Alright, so this is a continuation of yesterday’s post. If you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend that you do before reading this one. Should you choose not to, it can easily stand on its own as an individual post. But just to provide some context, in the past thirty years I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, OCD and PTSD. The difficulties and complications I’ve faced as a result of these letters attached to my name have been plentiful. When combined with Type-1 Diabetes, it pretty much means I won the bullshit lottery of life. But as most would agree, there are worse things in life.
I’ve often written about some of the worst things that you can say to someone with Type-1 and even type-2 Diabetes about their condition. And trust me, there a lot of things you shouldn’t ask or tell someone with Diabetes, although educating these folks is the key. But it recently dawned on me that there are a number of things that people have told me over the years that absolutely grates on my nerves, as it relates to ADD, OCD and PTSD. I thought it would be productive to provide the top five things you should never say or ask to someone with ANY of the conditions I’ve named herein:
- Can’t You Just Sit Still? No, asshole! I can’t! Next question… Seriously though, this one is the top of the list because it drives me absolutely nuts. If I could sit still, don’t you think I could? If I could sit without constantly clicking my nails, playing with the hem of my jeans or constantly surveying the room I’m in and needing to have my back against a wall, I would. But I can’t, by virtue of ADD and OCD but forced upon me by PTSD. Moving on…
- It’s All In your Head… Umm, yeah. No shit! This one is actually correct, although not in the context that it’s intended. All of my acronyms are part of who I am and are, in fact, in my head. PTSD has been proven to alter one’s brain activity and causes a measurable injury to one’s brain. ADD and OCD can cause severe anxiety in the involved person, as well it feeling as though it’s beyond our physical capability to stop doing certain things that we do, including but not limited to trying to live in a clean and neat environment, compulsively repeating certain behaviours as well as dealing with the recurring trauma by inadvertent triggers in the general public. These things aren’t anyone’s fault but still cause damage and makes a sufferer’s life all the more difficult.
- Maybe You Should Just Let It Go… Oh, this one is like the shit that has nuts in it! Picture holding someone in your arms as they die and you’re the last thing they see as the light of light extinguishes from their eyes. Picture spending HOURS searching for a victim’s leg on the snowy highway before a coroner will allow the body to be removed. Picture staying by a man in his 20’s bedside for several hours because he attempted suicide and failed, leaving him with no face, no ears and no mouth and you’re the only one at his bedside as he faces death with no contact to the outside world. It took him over six hours to finally die… These are not things one can let go. And they are NOT something one can forget. And they are NOT things that any human should have to suffer through or witness.
- It’s Just Their Excuse To Drink… Mmmm, no! Unfortunately, since there’s no cure for PTSD, it’s left a lot of sufferers trying to find solace in things like alcohol or elicit drugs. Although these aren’t ideal, they’re often the only recourses for someone stuck in a serious funk because of their condition. War veterans who have historically and recently found themselves without work, seeming to suffer from mental health disorders and alcoholism suffer from PTSD and are usually misjudged by the public. They aren’t lazy, unwilling to work or trying to live a hobo life. They’re simply so deep into their condition that they can’t find a way out. At least not on their own.
- It’s No Excuse… Maybe not. And this one hits close to home for me, because I’ve always made a point of trying NOT to use my conditions as an excuse for anything I do. But for some people, a lot of people, they can’t help the compulsions they feel and have to act one. When someone suffers from extreme PTSD and succumbs to it, they can harm not only themselves but others. This is where it becomes important to recognize those signs and be able to remove themselves from that scenario, especially for family members.
ADD, OCD and PTSD are still widely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed conditions, even in modern times. The latter is probably the most prominent in my life and causes me issues and challenges t overcome on a daily basis. It’s at times like this that I’m grateful for martial arts as well as Buddhist and meditative training. they’ve gone a long way towards helping me to maintain myself and prevent issues within my own life. But it isn’t without challenge. Loud and constant noise, such as that created by my children for example, tend to create a static inside my head that I can’t fight off.
If you question or doubt someone’s personal situation on the basis of some mental health related, be sure you know what you’re talking about before you comment. Even though you may be commenting from a place of concern or maybe even exasperation, your comments can have damaging repercussions. Asking why they AREN’T doing something can be far worse than asking what YOU can do. Sometimes it can mean just leaving the person be. Sometimes, they may actually need help with something. Everyone is facing a battle others won’t know about. At the end of the day, helping and healing should take precedence over questions and judgments. Food for thought… ☯