I have suffered from clinical depression since I was a teenager and have been medicated for most of the past 25 years. I was diagnosed with MS in 2008 and have had my ups and downs in dealing with the disease. Even with having a disease like MS, I have to say anxiety may be one of the worst debilitating feelings there is for a person. I am an extrovert and even though I do not experience anxiety directly, I do experience the pains and struggles because of it within our family unit.
My dear husband is an extreme introvert and only allows people in his space in small doses. In large crowds he ends up finding the corner furthest away from the action. Give him a guitar though and he will sit with the crowd, but his focus has shifted. He is quiet, until he is not and sometimes people think he is an ass for this very reason. He speaks not to hear himself, but when he has something to say. Some extroverts find this hard to deal with and are uncomfortable with quiet spaces.
Our youngest child has high functioning Autism, what was previously known as Asperger’s. She does not say much to adults and does not get the common niceties such as saying hello, shaking hands, or most normal acknowledgements people expect and thus can perceive her to be rude. She just doesn’t get the need. She also has never been much on affection and those of us that are huggers (me for one) have a hard time with this. She prefers her space and no one in her bubble, much like my dear husband, her father…. apples and trees, right? Her happy place is in her room with her electronics, gameplay and graphic making. She would prefer no one touch her things, mess up her bed or disturb her. If she lets you in her realm, she likes you or feels comfortable around you. If she had an inner circle, you would now be a part of said circle. Her online community is perfect for her because they are not in her space. This tends to be normal for folks on the Autism Spectrum. As they say, “introverts unite, in your own homes!”
“More often than not, being LGBT is not the only struggle being faced.”
Now onto the eldest child. The one that used to be the social butterfly, loved to be in groups and crowds, and has since (right before his transition) become a hermit. He no longer wants to be the center of attention. He is a teenager, isn’t that what they thrive on? His anxiety levels have gone through the roof and it’s not just about being a young trans man. He was always internalizing and seemed to let most things slide off his back. We realized that was the external “cover” and how seriously things affected him once we learned he had been self harming. The once easygoing child is a stressed out ball of nerves. Add a car wreck in there a year ago and this kid has PTSD along with heightened anxiety. Medication can only do so much and almost weekly therapy plays a big role in his daily survival. Fortunately we are able to provide the needed medications, therapist and doctor visits as well as building a supportive circle of friends and family. Far too often I hear of LGBT folks of all ages struggling with family rejection or being kicked out and disowned. They lack insurance to help with medical expenses and therapy. More often than not, being LGBT is not the only struggle being faced. Depression plagues those lacking familial support. The fears of these circumstances are detrimental to a healthy well-being, but the realities of what happens to these people too often is dangerous and unfortunately terminal.
My family has a mixed bag of diagnoses both medical and mental statuses but that does not change the fact that we are FAMILY. We love and support each other and no matter what the world throws our way, we will continue down this path. And if you happen break into our inner circle, you become “family” [friends that are family] and you might not be able to do anything to change that!