"Just a minute Hannah!", my mother yelled. I sat outside locked out of our house on 3 big bulky concrete steps tracing the stones with my finger in the scorching North Carolina heat. A typical 5-year-old may have wandered off or thrown a temper tantrum, but I sat in the same spot completely content with nothing but the thoughts in my head and a lime green sippy cup. Eventually, by nightfall 4-5 hours later my mom realized she forgot me and opened the door so apologetically and sincerely said, "why didn't you call for me again?! I can't believe you were able to sit there the whole time alone without calling for me."
Soon enough, my mother learned to realize that is just my personality type. I am able to entertain myself for hours on end with nothing but the thoughts in my head. From a young age, I was pinned as very laid back and easy going. The older I got the more it came across as lazy and a lack of motivation.
The next thing I knew I was tested for mental illnesses. After a few hours and a couple test, the psychologist jotted down inattentive ADD, memory loss, and a few other things. The catch here is - I strongly believe that nothing should have been written down in the first place.
I was put on medication that made me feel less like myself than I ever felt my whole life. And not just one kind of medication, I tried 4 different kinds of drugs to help increase my energy level and attention span. They made me feel depressed, I stopped eating, and I was not doing any better in school. I made the decision on my own after a couple of trial months to quit the drugs and shockingly (gasp!) - I think I am going to make it out just fine.
So often growing up in high school and even college, it almost seemed like my friends wore their mental illnesses like a badge of honor. If I had a friend that was very organized, they would claim to have OCD. If I had a friend who would stress out about typical college kid struggles, they would claim to have anxiety. If I had a friend who was energetic, they would claim to have ADHD, or if I had a friend who was forgetful, they would claim to have memory loss.
The worse part was that a lot of these "claims" were followed with diagnosed and prescribed drugs that modified their personality's, and who they truly were as an individual.
I have nothing against people who have diagnosed mental illnesses, and I do believe that a lot of people do need medication based on how severe their specific case is. However, I feel that it is more important to embrace your personality traits and learn to love who you are.
The good, the bad, and everything that comes with that beautiful one in a million mind of yours deserves to be accepted for being genuinely yourself.
Your mind is more powerful than a diagnosis written down on a piece of paper, and I do not think that we should take medication for who we are, but instead, learn to cope with the challenges that life- and our own minds throw at us.
But hey, that's just my opinion. 😜