Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 39 - Feeling Like an Outcast


Feeling Like an Outcast


I can relate to the experience of feeling like an outcast. It is very rare that I feel like I fit in comfortably anywhere or in any group. This is an experience that had to start somewhere, because I wasn’t born feeling like I don’t belong. It is something that is learned through, friends, famliy and environment when a child is young and cannot fully understand or process information, situations and reactions from others. Usually when people would get mad or upset with me, or if other kids teased me, I would immediately think there was something inherently wrong with me as a kind of default understanding of the situation. I never really questioned if it was actually something about me, and looking back, I see I always had something to explain it or blame myself with.

 When I was younger I was a tomboy, and I liked to play physical games and rough-house, and most of my friends were boys. But I always felt secretly ashamed and less-than because I was a girl. I would notice the boys treated me a bit differently, and it made me feel different, and I couldn’t play on the same sports teams as my friends. There were some things I felt awkward doing because I began to understand that normally, girls don’t do that type of thing. So when other girls would not be interested in being my friend or would tease me, I felt like an outcast from both genders and began to define myself as different, but in a ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ way. It’s as if the way that I was naturally was wrong, and my ‘who I am’ was breaking some unspoken rules. I felt that I made people mad just by existing. Looking back now and being able to understand more clearly, I see that it would not have been impossible to enjoy aspects of both genders, and later on in life I was able to embrace the femininity I had come to reject for so long, seeing it instead as a strength and a flexibility.

OCD began presenting itself in my life pretty early on, so the cuts and scabs and marks on my skin made me a bit of a target, especially combined with the ‘tomboy’ appearance. OCD is something that I did not understand and again, did not question, but simply accepted as a part of who and how I am. I was ashamed of it and did not seek support but rather tried to hide it and become invisible so as to avoid being teased. This then furthering my mind’s programming a view of myself as an outcast due primarily to shame. Both of these issues remained with me for most of my life, with the OCD continuing but is something I can now see and understand more clearly, and am now supporting myself to face.

When I was a bit older my family moved to a new neighborhood. It was one with bigger houses and the kids that I become friends with were from wealthier families. My family did live in a very nice neighborhood, but were what is called ‘mortgage poor’. Many of the new friend I became close with were doing activities such as for example, horse-back riding lessons, or going away to summer camp, and I did not see the bigger picture of why I couldn’t also do these things. At first they would show me their medals and tell me all about camp, but at some point they stopped and started actually hiding things from me. Once I found out my best friend had bought a snowboard after we had been talking for a while about how much we wanted to go snowboarding. She later admitted that she had hidden it from me because she felt bad. I did eventually get to go to summer camp and get a snow board, but not before having developed a sense of self-pity. I wasn’t able to see the bigger picture, that my parents were stabilising in their careers, that there were financial factors that had to play out. Instead I had defined a part of myself, again, as an outcast, always a bit ‘off’, or ‘less-than’ in some way, nurturing self-pity and self-diminishment. I see now that all of humanity face different struggles and exist at different levels of income. I see that I am among the elite in the world when I look at the big picture, and I absolutely do not judge the billions of people struggling to survive as 'less-than' or 'pitiful', but rather the consequential outflow of a system designed to create poverty. I see myself now as in a position of responsibility to others, to open my eyes to others and to the reality of our current situation on this planet.

As  I got older and started working, I was confronted with feeling like an outcast due to language politics. I am part of an English-speaking minority in a French province, and I began working with the public during a time where there was a lot of social and political tension between the two groups. I ended up working in a primarily French neighborhood at one point, and I remember working with people one night that were making fun of the way I spoke. It got to the point where I eventually broke down crying, believing that the French would never accept me. Most places I would go when exploring more of the city as I got older would have French culture or influence, and I would feel I didn’t belong and wasn’t wanted. I had French people insult me for being English, and there was graffiti in a local park telling the English to ‘go home’, but to me, this WAS my home!

