My friend ‘Labels’

I was talking with a friend recently and they were saying they feel weak and pathetic for having mental health problems. That services should be reserved for people with ‘real’ problems. This person has a happy family and ‘should’ cope.

I got it right away. Those thoughts have long been a companion of mine.

Back when I was a teenager I would look at people diagnosed with depression with such envy, unaware that I was also depressed.

They were ill and I was stupid.

It was the same with organisation.

I was weak and lazy. That’s why I couldn’t get my uni work in on time.

When I started to get diagnosed – first with mental illnesses – it took me years to believe that I really truly needed help and wasn’t just wasting everybody’s time and money.

After my son was born I wondered, how can other mums leave the house so easily while I find just packing his nappy bag so overwhelming?

My autism diagnosis was the thing that started to turn that around. I began to realise that it is the way society has treated me that has been broken. It has nothing to do with my brain. My brain is perfectly fine.

And I began to realise that there are strengths that come with the way I am, and it benefits everyone if I can learn to access those more than I am governed by the weaknesses.

In getting help I’m not a burden, I’m enabling the world.

Every single label I have found since is another nail in that coffin of never good enough.

Every single label I collect along the way is a lamp that lights the path ahead.

Autism.
Dyspraxia.
OCD.
PTSD.
Dissociation.

Worthy of help. Bent but not broken.

Today I saw a sign on my travels; “Labels – for jars not people.”

And I smiled and thought, don’t you know what they can mean?

Love me my labels.

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