Written by: Kaitlyn
When I was growing up, I used to think that I was cursed with a mental illness.
I used to blame myself and ponder for hours on end why I was forced to experience a mental illness in my own body as well as experience the mental illnesses of my brothers second-handedly.
Being a triplet, it's true what they say about the whole "twin thing". I had a bond with my brothers that went beyond just jokingly hating each other but secretly loving each other. I could literally feel what they could feel and know exactly what they were thinking, often saying the same things at the same time.
So, experiencing my brothers going through Aspergers, Bi-polar and Anxiety while experiencing my own Depression (and later PTSD) when I was growing up was...confusing and exhausting to say the least.
What did we do to deserve this?
It's something I would ask myself over and over again when I couldn't sleep and ran out of books to keep my mind pre-occupied.
As an adult, I like to think that I have some answer to this question:
We don't "deserve" this. But that doesn't mean that we're worthless.
Mental Illness isn't any different than any other chronic illness in the fact that those who have a mental illness have not done anything to "deserve" that illness. Mental illness isn't something that affects people because they are weak or "less than" any other person.
And this is such a common misconception that I've faced throughout my life (and I'm sure you have too). I find that, especially teens, are faced with comments that condescend their emotions or mental illness, just stating that they're misbehaving or complaining too much. This is not only inaccurate, but it is dangerous.
It's telling a whole generation that there's something wrong with them and that they have brought this on themselves. That they can easily fix this. But mental illness doesn't work that way. You do not bring it on yourself. It's not something that can be "fixed". And there is nothing wrong with you.
Your brain works differently. And because of this difference, it can affect you physically, emotionally and mentally in your every day life.
Individuals with mental illness do not deserve this. Just like cancer patients don't deserve cancer. Or just like children don't deserve to grow up in poverty. All of these things are similar in the fact that no one chose these things and no one deserves them.
What we deserve is understanding, acceptance and to be validated.
So, let me validate you. Let us validate each other: