My note to a friend's niece who, challenged with special needs, is practicing growing up:
So true! Clueless I had any type of mental illness as a young child; by the time I got there, junior high was bad, but high school was horrible. Unfortunate work related event (attempted armed robbery; twice, two Sundays in a row) shattered my community college experience (could no longer leave my house), my mom and I decided it was time for a change. We moved out of the Los Angeles area to a small CA desert community. Although, it had always been a favorite place to visit during spring and winter school breaks, I found that wasn't for me and prepared to fly (or Greyhound) my way back to Los Angeles (to live w/ aunt while I worked and took business classes). That's when it finally felt like I could manage my life (I had every minute of my day planned out on a 3x5 index card). It was great. I did move here and there afterward; at 21 ended up in the place I dreamed of living as a little kid, Orange County, CA, made even better because my best friend from age 7 was my roommate. I loved it. It got better. I fell IN LOVE... healed from break-up *REPEAT OVER AND OVER* I dated; went dancing almost every weekend (bartenders had a love/hate thing for us; all we drank was water, but we were cute and charming as hell and they loved watching us dance to our hearts content). I made things better (and sometimes messed up big-time). With friends and family's support, it got way better. Nobody told me it would. Love those early 20's memories; they bring me joy even now. I didn't find out about depression & bipolar disorder until after I got married (PTSD was diagnosed first though). It gets better. Enjoy your adventures, KG. Someday you'll be letting us know all about them.
P.S. I'm so glad you have such amazing support and overdose of love from your family; love that they will always remind you they are there for you - and how great they are. Keep taking good care of yourself; don't forget to ask for help when you need it. ~ L.C.