Looking back I can see that I wanted to be accepted, but the problem is with the starting point I had at the time. I still saw the French culture as something foreign that I could not be a part of. I felt a hostility and  separateness that was impenetrable. So the wanting to be accepted came from me wanting to change my internal experience and feel better about myself by having others accept me. The way I see it now is that I was the one creating impenetrable walls around me to protect myself. I could not, at the time, see that language politics were being used in a larger political context playing out on a provincial and national stage, but instead I judged myself for the language I spoke. What I eventually learned was that in not judging myself and not hiding myself and keeping quiet, but rather by accepting MYSELF, I am able to open up more to, with sincere intrigue and acceptance, get to know a whole other culture and see and realize how it came to be, and understand where it comes from. Within this, I am now able to get to know other human beings, and see that all human beings are influenced and affected by the culture within which they are raised, myself included. I also see how the two cultures  are not mutually exclusive, and have grown and developed together, intersecting and intertwining at points, having a mutual effect on each other. Now I feel like I can actually appreciate this difference that exists where I live, and learn a lot from it as well, but not because anybody else started doing anything differently. It all started to change when I started to change myself.

There are many times now where this program still gets triggered in my mind, and I judge myself and then blame something outside of me and feel like an outcast again. It’s persistent because it starts so early in life, before understanding, so it becomes the accepted explanation. There is a group now of people that are very inspiring to me, people that I admire very much, where my ‘outcast system’ often becomes triggered. Looking at it now, I can see that I am judging myself because I know that I could be doing better, and doing more in many ways. I also see that I am not giving myself credit for the things I am working on or have done, but instead only focusing on the ‘negatives’ and allowing myself only to look at what I am not doing well. These different dimensions trigger the self-impression that I am not good enough, not worthy, destined to be an outcast. But the difference here is that this is the present moment, which is the moment where I have the power to do things differently. The moments in the past have already happened, so all I can do is look back and see how I could have done things differently or better to be more supportive towards myself. But things that come up now where I start to feel like an outcast again are like opportunities for me to look a little deeper, and do something different NOW, and change the experience while I am in it. I will start with some self-forgiveness on the point.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself within comparison to people that I admire or look up to, wherein, instead of ‘looking up to’ them, I can look to them as a resource that I can use to assist and support myself to overcome the obstacles I face, turning every obstacle into a gift of learning and overcoming.

When and as I see that I am ‘looking up to’ others in comparison and self-judgment, I stop, and I breathe, I bring myself back to equality and oneness by reminding myself that I can instead look to others to learn and use their experience to apply in my own life that which can assist and support me to be the best possible version of myself in my own unique and individual way. I see, realize and understand that by using judgment and comparison I am only denying myself an opportunity to grow, to learn, to evolve and to expand.

I commit myself to identify moments of judgment and comparison, and look for ways to turn it into learning, growing and expanding.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that anyone or anything outside of myself can make me less than or make me an outcast, because in reflecting on my life and investigating the ‘outcast’ character, I can see that there is and has always been another way.

When and as I see that I am blaming someone or something outside of myself for causing me to feel like an outcast, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to living self-forgiveness by reminding myself that only I have the power to condemn me, and that this is something I will no longer accept and allow as part of me and the way I use my power. Instead, I will use my personal power and decision-making authority to author for myself a new way of being, by forgiving the old patterns that were learned in un-awareness, and living instead a new pattern that I choose and that I create, one of self-acceptance, one of seeing and looking in self-honesty at ways where I can create a life internally and externally, where I am supported and challenged to change.

I commit myself to take self-responsibility for my personal growth, and for stopping my personal self-diminishment.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe my mind system program when it tells me I am not good enough, I am shameful and that I do not belong, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to react to this self-talk by diminishing myself, closing myself off and becoming apparently small and invisible.

When and as I see that I am listening to my mind telling me I am not good enough, that I am shameful and I do not belong, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by reminding myself that whenever I have reflected back, I have always seen another way. I push myself to override this program by forgiving it and allowing myself to see another way IN THE MOMENT. I push myself to use this seeing, realizing and understanding to expand, open up about the challenges I face, interact, ask for support when needed, and become visible, where I see my POTENTIAL, and not the self-diminishing version of myself I had grown to accept and allow within me as my self-definition.

