Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mental illness is not contagious, mental illness is not a choice, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

I recently came across Kim Hix's blog and I really appreciated her open and honest descriptions of her experiences being a parent of a child with a mental health diagnosis. Kim has approached parenting with a great amount of creativity, and I loved reading about the book she has written for her son called "No one is perfect, and you are a great kid". Doesn't that say it all? I am really pleased to have Kim as a guest blogger today. Thanks Kim!

Kim Hix 
I was asked to write a post so kindly by Emma and am more than honored that she asked. When deciding what to write about she suggested what I know, or what I am passionate about, so that was pretty easy. I am passionate about my kids, and especially bringing awareness to Mental Health issues in our children. More specifically to "Stomp Out Stigma" (see our cause on Facebook and join

I am passionate about this subject because my oldest child, Zack, now 15 was born with and has developed an array of mental/emotional illnesses. To date, he is diagnosed with IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder ) OCD, ADHD, Severe Anxiety and a strep infection brought about TourettesDisorder Spectrum (this is called PANDAS, Pediatric Autoimmune Disorder Associated with Strep), as well as 3 head traumas. 

So, with all of this, needless to say our lives are quite chaotic and uncertain most of the time. However, Zack is quite a loving, HUGE hearted, caring, smart, and talented boy. Life with a child such as mine is "Predictably Unpredictable" as parents who love a child with any kind of disability will know and be able to relate to. I have devoted my life, since his birth, to helping him to become the best person possible. I am also determined to help other families on this same journey realize the are NOT alone, and to help others that do not have intense children as I do, realize that inappropriate, bad behavior does NOT = a bad kid. So many people see only the behavior, usually exhibited when the child is unstable, as a child out of control, manipulative, mean, spoiled or attention seeking. In most cases this is not the true personality of the child. I want people to understand that some kids, as well as adults, simply can not control emotions, responses, reactions or behavior, not because they do not want to, but because their brain simply will not allow it. 

I can obviously go on about this subject for hours but will not do that here. I have started a blog to hopefully share our story with other families that are on the same journey we are, to let them know that their circumstances are NOT unique. Along with my site that offers some resources as well as the childrens book I wrote for and about Zack to help other kids like him who feel different.  If we, as a society, talk more about this then the stigma will eventually fade. If you would like to read our story please follow our blog here: from the site. And if you want to know what is, can find out about that too. 

Remember, you, as the parent, are your childs BEST advocate. The more you know, the better equiped you will be to help them and help others understand. I will leave you with this, our motto: Mental Illness is Not contagious, Mental Illness is NOT a choice, Knowledge is Power.

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