. They have a flaw in their brain chemistry. When it grips them, they can not force themselves to be happy. They can not eat ice cream and watch movies and feel better. It can be deadly, and yes, children can be depressed.

I didn’t believe that I had ADD because I didn’t believe that ADD was a real thing. Like a lot of people, I assumed that Big Pharma just wanted all the money we schlubs could be scammed into giving them. I believed this of all psychiatric medication, because I was raised with this as the gospel truth.

When I see parents say that you can “cure” disorders like ADD and even depression with the right diet or by cutting out food dyes or by using aromatherapy or by wishing it away, I get angry. I am thrilled for every person who feels better through crystal healing or yoga or through the use of a therapy dolphin. I really, really am.

But for some people, that’s not enough. For some people, our brain chemistry is just so janked up and wacky that a little shove in the other direction solves the problem. Sometimes the most we can hope for is that it will help even a little. Telling them they just aren’t trying hard enough to heal themselves is some straight up uncool bullshit and is totally butts.

If your kid needs help, give it to them. Don’t bet their lives on what you assume is true or because you went to the University of St. Google and think you know better. I rarely take a hard stance on parenting issues, but this is definitely one of them: if you don’t get your kids the psychiatric care they need, you fail.

(Image: MitarArt/Shutterstock)


  1. JenH1986

    August 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

    There is a reason why these medications work. Do I think doctors default to medication when other methods might work? yes. Do i think medications should not be used? HELL NO. In cases of depression where someone might want to come off medications using talk therapy can be very beneficial. Psychotic behaviors are different and sometimes, a lot of the time, talk therapy might not be able to overcome psychotic episodes. But these are medical doctors, trying the medication temporarily, seeking out second opinions, trying talk therapy to learn new coping skills can all be used for people who might want to wean off meds. Parents who see their kids struggling and refuse to at least try medication are doing a huge disservice to their kids.

    • allisonjayne

      August 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Yes. It sucks that we don’t have tricorders or whatever that thing Dr. Crusher had that diagnosed stuff perfectly, because with things like ADHD, depression, etc, there’s a lot of guess work. Try this. Oh, that made it worse? Shit, ok, how about this? Did that help?

      It’s not the same as with physical stuff, where we can easily and accurately test if an antibiotic is making an infection go down.

      It definitely sucks, but not using any medications is not the solution. Until we invent tricorders that can accurately diagnose mental health issues, sometimes people have to try all sorts of different things (medications, therapy, cutting out sugar, whatever else) until something – or more likely, some things – work.

    • JenH1986

      August 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

      YES! it’s not a one size fits all. Sometimes you gotta try all sorts of different things, different meds, different therapists, different therapies! I practice CBT and strengths based approach. My friend uses reality therapy. One might make more sense, another might not. It’s hard and can be such a long process, but a solution/path/treatment plan can be found. I wish it was as easy as a blood test to say “Oh you have Dx: ABC! This is how we fix it.” But even if an appropriate diagnosis is given that doesn’t mean there is only one way to go about it. Having quality healthcare professionals who are willing to work with you, that you trust and that listen to you when you say “this is making it worse!” “Or I’d rather deal with my symptoms than these side effects.”

    • leahdawn

      August 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      There is certainly trial and error, depression unfortunately is not a “one size fits all” condition.
      DH had what we called the “angry red pills” for a time. His doctor wanted to try something different to treat his depression and gave him the now infamous red pills. They made him ridiculously, inexplicably, filled with total rage. He only took them for a few weeks before we were both tired of him freaking out and going into a screaming rant over any small thing that went wrong.
      Thankfully the medication he takes now seems to work pretty well and has been consistent for over a year.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Totally tangential, but “angry red pills” made me think of that MRA Red Pill forum, which immediately made me think, “This explains SO MUCH.”

      At any rate, I’m glad your husband’s doing better!

  2. CMJ

    August 19, 2014 at 9:19 am

    The medication my uncle takes saves his life. Whenever I see people talk about how they “don’t need to medicate” and thatl everyone else should follow suit it makes me rage.

  3. JJ

    August 19, 2014 at 9:20 am

    This makes me rage so hard on your behalf and on everyone who has ever struggled with a mental illness or condition in which medication could make a world of difference. I get that people are suspicious of pharmaceuticals in this day and age and yes I’m glad people are curious about what they are taking and try to be aware of the side effects some of them take the paranoia way to far. It is seriously sad and sick how some people will make others suffer, especially their own children, in the name of boasting about “curing” illness’s. I’m very sorry that happened to you and your brothers growing up. When will people learn you cannot cure thinks like depression, bi polar, ADHD, etc by simply cutting out the sugar in a diet and eating kale or carrots all the time. Sipping a freaking cup of natural tea in an outdoor zen garden doing yoga does not wipe ones brain chemistry of all signs of severe depression or even worse mental illness’s. Now prescriptions mixed properly with a healthy, active life style, proper sleep and good diet can make a difference I believe that. But diet and lifestyle alone can’t cure mental struggles. It’s not the exact same thing but I remember one time my friend had bad pneumonia she needed a medical prescription for it, an updated puffer too because she has bad asthma the whole works. Getting out of bed was hard much less getting out. Her natural path, hippie friends recommendations? Have you tried sitting in our garden with some tea and natural roots. Yeah cause that cures serious illness’s like pneumonia when you can’t even get out of bed or breathe normally.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 19, 2014 at 11:32 am

      I’ve had acupuncture suggested as a cure for my diabetes before. Yeah, because the amount of needles I already have to shove into my flesh on a daily basis has worked wonders for making it go away!