I commit myself to fearlessly become big, visible and open.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Day 38 - OCD: Doing it All Alone


 
     I have realized many times that I can’t fight this battle all by myself, yet time and time again I find myself falling back into the pattern of shutting myself off and isolating myself as a coping technique. A part of me justifies this by holding the idea or belief that I am protecting others from me, and that this is my problem or issue and it should only be a burden on my own shoulders. And this causes me to not reach out and to ask for help, assistance or support.

I want to see myself as strong and capable and able to handle myself in any situation, and I also developed the belief that no one can really help me or do anything for me that I can’t do for myself. But circumstances in my life have made me realize that sometimes you can’t do it all alone, and that sometimes you can be surprised with just how beneficial reaching out and sharing can be. Unfortunately I took the route of learning this the hard way, through consequence rather than having taken more preventative measures when I saw things were getting tough.

 I had reached a breaking point with the anxiety that I had been building up and suppressing for quite a long time. I had been feeling very overwhelmed and powerless with certain situations in my life, with things not moving fast enough, or financial situations where I didn’t see an immediate solution. Also, with a course I had been taking, I was working 7 days a week, with many obligations and responsibilities in between. This caused an accumulation of reactions which increasingly became overwhelming.

During this time, whenever I found myself alone, instead of taking that time to support myself, I would lose control and fall into OCD behaviour. It’s that repeating program that takes over and mutes out that part of me that is fighting for healing, allowing instead for the destructive part of me do the coping and the processing. Finally, one day a severe migraine broke me physically, forcing me to stop for real, and this ended up giving me the chance to see that it was time to stop suppressing and putting up walls around me like a fortress, and I allowed myself to go through an emotional breakdown as well.

After such an episode I felt much better, but alone. I closed myself in my room and told myself I would tough it out and everything would be better tomorrow. But, before this all took place I had just listened to an interview about this exact topic, also titled “Doing it All Alone” (you can listen to it for free: https://eqafe.com/p/doing-it-all-alone). I decided to take the advice from the being that had been going through similar experiences, and I came out of my room and talked to my parents. I’ve been hiding OCD for so long that talking about it with people in my world is still a bit foreign and uncomfortable for me. But I was able to express myself and speak about the anxiety and the lack of control I feel with OCD. We talked about the circumstances surrounding me reaching my breaking point, and discussed some immediate steps I could take to take care of myself. We also discussed some long-term options which I will be taking steps toward exploring as well.

After talking for some time, my migraine dissipated completely. I felt like I had support around me, and my parents expressed being grateful about having a better understanding about what it is I am going through. This was not the outcome I had expected when I imagined or anticipated talking about it. In my mind I thought it would be hard and uncomfortable and make matters worse, but in reality, it felt life-saving. I know that this doesn’t mean that everything will be easy from here on out, this is obviously a process that needs to be walked from moment to moment. It will take time before I become more and more comfortable allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of others, and to learn to identify when I can handle things on my own, and when it is best to ask for support.

 

The moral of the story is that we cannot trust that things will turn out exactly the way we imagine them, especially not when we are in an emotional reaction or heightened anxiety. It is important to sometimes come out of one’s own mind and cross-reference things with others in order to get a clearer perspective on oneself and one’s own situation. Talking to others and seeking support can introduce new options, open up alternatives or solutions that one may not have thought of alone, especially not from the limited perspective created by anxiety.

