Tag Archives: teens

Guns and Children Should Never Be in the Same Sentence

16 Dec

As soon as I read about the CT shooting, I told myself I should hold myself back from commenting because although I love to start controversy, when it comes to guns and children, I happen to be very sensitive.

What changed my mind?  This article.

A story about a woman, Liza Long, who has a child with a mental illness who often threatens to kill her and himself.  One day he pulls a knife, the next day he threatens to jump out of  a moving car, and when she’s lucky, he only resorts to calling her a “stupid bitch”.

I try not to say anything on topics I don’t know much about. In this case, America’s gun policy. Which is why I am not writing about why guns are bad, or if we should be able to carry them because honestly I do not know. What I do know is that what we should be talking about is mental health. Especially the mental health of children and teens.

I have read too many comments about taking away guns and not enough about taking care of our children. And though I may not have children yet, I can only imagine what mothers like Liza Long are going through. How awful it must be to call the cops on your preteen son because you have no other option. How awful it must be to hear him say the words “I hate you” when you are just trying to help.

Adam Lanza (CT gunman) was only reported to have autism, which is not a mental health disorder, it is a neurodevelopmental  disorder – it could be that he felt some sort of prejudice because of his learning disabilities. But who knows? And now we’ll never know after his life was lost along with so many innocent children.

Now more than ever, with 1 in 88 being diagnosed, children with autism may face more prejudice and understanding than ever because of the CT shooting.

It is sad that it takes such a tragedy to realize the problems in this country.  And while I’m not sure if guns are the problem, I am positive there is more that we can do to help children and teens with mental illnesses.

You Are Better Than This

16 Feb

My childhood was not terrible, in plain English. I do not have any memories of being unhappy as a child therefore I cannot provide you with a sappy novella about how my parents abandoned me or how I ran away because they did not treat me right . It wasn’t until I hit the teenage years that it seemed like everything started to fall apart. Some people would blame it on puberty, but that wasn’t entirely the case. Now, at twenty years old, I can safely blame everything on my low self-esteem which COULD have been caused by my hormonal imbalance. It is true that there is no way to avoid this feeling of being lost when you’re a teenager, but there are better ways to deal with this feeling that I do not think everyone is aware of.

The problem I had is that there was no one around to tell me that I could do better for myself. For five years I was waking up every morning scared to get out of bed because there was always some kind of commotion going on outside of my room. I felt as if the only place I was safe was my bed because there my family could not involve me in their drama. Let it be said now that I was never physically abused, but sometimes I think I would have preferred that rather than all of the emotional abuse I went through. At least a punch would be over in a few seconds, the hurtful things that were said to me and the arguments just lasted forever. Even now some of the things that were said to me ring in my head over and over again. 
 
When a child is being bullied, it is easy to tell them to just ignore the bullies and move forward. But is it that easy when the bullies are the people that are supposed to be your guardians, your supporters, your family? Not really. For whatever reason whenever I was home I always had someone making me feel pathetic, useless. I was always in trouble and never knew why. I always heard “Why can’t you be more like…?”. No one ever told me I was good at anything so I figured I deserved to be treated like I was nothing. Unfortunately, when you are in this situation, the realization point, the time when you say to yourself “I am better than this”, doesn’t come to you until you hit rock bottom, or at least that is what happened to me. 

As upset and angry at life that I ever was, the thought of suicide never came to mind until that one night. I had witnessed two of my best friends take a turn for the worse because of drugs and depression so I felt like I had to be better than that to help them. I guess the majority of that time period in my life I was so focused on helping them, that I did not bother to look at myself and realize that I needed help too. If there is one thing that I learned from this is that you cannot change people no matter how much you want to or think that you can. If they need to change, they have to realize it on their own and then if they WANT to change, they will. Regardless, I wanted to be superwoman and when I realized that I couldn’t be, that made me feel like I had nothing to live for. Between that and all of the things I felt like I was not getting from my family, I lost all control. 
 
What I really wanted and needed was for people to appreciate me. I felt like I needed their approval. I constantly looked for ways to get others’ attention and for them to tell me “good job, Ashley!” or “I’m so proud of you!”. But I learned the hard way that you can’t  rely on others to make you feel good about yourself. You have to feel good about yourself before others can truly see how wonderful you are. I know that I am not the only person who has felt this way, and to those of you who can relate, this is my message to you. You ARE better than this.