  4. keelhaulrose

    August 19, 2014 at 9:21 am

    With Robin Williams’ suicide I’ve seen a lot of the mental health crazies coming out. Celebrities condemning anti depression meds (do you have an M.D.after your name? No? Then fuck off). Speculation that friendship or a better diet or homeo-whatthefuckever would have “prevented” it.
    I’ve struggled with depression as long as I can remember. There is no “fix”, there’s just supports, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. The more supports the better. There have been times where I’m only alive because of my dad, or my husband, or my kids, because all the other supports had crumbled. He’ll, at one point I was only alive because I didn’t want to leave a story half-finished, and I knew I was grasping at anything and had to find more sports, which is really hard in this country.
    And, yes, professional help is a support. A crucial one, and one that should be put in place as soon as possible.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 19, 2014 at 9:43 am

      It’s maddening to see how some people have used this as a way to decry medication and push their little “remedies”. If taking long walks and sipping herbal tea helped you, then that’s great. Really. But a) that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone and b) it also means you probably were going through a rough patch, but you were NOT suffering from depression. I have gone through a few rough patches myself, and some very low times in my life, but I’m not such a huge asshole to assume that I was struggling with serious depression and that if everyone just exercised more they’d feel better.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

      I can’t stand people who think going through a period of sadness is depression. Not all sadness is depression. Depression gets you even on “happy” days. Depression is going through the same thing “child abuse” is, where the real definition is getting lost in the watered down versions everyone and their mother diagnoses.

    • K2

      August 19, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Exactly. I didn’t even want to tell anyone I had depression, because a lot of people don’t get it or take it seriously. I was ashamed. Even to the friend who realised I had it, I’d lie and say I was feeling so much better, it had passed, etc.

      Sadly she ended up cutting me off but that’s another story.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Ugh. Yeah, I really hate the “Your happiness is up to you, choose to be happy today!” garbage. I had a friend who passively-aggressively posted this garbage on facebook every single day.

    • CynicalMomof3

      August 19, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Agreed- way to make us feel worse, because it’s now our fault because we don’t CHOOSE to be happy. Oh, sorry.

      Exercise does help me in that often I can get through a day after it with less crying, and I will recommend it in addition to therapy and medication.

      I also get frustrated by people who expect me to be better one day after taking medication. I’ve now tried every category over several years, and my depression still gets better and worse on its own time, if at all.

      It’s difficult to have depressed friends. I get that. But I really respect the one person who kind of stuck it out with me, because everybody else just bails. And that’s ones who specificially TOLD me they’d be there, and to be honest and not hide what I was going through.

      It has made me more compassionate, though.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Yes. I hate that saying “I’m depressed about something” means the same as “I have depression” to so many people now. It’s not the same thing.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Yes, or saying “I’m so OCD, all the pictures on my wall have to be straight.” Mmmmkay.

    • FishQueen

      August 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      That one and “you’re so bipolar”. My dad has actual, terrifying bipolar, and it’s not funny and cute to joke about. It’s debilitating for him and his family.

    • Larkin

      August 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      So true! My SIL has bipolar, and it’s seriously scary sometimes.

      Weirdly, my company’s insurance rep made an awkward joke about bipolar when she was describing our mental health benefits last year. She said something like, “So, if you have bipolar or something, this would be great.” When no one reacted, she was like, “Guys, that was a joke!” We all just stared at her (it was a room full of social workers). Yeah, bipolar is HILARIOUS, lady. Yikes.

    • FishQueen

      August 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Ugh, ew! So much wrong there, I don’t even know where to start.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      August 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      This one drives me bonkers. OCD has ruined a lot of good things that could have been in my life. I don’t usually say anything because I know they don’t mean anything by it, but it’s frustrating.

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

      This. I know I’ve never been “depressed.” Down? Yes. Really sad? Yes. But situationally. True depression is complicated, debilitating, and extremely misunderstood. I hope more and more people will become aware of the difference.

    • K.

      August 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

      I thought a therapist was going to ask me if I was happy, and because I didn’t believe I was depressed, I was all set to say, “Yes, I’m frequently happy!” Which is, I think, true.

      What he asked however, was “do you experience joy in your life?” And that stopped me in my tracks because the truth is, joy is not really an emotion I DO feel that often. I try to tell people that when my depression is “normalized” (ie, it’s not a low point), it’s not so much that I’m sad, but really the absence of joy. It sounds horrible to say, but my point is that you can live a perfectly “normal” life, with a full set of emotions, laughing and being social like anyone else and even being happy. It’s not a disease that requires moping around the house (although that happens, of course). On terrible days, depression has me cycling between soul-crushing boredom and apocalyptic anxiety, but on normal days, I am perfectly functional–it’s more that depression makes things less vivid and crisp somehow.

    • Maggie J

      August 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      This. Truly an excellent description about having living with depression is- especially in the long term. Thank you.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Oh, I hate that one. I used to go on a chat board for depression in college, and errrybody said that! Nevermind that I had an eating disorder and raging exercise addiction at the time…

    • Spongeworthy

      August 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Yea, a little exercise can be a great pick-me-up, but it won’t completely replace things like therapy and medication.

    • Jayamama

      August 19, 2014 at 10:47 am

      My mother suffers from chronic depression. If she goes off her meds for more than a week, she’s suicidal. Now living alone with her dog (since she’s divorced and her kids are all grown up), I’m pretty convinced that she’s only around still because the meds fix the chemical imbalance in her head so she can function. That’s what people don’t understand – it’s a physical problem in the brain that affects behavior. Just because we can’t see cancer doesn’t mean that (most) people say we shouldn’t treat it with drugs.

      I suffered a depressive episode for a year or so after my best friend died at 19. While it started out as grief, it spiraled into much more, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. There is no “just think positive” when it’s actually depression and not just being bummed out. I hope that some good can come from Robin Williams’ tragedy. Otherwise, it’s a huge waste of an amazing person.

    • 2Well

      August 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      It has given me the kick in the ass to look for a doctor.

    • CanLeigh

      August 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Homeowhatthefuckever is now my new favorite word.

