I think I was about 7 years old when I got into the biggest fight of my life over a pair of shorts. My mom was a crafty little thing and was always making us new clothes. Skirts were easy. I’d wear a skirt with no argument or fuss. When it came to pants and shorts, forget it.
It was a beautiful summer day and we were all going to be outside, all day, in the yard, doing whatever Dad needed us to do. This included staying out of the way when asked. I had one of my favorite skirts on and it tore. Mom told me to go change into the new shorts she made for me. Heck no! That wasn’t happening in my book, but at 7 the world is much bigger and most people are, too. That included my very petite mother, which wrangled me into the shorts, but not without a good threat of a spanking from Dad, of course.
My mother always said I was very stubborn, but maybe it was something different. I cried for hours. Nope, I’m not exaggerating. It really took me 2-3 hours to stop throwing a fit over these colorful alphabet shorts. Now, looking back, they were actually kind of cute, and should be completely appreciated for each little stitch that my mom created. Somewhere deep inside my conscience there was this anger, frustration, and chaos that wouldn’t let go of the fact that I HAD to wear these shorts.
Was it just to defy my parents? Maybe. Was it because a REALLY TRULY hated shorts at this point in my life? Also a maybe, but to me, I need to understand it in a different way.
My parents were and are fantastic people. They loved and cared for us whenever, wherever we needed. I wouldn’t change a single thing they did for us. But I feel it would have been easier for all of us, including my sisters, if we have had better knowledge of the signs to look for with a mental disorder.
I’ve heard some people say that a mental disorder is all in their head. You’re right! It has everything to do with the mind. How we process thought, how we react to situations, etc. Everything that has to do with thinking is in our heads. The difference is our heads or minds don’t operate the same way as others. This is where the word “different” comes into play. Being different isn’t about looks, past, plans, or anything else. It just simply is. This doesn’t make us better or worse, wrong or right, just different.
It’s almost as if we have an alternative category of personality. We stand alone. Feelings overwhelm us for longer periods of time. Feelings jump into our priority bin before we can even think or react. Think of that switch that goes off when someone tells you bad news of a friend passing. First you pause and realize what they are saying, then you begin allowing the emotion of sadness to take over and begin crying. For us it is much more intense. We don’t pause. There is no realizing point. The sadness will take over everything and anything else going on. Then the dwelling begins. We just can’t get over how sad or upset we are about missing this person.
It also happens to some of us with positive events. If we get a lot of money all at once it means an instant high! We spend until its gone! It feels amazing! We get a new big toy or get to stock up on what we need, but then we don’t stop. The spending habits continue until the money is gone, and for some of us we won’t stop! We’re too on top of the world! We find ways to spend more, credit cards, loans, etc.
Either direction is instant and feels uncontrollable. This is what happened with the alphabet shorts. I was stuck and my parents couldn’t help me. My sisters thought I was broken. I was alone in my emotions and they wouldn’t go away. This is just one example of where us “different” people come from, but stay tuned! This is just the beginning.