How Did Everyone Ignore My Mental Illness Growing Up???

I recently read a wonderful post written by the Musings of Fred.  It discussed how the signs of mental illness in minors are often ignored.  This post hit home with me.  It was extremely true for my particular case growing up.  Not only were my signs of mental health issues ignored, but even when they came to light, they were just not addressed. 

Why does this happen?  Why does it take so long for parents to step in and get help for their children?  Honestly, I don’t have the answer.  I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist.  I have done no research whatsoever.  So I am not here to give some scientific answer.

I just I just wanted to give my thoughts.  And I wanted to see what everyone else thought. 

For me, I honestly hid my emotions and feelings of depression quite well.  I am not sure my parents actually knew up front.  My mom did find a suicide note when I was in 6th grade though, and she asked me about it, and then it was never talked about again.  Some teachers asked me about my depression, but again, did nothing.  One teacher seemed to care, but he abused his power and molested me.  This is when it all came to light – my 8th grade school counselor found out about the molestation, she told my parents, I was cutting and I was suicidal.  My school counselor urged them to put me in therapy.  I did not want to deal with anything and did not want to go.  My parents never discussed anything with me and I was never put into therapy.

My mental health deteriorated over time, Deteriorated a lot, suicidal thoughts were awful, life was awful, my parents never stepped in, teachers never stepped in.  No one seemed to care even though everyone seemed to be aware. 

I think a lot of people were in denial.  How could I be having problems?  My grades were still perfect 0 straight A’s in fact.  I was in all AP classes.  How could someone doing so well in school really want to die, how could they be destroying their lives – they had a bright future.  I don’t think my parents wanted to believe that I had been molested.  I don’t think they wanted to believe that their child had a mental illness.  I don’t think my teachers wanted to get involved and as some told me, I always seemed to be better at the end of each semester when my grades mattered. 

I told people I didn’t want help when I was younger, and yeah, I was scared of getting help because of what my teacher did to me.  I had told him about being depressed, and he took advantage of me.  But I also longed to not feel the way I was feeling.  I wanted someone to save me from my mind and how much it was torturing me.

I hope that people quit ignoring the kids and adolescents that need help.  I hope that those that are reaching our for help, and those that are silently suffering because they don’t know how to reach out for help or feel they cant, can receive the help they need.  Too often people do see the signs – teachers, pastors, friends, and family, they do see the signs – but the blind themselves to them.  They don’t want to believe it could happen in their kid.  They are too preoccupied with their own problems or work.  They think it is just a phase. 

We can’t look the other way anymore.  I truly believe if someone had helped me when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time in college, I would be suffering as much as I am now.  Yes, I said I didn’t need help then, I said I didn’t want therapy then.  I was 13 or 14 though.  I didn’t know what I wanted.  I was scared.  I didn’t want my friends to judge me.  I shouldn’t have been able to make that decision, I was a kid. 

If you want to know more about warning signs in kids from preschool to the teen age years click here.

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14 thoughts on “How Did Everyone Ignore My Mental Illness Growing Up???”

  1. I can relate entirely. When I was clearly struggling and tried to open up to my parents they merely grounded me and ignored it. Then when I lost all control they claimed they couldn’t forgive me and that was it; like there’s something to forgive. No matter whether you were intelligent or not; physically healthy or not – depression is not built through reason it’s a certain chemical depleting and it’s a vile thing to be victim to. What irritates me is you wouldn’t ignore your child if they were vomiting due to a sickness bug; so why would you ignore them when they’re having suicidal thoughts? Sure. Parents may not know what to do and that’s understandable, but calling the GP seems like a pretty reasonable response. Far better than ignoring it. Sorry about this rant it’s just reading this really touched me and, well, I’m sorry that you went through this and felt ignored or misunderstood. But you’re not alone. And parents need to be told better how to approach their children when they feel depressed or whatever. I’ll have to read what you did. 🙂 Hope you’re well – Your Inner Happiness

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  2. I am sorry that you went through similar circumstances with your parents. It is an awful thing when parents do it. I think parents take it more seriously now as there is becoming more awareness and other people (school teachers, school counselors) are stepping in and being more harsh about getting the kids help. But I think there is still a lot of turning a blind eye to it and letting the problems go on and on and denying that their kids have problems. With time I do believe it will get better as the stigma reduces and education increases, but only time will tell.

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  3. Thank you for your kindness.
    I guess our parents were from a generation that didn’t have as much awareness or help however it’s no excuse; I merely cannot comprehend your child’s struggle and distress. I find it ignorant. Things are changing and I’m glad they are. Ignorance is not bliss.

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  4. I think parents may be too close to the problem to see mental health issues in their children objectively, and for what they really are; denial almost certainly plays a role. More awareness is needed, more education is needed and extended family and friends should be encouraged to speak up when they feel something is wrong.

    There is no justification for allowing a child to suffer.

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  5. I have wondered the same thing. I also wondered if my parents lacked the same insight that I lacked to realise something was wrong with me and that I was floundering. Who knows? So many things are accepted as still normal, even though they are a bit odd.
    No short or even definitive answer. A question you can only ever think about.

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  6. In my specific case, there were cultural factors that came into play. Raised by a very traditional Asian Mom, things such as mental illness were “figments of ones imagination.”

    By no means is it an excuse but even today, with new science and evidence, she still discredits mental illness in general. Working harder is the solution that fixes everything.

    It still frustrates me to no end that she can be so short sighted. It makes if difficult because she does see what my wife is going through as a valid medical issue.

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  7. Very true! That is definitely a good thought. Often times, it is thought to be someone’s quirkiness or uniqueness. Thanks for the comment – hadn’t even really put that into consideration!

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  8. Wow, I didn’t even think about that! My mom immigrated here from an Asian country and I never thought that maybe she had a similar viewpoint. She never had said anything to me outright like that, but perhaps she also felt that way.

    I think culture definitely plays a role, but never really had thought about it outright. You brought up an excellent point!

    Sorry that your mom has done the same thing with mental illness. It is incredibly frustrating!

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  9. I’m so, so sorry that you were betrayed in that way by a teacher who encouraged you to trust him. That’s truly awful. I’m glad you got through that time and can think and write about it.

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  10. Thanks, it was an awful time and I am only now going through therapy for it. But I am finally beginning to heal – better late than never! This blog has been a great way for me to open up about everything because physically, verbally talking about it is still quite hard.

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  11. I try to tell myself that in any given situation I did the best I could at the time. I try to tell myself the same thing about my parents. Where I get caught up is in wondering why their best wasn’t better. It’s unfortunate but expected to not understand some important things; what’s not so understandable is an unwillingness to seek help or ask someone who may know more.

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