  5. SweatPantsRomance

    August 19, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I remember going into college and getting a psych eval to get extra support for ADD. I told the psychologist I absolutely did not want to take medication. I was afraid to because of bad experiences with anti-depressants and my mom had always steered me away. I gave in and took Adderall – I realized it didn’t make me feel like a different person or that I was taking some super drug. It just made me feel like me on a really good day where I have my shit together. I’m not on it now that I’m out of college because it’s hard to ask for as an adult. I was told I shouldn’t need it anymore :/

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 10:16 am

      If you still need it, find a new doctor. Some people outgrow it, but most don’t. They do regulate it, (you have to pick up the Rx in person, etc.) but it shouldn’t be that hard to get from a psychiatrist who does an adult evaluation to see if you still have it.

    • JenH1986

      August 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

      I take adderall at 31. That’s total BS. Go to the dr. take your medical records if necessary and tell them that it worked for you in the past. Most doctors will be willing to do that as long as you adhere to follow ups.

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 19, 2014 at 11:15 am

      My doctor obviously didn’t have an issue giving me a script for Adderall, since it was his idea, but the looks I’ve gotten at a couple of pharmacies were really uncalled for. Lots of judgment. I’ve been tempted to ask, “Whatsamatter? Are you jelly of my DRUGS?????”

    • JenH1986

      August 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

      ha ha ha ha. I would give them dead face. Which equates to “bring it bro” .

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Oh, I HATE dealing with the pharmacy. And god forbid you have a cold and have to buy some sudafed too! They haul out this big binder that says “METH LOG” and you totally feel like a junkie…

    • Awesomus

      August 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      The pharmacy I work in has a the Sudafed records electronically so we don’t have to haul out a “meth log” it’s kinda ridiculous to have it labeled that as well when just Sudafed log would work better.

    • Jem

      August 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Now that I think of it, I get that too. Every single month without fail they “need to call the insurance to make sure THOSE DRUGS can be covered”. Sigh.

    • 2Well

      August 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Adderall abuse is a major problem in many universities. One of my professors did a study on it back when I was in his class. Some of my classmates were interviewed on 60 Minutes.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Yes, it is! That’s one reason I hope my son outgrows it or can do without it my the time he’s in high school. The thing with Adderall is, even if you don’t have ADHD, it will help most people focus and have more energy, so people work backwards and think “Oh, Adderall made me better, therefore, I have ADHD.” It’s really different for someone who actually has it, it does help them focus, but can make them really flat emotionally, or lethargic, which is the opposite of what it does if you don’t have ADHD. I do worry about that, which is also why I advise him not to tell his friends about it. Some kids actually try to buy it from kids with ADHD.

    • 2Well

      August 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Yep. Especially during finals.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Yes, it is! That’s one reason I hope my son outgrows it or can do without it my the time he’s in high school. The thing with Adderall is, even if you don’t have ADHD, it will help most people focus and have more energy, so people work backwards and think “Oh, Adderall made me better, therefore, I have ADHD.” It’s really different for someone who actually has it, it does help them focus, but can make them really flat emotionally, or lethargic, which is the opposite of what it does if you don’t have ADHD. I do worry about that, which is also why I advise him not to tell his friends about it. Some kids actually try to buy it from kids with ADHD.

    • SweatPantsRomance

      August 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Yeah, I made the mistake of mentioning being on Adderall to a couple of friends and they kept begging for them “just to get through finals” or “for this research paper” or whatever thing that was coming up. I lied and told them I didn’t go back for my monthly visit and was out so they’d get off my back. Holy crap the pressure was intense.

    • Larkin

      August 19, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      My college roommate was on Adderall, and she would sell some of her pills to classmates to make extra money. That always baffled me.

    • Jem

      August 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Switch doctors if your doctor doesn’t take you seriously. Life is too short. My doctor takes me seriously and never questions why I need it. Honestly, my schooling was never really affected. I don’t know if I just went to a really easy school (public schools hey-o!) or what but my grades didn’t usually suffer. However, in the workplace I am a mess without my adderral. I interrupt people without even realizing I’m doing it, I zone out when my supervisor is telling me something and start to think about what I’m going to do later instead, I can’t keep deadlines straight etc etc. So I have no idea why people think that 1. ADD does not exist and 2. it’s only a child’s disease.

  6. gammachris

    August 19, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I’m bipolar. Without an excellent psychiatrist, therapist and medication, I know that I likely wouldn’t be here. I’ve had issues with side effects over the years, and that has been an issue. However, with medications, I know that life wouldn’t be much worth living.

    • Blueathena623

      August 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm


  7. brebay

    August 19, 2014 at 9:36 am

    ADD isn’t even in the DSM anymore, there’s only ADHD, with subtypes, some of which don’t include hyperactivity. Anyway, it’s just like with allergies, a few people looking for an easy fix make it difficult for everyone who actually has it to be treated seriously. One of my sons takes it and he was never “hyper,” just unfocused and unable to concentrate like you’re describing, it has made all the difference. The school always asks for a list of medications kids take at home, and any medical/psychiatric diagnoses, (which I don’t fill out because it’s none of their damn business) but also because there is so much ignorance, particularly about ADHD, and I don’t want that label on him at school. When he’s on his medication, you’d have no idea he even has it, and he gets straight As, so why would they need to know. I think people definitely should get kids the help they need, but use caution in deciding what to share with the schools. You’re not required to give out that information just because they send home a form asking for it.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

      What happens if there’s an emergency at school and they have to send your son to the hospital? It’s kind of important the hospital knows all medications he’s taking, because mixing meds can be dangerous. Many meds prescribed for ADHD don’t do well with sedatives, for example, and hospitals often give injured kids sedatives to keep them from making an injury worse.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Electronic medical records. Also, they’d call me. And ritalin and sedatives are fine together, it’s a very low dose, and I take both myself. The hospital does know, the school just doesn’t need to, that’s the whole point of EMR.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Just curious, do they have field trips to places outside your home doctor’s/hospital’s area? Most of the time your child is safe, but sometimes kids get hurt in field trips, and the default is get them to the closest response center, not the one that knows you best.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

      They don’t do field trips anymore, sadly. When they did I always went along, and they were close by, but now they don’t do them at all; one more thing that got lost with teaching to the test! In the state where I live, all public hospitals and most private ones are on EMR statewide, you can opt out if you like, but I don’t. And honestly, in an emergency where he was unconscious and needed surgery, they do that regardless of what you’re on (or whether you’ve just eaten) because it’s life or death. And of course, I’ve discussed it with his doctor, and he’s not worried about emergency medical care and a low dose of Ritalin or adderall. I get where you’re coming from, but that could happen on the way home from school, or in a car accident with me where I’m unconscious, or anywhere. I think it’s reaching.

