Skip to main content

mental health mondays :: just because they make you crazy doesn't make them crazy

i haven't touched on the subject of childhood mental disorders in any of the "mental health mondays" posts, largely because, while i'm perfectly happy to dole out inadequately researched information to adults, because, really, the worst thing that could happen is that they'll end up taking drugs they don't need and screwing up the rest of their life. i get a little uncomfortable when it comes to giving advice that could be taken by parents who will then end  up screwing up someone else's life, specifically the life of someone i'm counting on to repair the holes in the social safety net and to pay for me when i retire.

ok, i'm not actually that much of a monster. the real reason i don't address this is because i don't have kids, which makes me doubly unqualified to answer questions since, as i've tried to make clear, i'm not a trained professional and most people who know me don't take my opinions seriously on any topic, even ones i do [or should] know about. i'm arrogant enough to think that i can talk about adults treating their mental illnesses, but i stop short of telling you how to raise your kids.

well, sort of. many years ago i remember a classmate in juinior high school [grades 7-9, i can't be more specific than that] told me news that her cousin had been diagnosed with something called "attention deficit disorder" and that this diagnosis somehow made it ok for him to be a total shit-disturbing wacko at school. my classmate, a good, responsible student was disgusted that there was now a condition that gave people an excise for bad behaviour. i was all like "sign me up".

that was the first i'd ever heard of the condition and probably where i got off on the wrong foot with child psychiatry. it was as if no one in history had noticed that kids were horrible little bastards a lot of the time and had suddenly decided that they needed to come up with a mental disorder that encompassed children doing obnoxious, disruptive, selfish, stupid, normal children things, probably so that their parents could feel better about sometimes wanting to drown their little snowflakes in an unflushed toilet. their circumstances were hard. the doctor had assured them that their kid had a disorder. [which seems to be the psychiatric equivalent of saying "there's an app for that".]

since the days when i first heard the term "add", which then became "adhd" [i love their first few albums], diagnoses of the disorder have skyrocketed. but as skeptics have long posited, there is credible evidence available that kids haven't changed all that much. of course, that doesn't really do anything to disprove the arguments of those who say their children are batshiat insane. it does mitigate against those who would argue that environmental factors like the internet, videogames, television and busier scheduling are worsening the epidemic of childhood adhd.

personally, i think that there are precious few places a parent can turn to in order to evaluate when their child's behaviour has become really problematic. standards of what constitutes "normal" behaviour depend a lot on your circumstances and your family's cultural background. my mother and her sister used to think it was hilarious to get their cousin to come look for them in the barn on their property and then spray him with ddt when he came through the door. apparently, the whole spraying people with banned chemical insecticides thing, which now gets your ass hauled in front of the world court, was considered normal play time in rural nova scotia back in the day. [oh and i have it on good authority that the cousin turned out fine. although that authority is actually my mother and her sister, who, now that i think of it, would have good reason to stick to that story. they are also quick to point out that ddt was totally not banned at the time, much like thalidomide.] the point is, if you're a parent, it can be really hard to know where to draw the line.

if you really believe your child's behaviour is problematic and not just normal childish behaviour, i feel for you. those things look way worse than the time one of the cats accidentally ate a chocolate covered coffee bean and believe me, that was no fun at all. i'm not going to judge you if you choose to medicate your child on your doctor's advice, but as an untrained observer, i would say that it's probably worth your while to check out what adhd drugs are made of, because it's not nice. tom cruise might not be the most reliable source for... anything, but he wasn't entirely off the mark when he referred to ritalin and adderall as "street drugs". they're dangerous enough that getting a second opinion from a professional in the field [not just your paediatrician] is pretty much a necessity. some doctors are a lot better than others, but there are those whose inclination is to start by prescribing pills and then addressing the problem [or not addressing it]. that is exactly the kind of medical advice you could do without.

i know enough parents to know that having kids is beyond tough, even when it's rewarding. raising a child that has a mental disorder... i don't even think there are words for that. even grumpy old cynics like me are pulling for you, if only because we'll need your kids to pay for our social services when we get older. godspeed.

so that's it. this is probably the only time you'll see me talk about childhood mental disorders.

by the way, if there are any topics [non-child related] that you would like to see covered in mental health mondays, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

eat the cup 2018, part seven :: oh, lionheart

it all seemed so magical: england's fresh-faced youngsters marching all the way through to a semi-final for the first time since 1990. everywhere, the delirious chants of "it's coming home". and then, deep into added time, the sad realization: it's not coming home. oh england, my lionheart.

now, if we're being really strict about things, my scottish ancestors would probably disown me for supporting England, because those are the bastards who drove them off their land and sent them packing to this country that's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. and indeed, shops in scotland have sold through their entire stock of croatian jerseys, as the natives rallied behind england's opponents in the semi-final. however, a few generations before they were starved and hounded from the lands they'd occupied for centuries, my particular brand of scottish ancestors would have encouraged me to support england [assuming that national football had even…

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home…

friday favourites 20.07.12

i was almost going to skip it this week. not out of any disinterest, but i always feel weird posting something flip and cheeky on days when the news is choked with stories of some location filled with people going about their lives suddenly getting shot up by a lone maniac with some sort of personal gripe or agenda.

awful things happen every single day. people who lead otherwise normal lives are suddenly transformed through violence every single day. by the harsh standards of the world, what happened last night in aurora, colorado isn't even close to the worst. i'm sure families in syria would consider a day where ten people died to be better than average. but there is something about these completely random mass shootings in otherwise fairly peaceful places that haunts us all here in the western world. it happened today with aurora. it happened a year ago sunday in norway. it happened in another colorado town, now synonymous with the terror of such a massacre in 1999.

what h…