As a thirteen-year-old girl, living in a country that often tends to brush aside problems of mental health as insignificant or “fake”; growing up with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder) hasn’t been easy. It basically delays the way of simple learning for kids. It is childhood developmental disorder which makes an otherwise healthy kid, clumsy. Anxiety and depression haven’t exactly been a joyride. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in the year 2018 and later that year with DCD The reality of living like this is far from what one might imagine. It’s more than just dark spells of time, suicidal thoughts or having long-awaited anxiety attacks with hyperventilation. What stands out in an interval of self-doubt, and hurt which no one sees or understands.
So what is a mental illness? What makes it okay to have one? And how does it change everything in your lif;e? It’s not easy, is something I can say. After I was diagnosed with depression, a few elders in my family thought that it was all in my brain and that it was something that only I believed existed. But what they didn’t realise was that I didn’t opt to have depression or any other mental health problems. I managed to close off my whole life, stopped talking to anyone and gave up on everything. This also led me to stop wanting to do anything and I lost interest in all of my favourite hobbies. It was only two or three months back that I got my life back.
Depression, it isn’t just darkness all around and constant death wishes. You can be depressed and still have fun and happy times. Even though I didn’t have the best social life and mental health, I still had fun times. And it isn’t a constant, it comes in waves and hits you like lightning. No one expects or wants it, it just happens. But what one must learn, and this is something I wish someone had spoken to me earlier about, is that it shouldn’t take over your entire life. For sure there is no reason it should become your identity. It is just a part of you which you needn’t be ashamed of.
Anxiety, one that is very common with teenagers nowadays, makes you feel like you stand out in a crowd. Its become very common due to the excess of social media and bullying. Even though a lot of people around you might be having anxiety attacks, you still feel as though you stand out too much. Half of the time, people just think you are faking it and doing it for attention. But the whole point is that we can’t help it, and honestly don’t want it in our lives. It comes whenever it wants to, without a warning. It is hard, really hard.
Coming finally to DCD… it, just like all the others, makes you stand out. But this time, people just simply call you names such as weird, crazy, or childish. But the problem is, I can’t help it. It makes me act childish. Yes, I have sensory needs and issues, it doesn’t make me any different than everyone else. It makes me lag in simple activities, but, doesn’t mean I am not smart. And it doesn’t become your entire identity. And honestly, I’m proud to be part of the specially-abled community. I believe it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Also, just because my special-ability isn’t a visible one, people often think I’m lying to them about the same.
At the end of the day, all these hurt. But they are only small parts of your life, and they cannot take over your whole identity unless you choose to let them. Everyone reacts to these in different ways.