If it was cancer...

First I want to just say that I'm brand new. I've been reading for a while and I'm not quite ready to share our experiences yet. But I do have a sort of venty question...

What if my child had cancer instead of mental health and behavioral issues? Would the doctors ask what I did to cause the cancer? Would I be left at home with no assistance, and be expected to cure the cancer on my own?

Obviously the answer is a resounding NO. In fact, if I didn't seek treatment for child's illness, I would be in big trouble. I've even seen cases where parents have lost custody over failure to get treatment for physical illness.

I guess I just can't imagine any other health crisis where I would be expected to single-handedly manage my child's health, except when it manifests as behavioral.

Thanks for letting me get that out and thanks for sharing your stories. I just want to shout from the roof tops I AM NOT ALONE! Back to reading.

Wiped Out

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Welcome Constant Vigilance! Great board name by the way! It is how we always have to be with our difficult children!

I love your comparison. What you said is so very true!


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Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! I couldn't agree more, and I've been saying this to family for years!! If my son was physically sick people would be jumping to help me. He's not physically sick, he's mentally ill, so that MUST be my fault. Instead of help, I get blame. I am told that I should take a parenting class because that will solve everything. Family game night will make everyone feel loved and secure, so that would go a long way to fixing the problems, because if I just loved him a little more he would be fine.


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We had a similar thread to this recently. I agree with you. My husband and I made the decision to spend quite a bit of money to send our daughter to a residential treatment center since she didn't have health insurance at that time. I compared it to getting her treatment if she had cancer without any health insurance.

Some people didn't agree with me since they felt like addicts made a choice to ingest the toxic substances compared to "innocent" cancer victims. It is a mentality that substance abusers deserve to be punished.

However, I would argue that many cancer patients made life choices like smoking that led to their cancer but no one thinks that they don't deserve treatment because of those choices.



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However, I would argue that many cancer patients made life choices like smoking that led to their cancer but no one thinks that they don't deserve treatment because of those choices
No, but there ARE people who think, "Well, of course she got cancer. She smokes." I know I think that...I'm guilty. Especially if it's the kind of cancer that is usually caused by smoking and if they don't quit after they are being treated for cancer.

However, mental health is serious and can be life threatening too. I lived it and I know and so many people tell you to just "Snap out of it!" They would never tell a cancer patient to "Snap out of your cancer!" no matter why they have cancer. So I have always been acutely aware of the double standard.

Nobody chooses to have cancer. Nobody chooses to be mentally ill.
Welcome, ConstantVigilance! I was here reading posts for 5 years before I felt ready to post. Part of it was that I was concerned that someone who knew me might see them and recognize me. Sorry that you are in circumstances that brought you here, but you're always welcome. You are not alone.

On a lighter note, is your name a reference to Mad Eye Moody from Harry Potter? It's the first thing I thought of when I saw it. :likeit:


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Thing of course is, that with younger kids big part of good mental health treatment actually is parenting and family relationships. So parenting classes may be needed, because while most typical kids grow up just nicely with many type of parenting, and can handle lots of parenting mistakes, kids with mental health issues or behavioural challenges may need specific way of parenting or are less able to deal with parenting mistakes.

In the end same is true with many adult mental health issues. Vital part of management of them is often right lifestyle. Structure, enough sleep, enough exercise and natural light, good diet, balanced, regular and low-stress lifestyle. And every depressed hates it, when people tell them to just eat better, have some exercise, always go to bed and wake up the same time and so on. Still also those type of things are needed in successful treatment of many mental health issues. And very high quality parenting is needed in best possible managing many psychological or neurological challenges with kids.

But you are right, there is awful stigma in mental health and addiction issues compared to other as serious illness. Let's face it, almost half of all cancers could be avoided by lifestyle choices (no smoking, no overweight, enough exercise, healthy diet, enough this and that and not too much some other things.) Addictions could also be avoided, if people wouldn't engage in addictive substances or behaviours. But we are not blaming people with breast cancer and asking them, that why did they not have kids/had kids only after 30/didn't nurse long/did use hormone treatment during menopause/drank too much/smoke/were overweight after menopause or any other known risk factor. We are also not telling them, that their illness is character or moral deficiency. But we do not shame, blame or discredit a person with cancer or parent whose child has a cancer. We don't do so to even more clearly acquired diseases like type two diabetes or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). And we shouldn't. Nor should we shame, blame or discredit a person who has mental health or addiction issue or their parents.


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Welcome Constant Vigilance! You made sense and I agree with you! I think it is denial of some of our relatives or others about mental illness. Hugs


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I think it is denial of some of our relatives or others about mental illness.
... and about 90% of the rest of the world around us.

Unless your life has been affected by someone who has to deal with a mental illness, you really don't have a clue.

It would be nice to raise an awareness campaign like Rick Hanson (sp?) did with wheelchairs, but mental illness isn't just one thing, and it isn't visible!