Cruising Facebook yesterday, I came across a post from a Mum looking for answers of why her 11-year-old felt down but didn’t know why.
Now, before we go any further, I too am a parent and would like to be able to solve a world full of issues for my children, and as a mother it’s really hard to watch when our children are sad. I don’t mean any disrespect to the mum asking.
Do any of you remember being eleven? Like really remember?
Most of us, especially during our adolescent years feel different emotions that we may not yet know the cause of, in fact, there may simply not be a cause. But guess what?! WE ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL. Humans have a very complex system of nerves that allow us to physically feel things, we also have a very complex brain, that forms and loses connections constantly, this supports us to have emotions.
It seems though that the trend of today is to not want any negative type feelings, and when people feel things a little too long or too often, we seem to look for a diagnosis. Now, I’m definitely not saying that mental health issues don’t exist, they totally do! Though I do fear that currently people seek a diagnosis for things so they can blame, rather than feel and/or deal with what they are feeling (this also makes it much harder for people experiencing a real mental health struggle to be taken seriously).
Back to the eleven-year-old above. One of the first comments suggested that she may be “suffering from anxiety”. A comment that gets made regularly about children and really concerns me. It also seemed to be a comment that gathered the most likes. Trouble being, none of the commenters know the child or the circumstance or the family or their lifestyle.
On an application form to one of my personal development courses for children one time, a parent commented that their child was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Their proof was, that the child cried each morning for a couple of weeks and was nervous when starting a new school. Now, please excuse my ignorance, but isn’t that a good thing? Most of us, when leaving the safety of our comfort zone feel nervous, sometime we cry or show a range of behaviours. This is normal behaviour.
So, my point? I really want to encourage you all to remember that feelings are ok. Sadness is ok, nervous is ok, being down is ok, happy is ok. For most people, things that happen in our lives trigger emotions. The biggest difference between feelings and a mental illness is that more often than not, mental illness doesn’t require a trigger.
Maybe just maybe, the 11-year-old is raging with hormones (trigger), or is just tired (trigger).
Please don’t jump to a diagnosis, feel first, then get PROFESSIONAL (not Dr Facebook) help if you’re concerned.