This story is a guest post from a YLB reader who wanted to share their personal health story.  Their story entails their struggle with childhood mental illness and how to overcome it.  There’s more to health than fitness and nutrition and mental health should be considered as an integral part of our health as well.  Want to submit your own healthy story?  Contact us.  Your story could help inspire me or someone else.  

About the author:  Alice is a lifelong sufferer of mental illness.  She currently dedicates her time raising awareness about mental health issues in children.  This is her story.  

My Struggle with Childhood Mental Illness:

Recognizing the warning signs of mental illness in children is a skill we must all possess. I know more than most how much of a struggle it can be. When adults confuse your illness with bad behavior, the more isolated you become and the longer you go untreated. I remember feeling very frustrated and very alone for most of my childhood, why did I keep getting shouted at, why did nobody understand how I was feeling?

Between the ages of 5 and 16, 1 in 10 children suffer from a mental health disorder, which is the equivalent of 3 children per classroom. Despite these eye opening figures, so many people slip through the cracks and remain unnoticed and misunderstood. As a person who suffered from childhood mental illness (and who is still struggling to this day), I feel that it is my duty to make people aware of the warning signs…

Behavioral Changes and Difficulty Concentrating:

Everybody knows that children push the boundaries and act out to see what they can get away with, that’s expected. But have you ever experienced a child so deeply frustrated, aggressive or broken that they cannot seem to shake a mood or express happiness? When I was a child, it felt as though I was walking around with a rain cloud above my head. At school, I was labelled as a naughty child and at home my parents didn’t know how to cope with my behavior. Thinking back to those times, I really wish that I was understood and that I understood what was going on in my head.

Some of the biggest warning signs for a mental illness are frequently fighting and aggression, loss of concentration, and drastic mood swings. If a child you know, love or care for suddenly changes their behavior, seems unhappy, agitated or frustrated, then this could be a big red flag for them having a mental illness. Remember to remain patient, be understanding and allow them to come to terms with their behavior and actions. I the behavior becomes worse and continues for weeks, then seek a consultation with a specialist.

My Turning Point:

For myself, my turning point was during my later teenage years, when I come into contact with a counselor who explained and allowed me to come to terms with my illness. I frequently attend therapy and take medication, which has allowed me to be at peace with myself and my mind. I truly wish that I could have been understood as a child, through the depression, through the mood swings, through the dark times, which is why I am dedicating myself to raising awareness and helping people to recognize the signs within children. I work as an advocate for Lorimer Fostering to spread the word and to make sure that no child falls through the cracks or goes without recognition during their darkest times.

Recognize the Signs:

Whether you’re a parent, guardian or friend, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and make sure that you act upon them. Don’t ignore the red flags and shrug off the behavior changes. Mental illness within children is an issue that we must all tackle, to ensure that they live a happy and healthy life.

Reminder: This is a story from one of your fellow readers. Please be respectful!. It can be a bit nerve-wrecking to put your story out for others to read for the first time. Keep in mind that this guest isn’t a professional writer; just a person with a passion for healthy living like you. Negative comments on reader stories will be removed.