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 19, 2014 at 10:41 am

      I get what you’re saying, but I feel like the more information the people who are responsible for/teaching your child have, the better equipped they’ll be to teach him effectively. Considering how many children have psychological and learning issues, I think the chance your child will somehow be stigmatized or judged by the school is pretty low.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

      The thing is, when he’s on it, he has no issues whatsoever and has a 4.0. And, while there are teachers who would try there is also an extraordinary amount of ignorance and judgment about ADHD, and teachers are not exempt from that. Also, there is no way they can accommodate different learning styles for that many kids, nor would he want to be treated differently. I have heard teachers say awful things about parents whose kids are diagnosed with ADHD, and some just don’t understand it and think it’s brattiness. In a perfect world, I would be able to disclose that without it affecting him adversely, but I’ve seen and heard it happen. He does great and loves school, it works for us.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

      I should add that his elementary school was instrumental in helping him get diagnosed and were wonderful, but the principal and school counselor were both friends of mine. When we switched districts and he was the “new kid” it was kind of his call and kind of mine. This district wasn’t as small or friendly, and I kind of feel like, at that age, I have to give some deference to whether he wants to share it or not, since it belongs to him, not me.

  8. shorty_RN

    August 19, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I am all in favor of psychiatric drugs. I take them myself, and if I thought my child needed them, I would give them to him as well. I am, however, a little worried by the large amount of children, some very young, that I see on ADD meds. I think probably half the kids that I see at the clinic are on some type of ADD med. I’m not sure if ADD is actually that prevalent, or if we are just being too quick to throw medication at normal childhood issues. Just something I think about.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

      I think it is over-diagnosed, and honestly, I think there probably are teaching methods that would work better for my son, or just being able to be on his feet for more of the day. I think he would still struggle a little, but not as much. Unfortunately, schools aren’t going to/can’t risk trying these things out, because they’re all too busy cramming for the standardized tests. I think a lot of children would be helped by a different learning environment, but sadly it’s not an option.

    • PAJane

      August 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Yep. My guy was diagnosed with ADD as a kid and they put him on meds for it. Either he grew out of it entirely, or he never had it. Growing up his home life was a mess, his parents were too busy working and figuring out their own lives to support him as a student, and he was BORED. The meds they fed him did nothing to make him a better student, and I’ve always suspected it’s because they were treating the wrong problem.

  9. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    August 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

    This is something I really worry about with my boys. I hope that they tell me when they’re having problems, but also that I’ll see the signs that something is wrong. My husband and I both have personal and family histories of mental illness, so I’m sure it’s something that we’ll have to deal with in the future, and I’m watching out for it even as they are young now.
    From my own experience it was hard for 8 year old me to explain that I was having a panic attack because I didn’t even know what a panic attack was. I was in my 20’s before I realized that I had been having panic attacks all of those years. I also don’t know if I ever tried to tell my parents, and if I did they probably didn’t understand. I went to counseling when my parents got divorced, but again, I didn’t know how to explain what was happening to me to the counselor.
    I probably still need help, but that’s also one of those things that I’m better about making sure others are getting the care they need. I can tell when my husband is in a bout of depression, and I encourage him to go to the doctor. I hope that I’ll also be able to tell with my kids. And it’s not that I’m a mommy-martyr with this, I was like this before kids too. I’m just scared.

  10. PAJane

    August 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

    My former boss has a little boy with ADHD. He’s been diagnosed, he takes medication, and still struggles (no thanks to some really bad teachers and school admins), but she (his mom/my ex-boss) fights pretty hard for him. What makes me sad is that I’d bet good money she has it, too, and was never diagnosed. She’s a really smart, kind, generous, accomplished person who wants to give you the world, but her own life is chaotic because she just can’t stay organized and focused. Sometimes she self medicates, but that’s not really better. I never felt like, as her employee, I could say anything, but it baffles me that while she and her support group dedicate so much time and energy to her son’s situation, nobody ever looked at her and drew the connection.

  11. Jezebeelzebub

    August 19, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I got the adult ADHD- like, I’m ate up with it. My kid has ADHD. And MY DAD has it out the wazoo, though he has never been diagnosed- I can TOTALLY tell. When people are like LA LA LA ADHD IS NOT REAL, I just… I want to invite them over on a weekend when my kid and I are both unmedicated and we’re hanging out with my dad. They can watch it not being real in real time, across 3 generations.

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 19, 2014 at 11:20 am

      My mother has probably the worst case of ADHD I have ever witnessed. She’s a hot mess. She can barely finish a complete thought while speaking, never mind being able to hold a job, pay bills, or even make a phone call to the cable or electric company to explain a late payment, so her stuff gets shut off all the time. Loses the phone number you gave her yesterday, but has boxes of stuff that she’s saved since high school. Her life has been chaotic for as long as I can remember. And she has no idea why, or even that there’s anything wrong.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      August 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      I can relate. I wasn;t diagnosed until college and it realllly shows as far as academics went. I don;t like the idea of really little kids on this shit except in the most dire of circumstances, but when they reach school-age and they can NOT keep themselves from fucking around in the classroom and they are always in trouble, then I think it;s mean not to put them on *something*. When LJ kept getting notes sent home for 10,000 infractions a day- none of which were due to BAD behavior (meaning she wasn;t combative or rude or destructive or violent)- it was like looking at myself when I was her age. I wasn;t going to make her go through what I went through- especially because she didn;t have the teachers I had when I was a kid. (They REALLY, like, banded together and formed a Jezzie Task Force or something, they were amazing.) I was worriedabotu side effects so I did my homework on what was available (and it helped that I’m a nurse- not gonna lie) and I watched her like a fucking HAWK. I was worried about her growth because those meds will kill your appetite, so we wouldn’t give her the meds on the weekend and just shoveled food into the kid. During the week, we ate dinner late-ish to give the drugs time to wear off and she’d eat like a horse- so in that way we maintained her weight and she got vitamins and stuff. She’s still *tiny* but that’s genetics, not malnutrition.