Doing some things alone is cool, it can be very empowering and build confidence and strength of character, but so can asking for support. With practice, it has become easier to do this, and to correctly identify which path is more appropriate to take in the moment.
To take the first step in supporting YOURSELF, you can check out the following links that led me to take the first steps toward healing, and continue to support me to this day:
 
SOUL –  The School of Ultimate Living is an online community of people interested in
discovering and developing their utmost potential
eqafe.com – Invest in a wide range of Interviews and Support yourself to Self Perfection
Journey To Life Blogs – Read the blogs from those walking the 7 year journey to life.
Self and Living – Practical Living Support To Live to Your Utmost Potential
DIP Lite – Free Online Course to get you started with learning the Tools of Self Support
DIP PRO -A Desteni Course for those Ready to Walk the Journey of a Lifetime

 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

21 Day Challenge: Facing OCD


 
 


I am doing a 21 day challenge to assist and support myself to face the OCD impulses and compulsions I fall into when I participate in calm, quiet activities such as writing, reading or watching something on television. Having OCD is a high-strung and exhausting existence, and I find myself longing for a ‘break’ – a moment’s reprieve, or a small rest where I can, if only for a moment, have some peace and experience my body ‘at ease’.

When I do fit these moments into my day, I am mostly discouraged and undermined by the fact that my mind and body seem to overwhelm me with discomfort and anxiety instead of finding that relaxed calmness I long for. The OCD compulsions rush in, and the moment I had made for myself instead becomes a moment for OCD to move in and perpetuate itself. These moments become the most difficult moments for me to remain in control. It is almost easier when I am totally occupied, moving from one thing to the next, but then when I stop, all the reactions I had and simply ignored while I was busy, seem to come rushing through in quiet moments with myself. This play-out creates the impression that there is no escape, and, in reality, there isn’t. There is no way around OCD so it must be walked through and managed at all times. This may seem like an exhausting task in itself, but the reality is that nothing is more all-consuming than OCD. When faced and managed, there is reprieve.

Herein, this 21 day experiment is my opportunity to face OCD head-on. I will, at the end of each day, sit down before bed and describe the above mentioned experiences in words. I will also connect the emotional experiences with the events that took place throughout the day, with the mind-activity I participated in throughout the day, and with the projections I may have been creating when thinking and imagining, for example, about the future. I will also be doing some self-forgiveness on the subject, which assists in me taking complete responsibility for my disorder, not because I am looking to blame myself or make this harder for myself, but because complete responsibility means complete power to change.

Please walk with me through 21 days of facing OCD.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 36 - Living the Change, Stopping OCD

On the front lines of OCD -
 In this photo, you can see how I have taken steps to create a home environment that is supportive in all ways; I have set myself up in front of the computer to write, which supports me in in my process of taking my authority back from OCD. Because I know that being in front of the computer triggers the OCD, I have put a hair mask on to keep my hands away from my head. The hair mask also nurtures and moisturizes the scalp, which supports me physically as I have scalp psoriasis. I lit a candle to create a more relaxed and soothing atmosphere to lower anxiety, and I also like the way it smells, so it is a point of  simple enjoyment as well The same with the tea, which is filled with healthy ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, honey, lemon, and also chamomile which calms and relaxes. It keeps my hands busy when I get antsy, it tastes good and is warm and comforting. This calming, soothing, healing and nurturing environment was created by me, in awareness. This is MY CHOICE. It depicts an act of creation rather than an environment of consequence, resulting from the automated behaviour of OCD. This is one step of my journey, bringing my writing to life in practical application. To read the writing, visit: AtHome Within Myself - Living the Word 'Home'

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Day 35 - At Home Within Myself: ReDefining Home





From yesterday's blog:

Home:




 Self-Forgiveness (releasing past definitions)

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create a home, both internal and external, that is chaotic, unsafe, and unsupportive of my self-development.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have not created a stable and supportive home environment because I did not take responsibility for myself or my life or important things that need to get done every day, because I expected them to be done for me and I expected to be cared for, first as a child by my parents, and then as a girlfriend/wife by men.

I commit myself to create for myself an environment of support by identifying the self-destructive behaviour patterns, forgiving myself, and changing them to patterns of support.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear taking responsibility for myself and my life/world due to thinking/believing/perceiving that I do not know how, because I found it difficult to begin with, and because I accept and allow myself to become overwhelmed and give up, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it is a step-by-step process that involves baby steps and learning over time.

