I feel like social media and media in general have glamourised the use of labels. There are people out there who feel like they need a label in order to be accepted into a certain group or to be/feel cool or to gain attention.
It’s like they see a “label shelf”, they trot along, pick one as if it’s a pair of shoes and shout it out to the world.
I get that people want to feel like they belong, I really do, but this isn’t the way to go about it.
There is nothing cool or glam about having Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, PND, being gluten intolerant or having food allergies or anything else. There is nothing all that cool about being gifted either, in fact, it can be far from that.
None of these labels will make you popular. I promise you that.
I had a conversation with someone this morning who told me that their child had sensory processing disorder. I ask questions as Im always keen to know other peoples experiences since Izzy is a sufferer.
I asked if they had been diagnosed or had a history of sensory issues and she told me no. All that happened was, her kid complained because they didn’t like the way their new blanket felt. I questioned a little more and she then told me that she googled and that is exactly what it is. Dr Google is at it again. That wanker also has a lot to answer for.
Depression or PND is not just having a bad day. It’s having a bad day, week, month and even years in what is a very very dark and scary place. Sometimes you are out of touch with reality and your moods swing from one extreme to another and you feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
OCD is not just not being able to wear a certain pair of socks with a certain pair of shoes or making sure your angora wool wall hanging is straight. It’s having unwanted thoughts, behaviours, obsessions or feelings. It is living your life in such a rigorous routine that if you break it, you fear that something bad will happen to you, the ones you love or that your whole world will fall apart.
Anxiety is not just being nervous to meet someone for the first time. It’s having a voice in the back of your mind constantly telling you that something is wrong even though you don’t know what, you’re not good enough or that people will not like you. 24/7
PTSD is not someone dropping something in front of your feet and you getting a fright. It’s living with daily flashbacks and nightmares of a traumatic experience that you’ve survived. It’s living in constant fear and not being able to differentiate in your mind the past, present and future.
Allergies such as gluten or nut are not just avoiding something because you don’t like it or you think it makes you fat. It can have painful side effects and be potentially life threatening.
Sensory Processing Disorder is not just not liking the feel or taste of something. It’s freak outs, being constantly overwhelmed and shut downs over textures, noises, and a whole lot of other sensory experiences. It can make a fun trip to the museum or art time pure torture.
I am a daily witness to the sensory processing issues, OCD and anxiety attacks with my own child. I’ve been there through the fear, the meltdowns and everything else that comes along with them.
I would NEVER wish that upon any parent to go through. In fact, I would never wish anything like the above on anyone.
All of these and more can be debilitating and life threatening to the sufferer. It can be emotionally painful for families to have to watch their loved one go through it on a daily basis and not really knowing how to help.
So why is having a label now seen as cool and a criteria to be accepted? Is it some kind of competition now as to who can have what label and how many?
Would you wish that you were in liver or kidney failure, had brain damage or ancer, a Down Syndrome child or any form of special needs child? No? Is that not cool enough?
These people who have just jumped on google or picked a label from the shelf won’t know that they are doing any harm but the reality is, they are. They are taking away from the seriousness of it all.
They are stopping genuine sufferers from feeling like they can talk openly about their issues. They are scared that they are just going to be looked at as “another one of those people” so instead, they just silently suffer in the background while others prance around as if it’s a diamond ring or a pair of Christian Louboutin’s shoes.
Parents silently suffer trying to help their children who flip the fuck out when they touch something or hear a certain noise. They work endlessly trying to help get them over their fears and sensory issues while other parents parade their kid around shouting from the roof tops that their kid has a sensory issue when reality is, they just don’t like the feel of their scratchy $584 labeled blanket.
It’s been three years of slogging our arses off to get Izzy to the point of where she is now. Three years of blood, sweat and a fuck load of fucking tears.
“Normal people” will never have to endure what we or others have to go through on a daily basis to support those we love.
Lets drop the “pick a label act”.
Instead of taking away from those who genuinely suffer from ANY health or mental health issue, find them, hug them and do the very best you can to help them through.
It is a fucking tough road for them and the people who love them the most.