      Kids and psych drugs can be a very scary combination- that it totally true. You have to know your kid, and you have to WATCH your kid. You have to trust your kid’s doctor, too. You have to know that if you tell him/her “I feel like my kid ain;t right” that you won;t be dismissed. And there’s counseling too, if it;s available. We sent LJ to a kid-shrink as a safety net…in case that shrink saw something that LJ’s dad and I missed, plus with ADHD there’s behavior modification stuff, too. But there is no way I would just ignore *any* illness/condition LJ may have, and certainly not one that can be fixed.

      Having ADHD and being unmedicated and untreated SUCKS, It;s like your brain is that junk drawer in the house where stuff just ends up, and you don;t really know what’s in there because it’s such a mess. You know there has to be some useful shit in there, but you can’t find it because of all the other crap. People that say it’s not a real thing are just willfully ignoring an awful lot of science. There have been a million studies done on ADHD, including but not limited to brain-imaging studies where it shows the actual, visible differences in an ADHD brain vs a normal brain- just like a bipolar brain or a schizoid brain is different from a normal brain. Not treating your kid or yourself for something like that is just as irresponsible as NOT VACCINATING your kid.

  12. Old Lady Phillips

    August 19, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I only recently learned, through the miracle of finally having health insurance and a doctor, that the ED I’ve been suffering from for more than half my life might have roots, at least partially, with undiagnosed ADD. I’ve been on ADD medication for 6 months now, and for the first time in my life, I’m eating like a normal person. Not binging and purging, not starving, not–and this us the best part–not obsessing. My doctor thinks perhaps I developed the ED to cope with the fact that I felt shitty for not being able to focus on thinks like school and homework, no matter how hard I tried. The last 6 months have been amazing for me. I can focus on work, prioritize, meet deadlines, and I don’t feel anxious or like I’m fucking up all the time.

    I don’t blame my parents for not having me diagnosed as a child, because they honestly didn’t know better. But I do know that if I ever see my own child struggling uneccessarily, and a doctor suggests medication that might help him, I won’t hesitate to at least try it.

  13. Fondue

    August 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I was diagnosed with adult ADD several years ago and was put on Adderall. Oh my gosh, the difference was incredible! Not only could I get shit done, but I had a genuine desire to get shit done. Relationships with my friends improved because I was no longer flaking out on plans we had made. I had to go off it when my husband and I decided to try to have a baby, and I’m managing, but it’s not as easy (my closets are still waiting to be organized…). I plan to renew my script after the kid is weaned.

  14. tk88

    August 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I can’t agree more that proper mental health care is essential for children who need it. ADD is grossly over diagnosed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. If anything sometimes the over diagnosis is actually a misdiagnosis–the child might actually have Bipolar Disorder, learning disabilities, vision problems, etc. Also, on the subject of medication, there ARE some children with ADD/ADHD who respond to therapies that to not involve medication. I believe there’s a special school in New Hampshire that specializes in that, and they have fantastic results. The problem with methods like that is they are usually so labor intensive that it’s not realistic for most families. And for children with very severe ADD/ADHD the medication is often necessary. Regardless of treatment choices, mental health issues must be taken seriously and helped no matter what a person’s age. Ignoring it only causes heartbreak and ruined (or ended) lives.

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      August 19, 2014 at 11:09 am

      My psych prof in my undergrad talked to us one day about how North America has higher rates of diagnosing ADD/ADHD than anywhere else and how it could be the result of a combination of parents thinking there’s something wrong with their child when they just act like a child and misdiagnosing something else.
      My best friend dated a guy who was diagnosed ADHD as a young child and given Ritalin for times when he really needed to focus (like during exam time), but unfortunately, his parents taught him it was ok to continually use his diagnosis as an excuse when he simply didn’t want to do something. Ask him to put his pudding spoon in the kitchen sink instead of leaving it in the bathroom (don’t ask…)? It would still be there there days later after being asked multiple times and as soon as someone got annoyed he would reply “it’s not my fault, I have ADHD”. His “chore” was to clean the bathroom; “it’s not my fault I forgot. I have ADHD”. Ask him to take out the garbage/recycling and leave it where he’d basically trip over it and he’d leave it there and say “it’s not my fault I forgot. I have ADHD”. Now, I’m not going to argue whether or not he legitimately has ADHD, he might very well have it and he might very well not or be misdiagnosed. It was just the most annoying thing that he would always use it as an excuse to get out of things.
      Meanwhile, I have had other friends who were diagnosed and try as hard as they possibly can to remember things and to remain focused and be successful. If they’re asked to do something, they go do it right away because they know they might get distracted or forget (actually, a lot of people in general I know do this because they, too, might get distracted or forget). I have had friends who I never would have known they had ADHD if they didn’t tell me because they learned to live with it and either stayed on their medication (if that’s what they were told to do) or did whatever it was their doctor had told them to try and see if it worked. It makes me mad to think about my wonderful friends trying their hardest to be all they can and having people like my bff’s ex come along and not take things seriously and try to use their diagnoses as a “get out of doing things and give me special treatment” card.

    • tk88

      August 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      That’s a personality flaw. That can happen with any physical or mental illness. That guy just sounds like a lazy jerk. Anyone who DOES have a child with any issue should only give them what they need and let them milk it to get away with bad behavior.

