Personal Experiences

My Own Mental Health Battle

Ever since I was little I knew there was something wrong with my sibling.

One day while driving I remember telling my mom over and over that something was wrong, he shouldn’t be behaving like he was and treating me how he was. “He has problems” she said.

Well that doesn’t do much now does it.

At the time I had not even the slightest clue that he was autistic. All I knew was that I was being treated like absolute sh*t and my mother didn’t do anything. She always sided and defended him, but what about me? Was I not important?

Yes I know that autistic people and children need more attention and care, but if you have another child or want more kids who end up not being on the spectrum please make sure they get love and attention too. Don’t let them think that the world is against them. That was and still is a revolving thought in my head.

Ever since I was little when I did something my mom would consider wrong or bad, she made sure my brother knew so he could have a say because of course he needs one. He was like the devil on her shoulder telling her what she should do for my “bad behavior.” Not once considering the fact that her daughter might be struggling too. Parents seem to forget in the midst of things that everyone is going through a battle, mentally or physically.

So many parents forget that the sibling without autism could be struggling with their own mental battle, and are lashing out because of it. I know not all people will lash out due to health issues but I felt as if I couldn’t speak my mind without the fear of getting yelled at. I struggled so much just trying to live and talk because my sibling was always influencing my mom. No matter what I always felt like I would never be good enough and that she always cared more about him.

She always made sure that he knew he was handsome, and smart, and a good kid. But what about me? Surely I didn’t receive any of these compliments until after she was done telling him what a wonderful person he was.

I have never felt true motherly love. My mom always makes sure either her, or my brother are taken care of and that their feelings matter before anyone else’s let alone mine. 2 particular events come to mind where my feelings were irrelevant to her.

The first one took place in a public craft store. We were already having family issues with other things in the home so it didn’t help. My best friend was throwing a birthday party that weekend and I asked my mom if I could go. She said we will see, which basically means don’t do anything to screw up her attitude or piss her off.

My mom has always used anything and everything she can against me so I can’t go out with friends. She literally banned me from going out to dinner at restaurants because of my so called attitude. Who does that? Who takes away social interaction from a kid?

“Is there a reason why you won’t let me go? I made one comment that wasn’t offensive.” I said to her. She didn’t say anything. As I choked back words and tears prepared to stand up I said to her “You’re really gonna take away a party from an already depressed teenager?”

“Your not depressed” she said.

*Side Note: Nobody knows how much someone is hurting inside. Everyone is fighting their own battles everyday. Be courtesy to one other especially younger people for they are struggling more then you think.

I lost it. Tears were streaming down my face. “At [my age] I should not have a list of reasons to kill my self or to live.” She pulled me into her with one arm while I cried so no one would hear. Her grip was tough and showed no emotion or sympathy. “Okay we will get you put on medication” she said. Medication only does so much. You can not heal in the same environment that hurt(s) you. Yes therapy and medication will help but she also needed to realize that her, my parents divorce, my brother being a little devil on her shoulder were all reasons why I was so depressed. Reasons why I feel like I am ugly, fat, and alone.

One morning she asked me to do something very simple while I was getting ready for class. “You can do it to I said”. “THAT’S IT YOU ARE NO GOING TO HER PARTY. NOT HAPPENING. I DON’T LIKE YOUR ATTITUDE.” Those were the words I heard yelled at me for not doing something she could have done. I immediately said why? I had done nothing wrong. This is one experience that taught me to be quiet about anything and everything. Now my mom never grounded me, she only takes away what I care about.

The rest of the morning was silent. I said not one word to her. How could she do this to me? If she really cared she would let me go to the party. This girl was my best friend. We talked day and night and she knew that.

Taking away social interaction from a teenager who already has had a pretty rough go at things doesn’t help. Now look, I don’t drink, smoke, or sneak out. I read and do my homework and chores like any normal teenager. Only a normal teenager who’s mom looks at the bad in everything she does.

Many parents fail to pay attention to the mental health of siblings to an autistic person. They focus so much on the parents and the kids that all care for the other child is forgotten except the obvious, clothes and food. Oh and a roof too.

It’s important that people pay attention to siblings who have an autistic brother or sister because not all of us can survive alone with no resources. I struggled so much in finding resources for people like me and when I did my mom refused to let me go to them. She has always given me a hard time about my mental health and I beg you to pay attention to your’s but also to your children’s. If you want kids that means valuing them and their mental health.

There needs to be more help and places available for teenagers with mental health struggles. Without the help we are left to suffer on our own with the dark thoughts or worry. I have seen therapist after therapist who didn’t do anything. People need to be more educated on mental health in teenagers and what do when they ask for help instead of just saying “oh we’ll put you on medication.” It’s not that simple.

Mental health took away my childhood and who I am and was supposed to be. In relation to having an autistic sibling I always felt like I would never be loved the same as him and he and my mothers feelings were always above mine and always would be.

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