 

When and as I see that I am avoiding, procrastinating, supressing (and thus, setting myself up for OCD) due to the experience of overwhelming-ness I create through the thought, idea or belief that “I do not know how” I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to stability, by centering myself in my body, and not following the thoughts causing the overwhelming-ness, but simply breathing myself into presence and awareness, and giving myself the time and space to let the overwhelming-ness pass before I am able to start taking the steps towards directing my reality, so that those steps are taken within self-direction and not from a starting point of fear, overwhelming-ness and confusion. I see, realize and understand that actions taken from this starting point will only create more of the same. I gift myself the patience and stability to allow myself to come back out of the mind before proceeding in the physical.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to reflect the chaos of my mind onto my physical environment, blaming that environment for how I feel inside instead of seeing and realizing that the opposite is true, the environment is the consequence of my internal struggles, and the fact that I hadn’t addressed or taken responsibility for my internal situation caused me to also avoid taking responsibility for my external home environment.

I commit myself to continue my physical process (changing in the moment, in real time, as applied change), and to also push myself to write myself out more and more, in order to better equip myself to make that real time change.

I commit myself to see and realize that writing clarifies the busy, chaotic mind, and creates a blueprint for me to lead myself when life becomes overwhelming with blurring uncertainty, mind chaos, floating light-headedness, self-damning depression, intense isolation – these words describing the internal experiences I find myself in, within which I find it more difficult to direct myself without support.



 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel alone and isolated in my home when there was no one taking care of me, instead of seeing and realizing that I was there, and it was myself that was abandoning me because I didn’t have the tools nor the understanding of how to care for and nurture myself, from without and from within.

I commit myself to push myself to step up for myself, and tend to things that need to get done.

I commit myself to replace self-destructive actions to self-supportive actions (eg: do laundry, make tea or work out for example, instead of allowing for idle time which opens the door to fall into OCD)

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not remain consistent and orderly in my home, but to instead follow the ups and downs of my feelings and emotions, letting things fall apart when the motivation is not there, and doing too much when the motivation IS there.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think and believe that I am dependant on the internal experience of being ‘motivated’ to move myself, and to, within this belief, try to get everything done in those few moments where I do feel this way, without realizing that my actions are coming from a starting point of fear as ‘fearing losing the motivation,’ thus making the statement to myself that I cannot move without first feeling a certain specific way. Within this:

When and as I see that I am waiting for feelings and emotions, such as motivation and fear, to move me, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the process of developing self-authority by reminding myself that  it is a process, and sometimes it is a very slow process, and that I am in this moment in a position to take a step, but it is up to me to decide in which direction I want that step to be taken. I push myself to take the step in the direction towards self-authority, which is self-expansion, which is honouring and nurturing self, thus creating an environment of support within self and in my external environment.

Day 34- At Home Within Myself - Living the Word 'Home'



I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and every time I would arrive at a new location I would have projections about what it would feel like to live there, and I would hold an optimistic outlook on how my life would be and how I would make this new place my home. I would settle in over time, but as time passed I would never quite be able to create this feeling I was looking for, the feeling of being ‘at home’.

The repeating cycle that would occur is that the new apartment would become messy and disorganized and financial and other stresses would inevitably arise and plant their roots in my mind and thus be reflected back to me by my environment. Soon most things in the house would cause a negative reaction in me, such as anxiety for example, as I would see things I was neglecting or unfinished projects I would judge myself for having abondoned.  Slowly, over time I would lose my authority in the situation, as I would lose authority over myself and my actions, and this unfortunately leads to a lack of order and direction,  which created an environment that is not conducive to healing, growing or expanding. This environment is actually more conducive to perpetuating dermatillomania, wherein I become the product of the environment I have created, instead of the environment becoming the product of me, as I create myself into someone that is striving to meet their utmost potential, which includes overcoming dermatillomania.