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      August 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Oh, definitely it’s a personality flaw. And he was a lazy jerk.
      I was basically agreeing with you that mental health issues need to be taken seriously, and my input was that it should be taken seriously by the person who has the diagnosis, especially with a diagnosis like ADHD, because it does themselves and others no favours when they use it as an excuse to be a lazy jerk.

  15. Guinevere

    August 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

    When did Google U become a Catholic institution?

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Don’t know about that, but I know it’s my personal god–I ask, it answers!

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Don’t know about that, but I know it’s my personal god–I ask, it answers!

  16. WriterLady

    August 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

    As someone who struggles with an anxiety disorder, I want to thank you for writing this article. It is crystal clear that we need a massive nationwide campaign that seeks to de-stigmatize mental illness. We need more awareness that depression, anxiety, ADD, and other conditions are actual clinical disorders. Many of us also deal with chemical imbalances in our brain, which is something that can’t simply be cured by a specific diet or therapeutic oils. While coping mechanisms may help, they should never be a substitute for actual treatment from a knowledgeable doctor or psychiatrist. And the more we share our experiences, the more likely other people are to reconsider their prejudices against mental illnesses and mental health in general.

  17. Williwaw

    August 19, 2014 at 11:03 am

    It angers me when people act like depression (or any other mental illness) isn’t real. My mom had major depression issues when we were growing up, and they came down on us, her kids, because she was like a happiness vampire – just being with her made you feel terrible, so I can only imagine how bad she felt herself. My dad’s attitude about depression (and other mental illnesses, mostly) is that you should just suck it up and choose to be happy. Only now as an adult, now that I have struggled with depression myself (as has one of my brothers), do I realize how damaging that attitude is. (On an annoyingly related note, my dad, without outright saying it, acts very dubious about my son’s recent autism diagnosis, and has made it more or less clear that he thinks my son will just get better by the time he’s five or six, with or without therapy. We are just about to start intensive behavioral therapy, and we plan to give him the best therapy we can afford from the most highly trained and skilled interventionists we can find for as long as is necessary…but I have no doubt that my dad will claim that any improvements in my son’s condition [like learning to talk] would have happened anyway.)

    • PAJane

      August 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Your dad can go pound sand. I hope you find some great people to work with your son!

    • Williwaw

      August 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks! We have a family friend who has an autistic child, and they connected us with the person who will lead our therapy team, and I think she is absolutely awesome.

  18. whiteroses

    August 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I feel the same way about psychiatric drugs that I do about vaccinations. Give them or don’t, but keep in mind that, even though you are their parent, you will not ultimately have to deal with the most immediate consequences of not giving them to your children.

  19. K.

    August 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

    If someone, a professional, is telling you that your child has a problem and needs help, then you should listen and you should work to solve the problem. Yes, it is possible that your kid might be diagnosed with ADHD when your kid might have some other kind of disorder. Yes, it’s possible that Ritalin will not work out. But doing nothing is ALSO not working out—you’ve just normalized “not working out.”

    I’ve heard parents say they don’t want to start their kids on medications because of side effects. Side effects are a legitimate concern, but before you turn down medications altogether….do you in fact know what side effects your kid will experience (if at all)? Have you tried all the medications? Are the side effects worse than the effects of the actual disease? Medicine is not an exact science—especially when it comes to brain chemistry and psychology. It’s possible that medications that work for some will not work for others and doctors sometimes misdiagnose things. Dosages also have to be adjusted. But like all complex problems, the likelihood of finding a “silver bullet” solution is less. So you just have to be patient and work through the problem like anything else. But refusing treatment of any sort at all is really tantamount to denying there IS a problem.

    And, anecdotally, what I find crazy is that I’ve known parents who would sign their kid up for experimental acne drugs without batting an eyelash. But mention Ritalin and it’s like whoa, whoa, whoa—we don’t need to go to EXTREMES kind of bullshit.

    • FishQueen

      August 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Totally in agreement. I was one of those kids- misdiagnosed with ADHD even though years down the line it turned out what I really had was a massive case of anxiety. The ADHD meds made me feel horrible, and I wound up hiding them instead of taking them.

      I WAS misdiagnosed and wrongly prescribed, but I still recommend that people see therapists and psychiatrists. Why? Because the whole discipline is trial and error. For some people, that’s too hard to wrap their heads around. But the fact is, some people need to undertake the process (like me) to find out what really needs treatment.

  20. CW

    August 19, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Don’t lump nutrition in with crystal healing and other snake oil. Nutrition *CAN* affect brain chemistry. Maybe it won’t be enough to fully resolve the symptoms without resorting to pharmaceuticals, but it may reduce the dosage needed or the number of different types of meds. It is an important part of the treatment, and one that is often overlooked by M.D.’s.

    • G.S.

      August 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      I think she’s talking more about people going all, “You just need more kale/fish/whatever, because they’re MIRACLE FOODS and Big Pharma can suck it!” as opposed to actually seeing a doctor/professional who knows how it works/what you’re eating and isn’t trying to push their book/diet/whatever, and getting some kind of meal plan in place to take the edge off.

      Although as a suicidal-thoughts person, eating something (even a Happy Meal) did help before I got my medication. (And medication is a wonderful, wonderful thing and I love it forever. <3 )

  21. Katherine Handcock

    August 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I think the overdiagnosis problem tends to come from parents who come in with their “diagnosis” — and their idea of what the right solution is — in hand. “My child is ADHD and I want Ritalin.” There are kids who are high-energy (like my kids are) that are not ADHD, and there are some who are but need strategies, not medication, and there are some who need medication because nothing else will work. That applies to a lot of mental health issues, and when parents come in dictating what is going on with their child and what they want to be done, it really short-circuits the proper process.

    I know people whose lives have been changed, utterly, by medication. I know a few whose lives have been changed by therapy or study strategies or even simple things like colour-coding binders. And I know people who could have gotten by without either, but took medication or counseling because there were certain dispensations given (someone I know who got extra time on all their assignments and exams for “ADD” is a good example: they never used the extra time, but knowing it was there reduced the stress that was the real problem – this person needed stress reduction strategies, not an ADD diagnosis.)

