Mental Health, Anxiety, and The Apraxia Journey
As a lifeguard, I was trained to see if a swimmer, even a bad swimmer, was making forward movements. If they were, then they did not need to be rescued.
But if they were vertical and quit making forward progress, then they could potentially be drowning and we must prepare to save them.
I can't help but to think that is what life is. As long as there's forward progress, no matter how slowly, a person will be alright. But sometimes, there's a complete stop in forward movement. When that happens we all must recognize the signs to jump in and save them, perhaps even from themselves.
I do not fully understand the demons these individuals were fighting nor am I condoning their actions. But, I truly believe that individuals that suffer from mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc. are all on the quest for something and feel that they are ultimately failing.
As human beings we strive for perfection and success.
We see these successful people who we view as perfect, successful, and famous. They know their place in the limelight and the 'expectations' of them.
However, what we see though is sadly not how they view themselves.
Perhaps these successful people look in the mirror daily and nightly; crying, and constantly evaluating their failings.
They nitpick themselves, criticize themselves, driving them so far as to take their own life given their impression that they've failed.
They are riddled with
It's crazy to me that an individual victim to mental health issues are their own worst critic. Their brain, their mind, and emotions literally plays tricks on itself.
It's disheartening and it's scary.
Worst of all, it can happen to any individual at any time.
What else is even scarier, at least for me, is how prevalent these mental health issues are with older children and young adults with Apraxia-especially the issue of anxiety. I personally wish that there were more resources and attention put towards helping the overall child grow to avoid these dismal battles, but we all are so consumed with speech therapy, occupational therapy, and getting kids to pass their classes to even consider this potential threat on mental health.
I speak from personal experience as well as interactions with other families, I've discovered a noticeable trend between those with Apraxia and Anxiety.
We all overwork and over-criticize ourselves in the quest to be successful.
Now this may be the case for anyone with such a mental health issue, but for those that have had Apraxia the root of the problem runs deep.
Imagine with me, you believe that you are a 100% normal, perfect and there is nothing 'wrong' with you. You enjoy playing, running around with other classmates, or maybe playing by yourself. Regardless you feel normal.
However, you get older. You notice that you're attending these 'special' classes. Speech Therapy? Why doesn't everyone go to speech therapy? Special P.E. class? But there's only 5 people here and the other P.E. classes have 20+.
You begin to notice these little differences, and then the questioning begins.
If you feel that you are normal, then why do you feel that you're treated differently?
You discover at a rather young age that your brain is wrong, that you are not normal and begin to realize that you truly are different from others.
So begins the uphill battle, where you commit to working extremely hard to act and conduct yourself so you can be like the others.
You even have to change your thinking. You begin to learn that your classmates in these smaller classes are different too and for you to adjust to the 'normal' group, you must differentiate yourself from your class peers.
You fight and learn to be respected by these 'normal' kids and even adults merely to escape this gross label of 'different' or-my least favorite word- 'special.'
You learn how others view you. You learn their definition of normal and not the false concept of 'normal' you believed in your naivety.
But with this, as you get older, you become your own worst critic.
You know what perfection is to those around you and you've fought so hard to be like the normal ones around you.
So, even when you make one human mistake that even the 'normal' ones often do. You take it personally and you take it hard.
Despite how hard you work and how successful you are, you always recall your roots. You recall that you are different and you will always have that drive to fit in, be respected, and be a part of the 'normal clan.'
For some reason you've placed this 'normal' group at such a high pedestal that you view them as perfect. Even worse, you equate 1 mistake to 1 mark against you, potentially kicking you out of the 'normal' clan.
Think about it, that's all it took to set you back in school.
If you failed one exam in a normal class, but everyone passed it with flying colors then you were 'setback.' You were quickly reminded that you were the different one that couldn't pass an exam that everyone found easy.
If you fail one thing as an older child or young adult with Apraxia, then you feel 'setback.'
It's silly, it's excessive, and its unnecessary. Trust me, rationally I understand how insane it sounds.
But it all feels too real when it happens.
It's simply because we forget one important thing and that is, these 'normal' kids that we idealized in our youth are not perfect nor are they perfect as adults.
Even the 'normal' adult professionals that mark your grades, your speech, and your physical coordination - they themselves are not perfect.
We are trained that the only way to escape our 'different' label is to appease these 'normal' individuals. To work twice as hard to pass, to over study, and to over-stress ourselves to merely qualify as a normal person.
Anxiety, panic, and perhaps other mental health issues are correlated with Apraxia. I don't need a research study to tell me that, I know it firsthand and I am fortunately comfortable discussing this because I know for a fact other young adults and older children fight this battle too.
I hope this post can help at least one parent out there understand their child's anxiety, panic, and stress, and mental health in general. I also hope this post helps someone out there realize that they are not alone in their quest to find stable, peaceful mental health.