These aforementioned negative effects could be associated with having OCD, although I am certain people without OCD have experienced this as well. For me, with dermatillomania, the home becomes ‘unsafe’, in a way. In the above scenario, things I see in the home create an underlying overwhelming-ness within me, and become triggers and soon bathrooms and mirrors become unsafe places for me to go because of the effects of having a BRFD (body-focused repetitive disorder). It is not an environment of comfort and support, rather, through my abdicating myself to this behaviour, I set myself up for failure and self-abuse.

 http://www.havingtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/messy-house.jpg
And so in this blog I’ve taken up looking at this word ‘home’, and I have decided (i.e. not the disorder) that it is time for me to decide how I am going to re-define the word ‘home’. This way, I can  apply that definition into my daily living, thus creating a living word for myself, wherein slowly over time, one word at a time, I will create a ‘living vocabulary’ and thus, a new life for myself on My Terms – not the terms of the disorder.

The word home, a defined in the dictionary, means:

1.      the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household:

Informal - a place where an object is kept.


Souding out the words (what hidden words or phrases can I see within the word?)

HOnor ME -  (home is a place where I honour myself, and my internal/external environment should reflect that)

HOne in on ME -  (Home is a place that I know in the utmost detail, and when attention is needed somewhere, I hone in on it. If something requires attention and is not getting done, I first hone in on me – my mind – to check why am I not moving myself to tend to the task)

HarmOny in ME ( Home is a place where I create as little friction as possible, where events and play-outs are directed by me in a way that creates them to be beneficial to me, supporting and nurturing my growth and development).

HOusing ME ( Home is the physical location that is housing me, whether it is in my body or my house, and it therefore requires to be physically maintained: kept clean, tidy, organized, well presented, and practical for me).

I like how in the ‘sounding out’ of the word I see a focus on ‘me’, before only considering the physical location, because this way home can be wherever I am. The dictionary definition states that a home is the place where one lives ‘permanently’. This can be complicated for someone in my situation who has forso long been living temporarily in different locations. If I were to limit myself and my experience to the dictionary’s definition, then I may react by feeling things like lost, homeless and self-pitying, because, according to the dictionary definition, I don’t have a’ home’! This can potentially be disempowering, because it’s important to have a place and a space within which to grow and be grounded, and without one I feel ungrounded and like I have no place, This is the kind of potential consequence of not fully investigating the words we are living and defining ourselves according to.

 I would like to instead Empower myself by creating my own definition for the word home. This new definition is not just a physical location; it is a living and a doing, internal and external. ‘Home’ is actually who and how I am within myself, and the physical location is simply an extension of myself, so that by extension, it also becomes my ‘home’.

Home:

Orderly – I have a place for things and I address and tend to all components as necessary.

Safe – it is a safe place/space because as I establish the environment I want to create, such as developing self-acceptance (no judgment) and self-discipline (stopping OCD patterns, keeping everything in order etc), my mistakes, falls and slip-ups are immediately forgiven, and the slate is clean for me to learn from the experience and try again. In my home environment, internal and external, I forgive myself, I learn, I expand.

Directed  - Home is where I prioritize what needs to get done, and I move myself through the tasks. This is Self-direction, where I am the one that assesses my home’s needs – my body as food, water, exercise, relaxation etc… my house as groceries, cleaning, decorating etc… in my home, I push myself to get everything that needs to get done, done.

In my next blog I will post the self-forgiveness in relation to redefining 'Home'.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Day 33- Parents of Children with Dermatillomania/CSP:My Child is Not Okay


 