    If either of my kids are ever having problems that I think could be the result of a mental health issue, I hope I will be able to go in open-minded to whatever specialist we see and report symptoms, not interpretation or diagnosis, so the kids can get what they ACTUALLY need, whether that’s medication or tutoring or reassurance that everybody feels this way sometimes.

    • brebay

      August 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      It took me a long time to come to terms that my son actually had it. My (mis)understanding of ADHD was wild, unruly kids who bounced off the walls, and this was my most well-behaved child who I could take anywhere! I resisted the diagnosis for a while, and the medication for longer. He was getting in trouble for fidgeting, spacing out, doing his work but losing it, talking too much. He would come home with homework and swear up and down that the teacher hadn’t taught that subject that day, and I knew she had, he looked like he’d never seen it before. He came home one day and said “I just feel like I can’t do anything right,” and broke into tears. I talked with him about the medication, and we tried it. Two days later he came home and said “Mom, it’s so weird, Mrs. Jones was talking and I heard everything she said! I do remember math, she really is teaching it!” It was so sad but so great. His confidence has soared with his grades, and his self-identity as a “bad kid” (which he never really was, never got sent to the principal or anything) is gone and he has blossomed. I still try to work with him on strategies, because I really don’t love the idea of giving him basically speed every day, and my hope is that post-puberty, he may be able to get by with just the coping strategies, but he may not. We had a really good psychologist diagnosis. He gave questionnaires to all his teachers; classroom, music, PE, art, and myself, and it was amazing how similar the results were; ADHD looks a lot of different ways. Some of those “wild” kids may just be undisciplined, and some of the ones staring out the window not bothering anyone may have ADHD. I wish he didn’t have it, but pretending he didn’t was only hurting him.

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story! Amazing to think that two days of medication was enough to give him this revelation. I’m really happy for him that it was so successful.

      He might find that he can wean off the medications later – I know a few who could as adults who couldn’t as kids – so hopefully it won’t affect his swimming career. You would think they could make medical exemptions, but I guess there are too many people that will get false prescriptions for an athletic edge. Also a very sad thought.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      August 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      My stepson is very similar. When he was younger he missed a lot of school while his mom was struggling, so he came to live with us. I thought it was adjusting to the life change and the fact that he missed seeing his mom everyday, which I’m sure plays a role because that is HARD on a kid. He did a lot better last year but he also was able to keep his same teacher from the year before because she moved up a grade, and she was great with him. He starts 6th grade this year, so we’ll see how it goes. If it goes back to the way it was I may confer with his mom about maybe taking him in for a consultation, because he does a lot of those same things. Forget homework, forget what was taught in class and seems to legitimately not remember going over the material, talk too much. He was really mad at himself the other day because he thinks his friends find him annoying because he’s so talkative and never sits still. I’m always wary of the over diagnosis because a lot of kids are just high energy, but he sounds a lot like your son. If I can do something to make life easier for him I’d love to try. Thanks for the story. Made me reevaluate a bit.

  22. Jamie

    August 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I wish I had the guts to send this article to my stepkids’ mom. Younger stepson has ADD and the medication has been a miracle (he couldn’t read at the end of first grade when he started taking meds. In this grade last year, he was in the highest reading group as an example)-but she still doesn’t give him his Adderall on her mornings. The older boy clearly has depression and anger issues-to the point where she calls him “psycho”-but she refuses to participate in the therapy we’ve been getting him, let alone do anything about it herself. And she flat out will not allow my stepdaughter to see the therapist (we take her anyway, husband has joint legal as well as joint physical, but she won’t pay for it and it’s expensive). I hate that I have to work around her to get the kids what they need.

    • guest

      August 19, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Don’t worry, she probably hates you too. It’s really not your business, the kids have 2 parents.

    • effingplates

      August 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Um, what? You are allowed to be concerned about the health of your stepchildren, especially when you have been part of getting them the help they need and one “parent” refuses to participate in treatment. Do your kids like their stepparent more than they like you or are you butthurt for some other reason?

    • guest

      August 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      I don’t know what butthurt is but my kids don’t have any stepparents, I’m married to their dad. But I do have two stepkids, and I don’t agree with every decision their mom makes, but they’re not my kids. I’m there to make them comfortable when they’re at their dad’s house, not make parenting decisions. And these things are almost never a case were one parent is perfect and one is horrible.

    • effingplates

      August 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Didn’t hear Jaimie ever say her husband is perfect and their mother is terrible. Also never heard her making parenting choices that weren’t already in line with the father’s decision. She is allowed to have an opinion, as are you. Saying “oh well, not my kids!” when you could be helping them receive needed medical treatment is a cop-out coming from anyone.

    • guest

      August 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Yup, that’s exactly what I said “oh well, they’re not my kids.” I wouldn’t be married to their dad if I though he was a crappy father who couldn’t make decisions in his kids’ best interest. If the other parent is being medically neglectful, that’s something the two parents need to address, possibly in court, but a stepparent is not a party to that case.

    • effingplates

      August 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Personally, I think that if anyone witnesses medical neglect they have a duty to “be a party to that case”. Stepparent, grandparent, cousin, family friend, teacher; anyone who might have any contact with kids who are being harmed by one parent’s actions.

    • guest

      August 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Lol, the LEGAL CASE between parents if a child is not being cared for by one of them. And why would you be married to someone who wouldn’t take action for their own kids? This isn’t some random kid you know, it’s your spouse’s child? They can and should handle it, and if they don’t, you married a bad parent.

    • effingplates

      August 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Now who is talking about about things that are none of their business? There is nothing wrong with supporting your spouse emotionally, legally, or whatever in a battle against their childs neglectful mother. Saying “You have to go at it 100% alone or you are a bad parent” doesn’t make a lick of sense and I have no idea why you keep suggesting it does. Stop trying to justify your distance from your stepchildren by saying that everyone needs to act the same as you do with theirs, even when it is ethically suspect to do so.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      August 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Considering my household is the custodial household for my stepson, and considering I am the one mostly in charge of his care and schooling with the blessing of both his parents, I would like to think that my opinion on his health would count for something. I would respect the opinion of anyone who spends a great deal of time with my daughter, such as a teacher, and would at least consider what they had to say. She should absolutely be doing her part as the children’s mother to help on her days. It’s important not to interrupt needed daily medication.

