So I am sitting at my desk, feeling so helpless I can almost not stand it. At the high school I work at there is a kid who is in danger of hurting herself. The meeting with the Dad and the Child is in the office next to my desk. I hear the social worker, the guidance councillor, the VP ( who really doesn’t understand anything about mental health) needling her, about why she feels it necessary to cut herself, and say things like “I want to die” It is keeping all my strength to stay in my chair and not yell at them. They are offering her all kinds of agencies she can go, to and doctors to see. (not that that is a bad thing) They are telling her to just stop what she is doing and work hard at school and get sleep and all will be ok. I know they are doing the best they can, and some help is better than no help, even if they are saying all the wrong things. How does a 16 year old know how to turn it off? She doesn’t . She needs doctors and meds to help her. Telling her to stop is not going to make the pain deep inside of her, go away, telling her to stop is not going to make her want to stop from making the outside, look how she is feeling on the inside. It pains me to see a beautiful girl in such pain. Endless meetings with the whole crew saying just stop, is only making her feel more like a freak, she has that mastered.
On the other hand – I look at her and I think grab all the help you can grab, cause when you become a grown up – you want no one to know anything about your problems. You can get passed over for promotions, you are treated differently by your peers, you are scrutinized by your bosses if you take a sick day from work, it can ruin your professional life.
It is such a shame that our society is so cruel. A teen or young adult gets all the help they need but an adult is look at like they are a leper. Dramatic talk I know, but lets look at it this way. We are launching a huge mental health education program for all Peel Schools. The schools program team leader was making coffee just before going into a meeting. She was telling me how happy she was to be organizing this and how much help it was going to be for the students of the school. I told her it was a great thing , I asked her “what the team was doing for staff. We are putting all these programs and education ideas for the students but were they setting anything up for the staff.” She got excited and told me she” had some great classes set up for the staff on how to handle the students.” I said “No I mean what about staff that are suffering from mental illness – is she planning anything for them”. “Why would we do that? They shouldn’t be working with kids if they are ill.“ she walked away. No one wants to talk about it as an adult. Don’t get me wrong, coping strategies and letting kids know how they can be helped is a huge and important thing, I totally support all that this women is hoping to achieve and set up. However, are we also teaching that once your an adult- put it underground. Don’t tell your boss, your peers, keep it between you, your doctors and maybe your best friends. I was discussing this with a fellow depression sufferer and he was very insistent “You do not tell anyone about starving, cutting or hurting yourself to anyone, they will put you in the hospital and treat you like a animal” He should know he has been there.
I am writing this particular blog because, I want those who feel lost, or the person who feels they have no where to turn to,; to know we may not shout it from the roof tops, but we are here for you. There are adults suffering just like you. The silence of a illness that people do not understand is not something to be ashamed of, it happens, it happens to a lot of us, and if we stick together and talk about it in the social media of things – even if anonymously. Get it out there and don’t feel alone.