This article is for parents of children with OCD, dermatilloamnia, or any other mental disorder. I am focusing on parents, not out of blame nor to create guilt, but because they are on the frontlines of the battle against mental health issues. This is because children are resilient, adaptive and have a high neuroplasticity with which they can overcome and learn how to manage their mental disorders before it becomes solidified, layered and integrated into them as they grow older. I am not a doctor, but someone who sufferers from dermatillomania, and as I am finding solutions for myself, I am looking back and seeing how much of what I created for myself could have been prevented in my childhood.
There was a time, perhaps your parents’ generation, where children were to be seen but not heard, it was as if, so long as the child is alive at the end of the day, the parenting has been successful. These days, children’s mental health has become a prevalent issue in many contexts, with new disorders and prescribed medications seemingly mounting every year. This unfortunate equation results in parents who may have the best intentions, but lack the necessary tools required to deal with today’s children’s mental health phenomena. Part of the problem is that, due to a certain amount of stigma created over the years, there has been a lack of understanding and forward motion with regards to the treatment and prevention of mental illness and disorders. So much of what is suffered in adulthood can be explored and understood, expressed and discussed with the child as active participant in childhood. But first, parents on the front lines have to take a look within themselves to see if there is any stigmatization existent in their own minds, conscious or subconscious, expressed or implicit. In order for a conversation with your child to open up, you have to be clear within yourself that there is no judgment, and that your acceptance of your child is in fact, unconditional.

To this day, 60 percent of people that suffer from a mental illness will not seek help due to fear of being labelled (http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/initiatives-and-projects/opening-minds).  It is an absolute certainty that stigmatizing our children’s mental disorders will only ever prevent treatment and healing, and limit our children from realizing their utmost potential in this life. We have to realize that we must become objective about the fact that our children aren’t okay, and that we do not necessarily know what to do about it. We must unlearn the stigmatization that has been passed down for generations because it is a detriment to our children, and we are the only ones keeping it alive today. We do so by accepting and allowing our own fears, judgments and reactions surrounding the issue of mental health, disorders and psychosis, to seep through into our behaviour and attitudes towards our children. Stigmatizing our children’s mental health renders us blind and deaf, leaving our children isolated in the face of something that they are in no way prepared to handle alone.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a stigma is “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something,” whereas to stigmatize means to “describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or great disapproval.” Now, we don’t have to outwardly say negative things towards a child, nor do we need to disgrace or disapprove in words to keep a stigma alive, or to make a child feel stigmatized (marked out or described as something bad). Simply ignoring the problem, making it seem smaller than it actually is, or not taking it seriously, indicates that there is a belief system, whether or not we are conscious of it. If we are afraid or awkward or uncomfortable around something, or if we ignore it, it indicates that somewhere within us, there is something holding us back.

In a normal scenario, when a child displays a physical symptom of an illness, like a lump, a rash or a fever, even if we do not know what the problem is, we act. We go to the doctor, we do research online, we become concerned and speak with others, treatments are tried and we even ask the child how they feel as an indicator of whether or not the treatment is working. This is normal. The fact that this is what normal looks like makes this a good way to establish a standard against which behavioural reactions can be compared when dealing with psychological symptoms of illness. As a parent, when confronted with possible mental illness within your child, you can ask yourself what you would do if this were a physical illness. If there is any difference between your behaviour because the illness is psychological, then that is a sign that there is some degree of reaction within you. It is up to each one to investigate what that reaction is, because not doing so is a detriment to the child.

 In fact, not only will non-action end up harming your own child, but it will harm other parents and children as well, because it is keeping a stigma alive. So long as the stigma exists, parents will feel like the child’s mental illness is their failure. The mental illness will become something shameful, and will limit the child into adulthood. If swept under the rug, mental illness like OCD and dermatillomania, will not be researched and there will be no prevention.

The first step towards prevention is for parents of children with signs of mental illness to treat it normally, as I described above, and for people who have any kind of mental illness to speak out about it, normally. That also includes taking your child by the hand, and walking the journey together. Nobody knows exactly what to do when their child is diagnose or displays signs of a mental disorder, but children shouldn’t be left alone to figure it out. Listen to your child, he or she might even have solutions we wouldn’t have imagined. Open up the conversation regularly so it becomes normalized and a vocabulary can be developed. Assist and support your child to become a self-supportive adult.

 
This s a dermatillomania blog, but the message goes for all mental disorders and psychological illness. If you would like to see me speak about OCD and dermatillomania, you can watch my youtube videos HERE.Also watch: Dermatillomania/Compulsive Skin Picking: Physical Body Support                                             Picture: http://www.canadianbfrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/parents_child_silhouette1.jpg