    • Korine

      August 21, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      You sound like a pretty awful step parent actually. The title is step PARENT. You’re not the primary, obviously, but you’re supposed to care, you’re allowed to have respectful opinions, and you’re a shitty person if you don’t try to step in if a child is being neglected by their bio parent. Only a wet blanket stands aside and says “ohh I don’t get involved.” (This applies to fairly serious situations of course…like a child not being given their prescribed medications!)

    • effingplates

      August 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Didn’t hear Jaimie ever say her husband is perfect and their mother is terrible. Also never heard her making parenting choices that weren’t already in line with the father’s decision. She is allowed to have an opinion, as are you. Saying “oh well, not my kids!” when you could be helping them receive needed medical treatment is a cop-out coming from anyone.

  23. Jem

    August 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Like you I had very similar symptoms and was diagnosed with adult ADD. The thing is, I feel like I have to hide it and never tell anyone about it. Why do I have to feel ashamed of this? But I hide it because every time I tell someone, never fail, I get either long stories of why it is a made up diagnosis and “big pharma just wants me drugged up to be a zombie for the system” OR I have people telling me if only I ate more broccoli/kale/strawberries/cut out dairy etc etc I would solve the problem. No, it wouldn’t. There is a general culture of hate and distrust of most psychiatric disorders and a lot of people who are playing doctor who aren’t.

  24. Hally Yust

    August 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Sometimes suicide is best.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Anyone know how to flag a comment on an iPhone, since I know the technology isn’t yet up to delivering a throat punch through one?

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Flagged it for you.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks! Hopefully it’ll be easier to block my groupie now that he’s made an actual account.

    • Hally Yust

      August 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Best Gore has a good tutorial for sterilized, diabetic demons.

    • shorty_RN

      August 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Obvious troll is obvious.

    • Hally Yust

      August 20, 2014 at 4:00 am

      No one wants to answer? Admit it, suicide is the best route sometimes.

    • Coffee&Cats

      August 20, 2014 at 5:31 am

      Your mother should’ve swallowed…

  25. Alanna Jorgensen

    August 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I come from a family with a long and illustrious history of OCD going back to at least my great grandmother and I am positive much, much further. It has not NOT diluted in severity with each passing generation, no matter who we have children with. You better believe I am keeping an eye on my daughter. She’s about to be 5, and while she has a lot of her dad in her, she is almost a carbon copy of my childhood personality, complete with all the fears and abundance of caution. I was the first in my family to be diagnosed, which paved the way for my younger sisters. I am hoping if I catch my daughter early, provided she manifests with the disorder, I can hopefully mitigate some of the devastation that it caused in my life. I want her to have the tools to cope before the disorder smacks her to the ground like it did to me in my early twenties. That was a dark time. I don’t want her to have to go through that.

  26. ted3553

    August 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    i have known too many people who have had mental health issues to not believe in it. Everything can be overused but there truly are people who need the help

  27. leahdawn

    August 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    This case reminds me so much of my husband’s. He has chronic, clinical depression, and right now he is in the best state he’s been in 15 years because he no longer thinks about killing himself on a daily basis. (this is actually a really huge deal) This is thanks to regular medication, twice a week therapist visits, and a whole lot of endurance.
    Despite being depressed and suicidal since the age of 12, his parents NEVER took him to get help, because they thought psychologists were “quacks”. Instead they parented full of guilt and let him get away with everything short of murder. He didn’t get help until he was an adult and it has taken over a decade to undo all of the self-inflicted mental harm he did to himself as a teen.
    Depression is the major reason we don’t have kids yet. DH has trouble holding down a job, so it impacts us financially too. It also scares the living shit out of me that we could have a kid who has this disease, because it’s inheritable and EVERY SINGLE MAN in our families has this condition. We are seriously considering adopting as our child-having avenue because despite all the strides DH has made to slowly conquer this, I can’t imagine what it was like for him to have to deal with this alone as a child. DH is more optimistic about it than I am. He says that at least he knows what to look for, so if depression were to happen to our hypothetical future kid, he would at least know what to look for.

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      I’m glad to hear that your husband is doing better — having lived with family members who are wrestling constantly with depression, it is so hard for everyone involved. I will say that, now that there’s increasing awareness that depression is a real thing (and that it’s a matter of brain chemistry as well as background), I am less concerned about my kids ending up dealing with it, although we also have depression and anxiety in both of our families: my husband and I would hopefully see it for what it was, and although it’s slow, there is steady progress towards people understanding that mental health issues are real, but not insurmountable.

  28. Awesomus

    August 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    My daughter has been on ADHD meds since she was 4, she’s almost 12. She sees a counselor once a week. Given my family history of mental illness and her paternal family history of mental illness, I wanted to make sure she gets the help she needs when she needs it because I want her to be better than me.

  29. neighbor57

    August 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Some children who grow up with untreated mental illnesses will begin to self-medicate through drug or alcohol abuse. I’d rather offer treatment now.

  30. Liz

    August 19, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Standing up and clapping for this. As someone diagnosed with ADD at 25 to the disbelief of family and friends, I can’t say enough how important this is! A few years ago, Sue Klebold, mother of one of the Columbine shooters, wrote a heartbreaking essay about her son for O Magazine, and how she felt unbearable regret for not seeing how much pain he was in and how much help he needed. Hers is a terrible example of what can happen when kids don’t get the mental health care they need (and deserve).

  31. JessBakesCakes

    August 19, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I truly wish my parents had gotten me some of the help I needed when I was a kid. Even when I was a young adult, their skepticism toward my anxiety issues was ridiculous.

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