Today I am feeling a bit low, and I want to vent my frustration. I have a close friend who is 21 years old, and I feel like he has been failed by so many people in his young life. Like myself, he is neuro-diverse (though diagnosed with ADHD not autism) and I feel that most of the mental health issues he is experiencing now as a young adult stem directly from people within the education sector not understanding him, not catering for him, not caring about him and from a very young age labeling him as naughty, a smart-ass, stupid and worthless.
You see with people like him and I, people generally tend to be put off by the differences. They don’t time to think about ‘why this interesting creature behaves the way they do’. This young man is full of bravado, bullshit and is constantly going at a million miles an hour. It’s all a front though. He puts on this exterior to appear cool, and so people won’t discover some of the things he finds challenging, or realise that he is a bit different. An example of this was when he was 15 years old and he would intentionally do things that he knew would get him kicked out of class or suspended (in some cases expelled). He is smart and can read situations very well and these antics were very intentional, so nobody would find out that he couldn’t read. Not one teacher picked up on this in 10 years of education because it’s easier to believe that he is just a ‘shit kid’ and exclude him from the class…….over…..and over…..and over again.
He’s not a ‘shit kid’, he’s one of the most brilliant people I know. He is exceptionally intelligent, he is funny, honest, forthright, extraordinarily sensitive, loyal and has one of the strongest senses of social justice that I have ever encountered. As a kid, even when he was being oppositional, you could see that below the bluster there was an amazing person with bucketloads of potential……you just needed to dig a bit. But now after living on this earth for 21 years and consistently being made feel to believe that he is stupid, unlovable, naughty, bad, a pain in the ass, worthless, useless….etc…….well now he wholeheartedly believes this to be his truth. It breaks my heart. I feel that nothing I say to him is making a dent. He has some amazing family members in his life too, and I suspect nothing they say dents either.
I hope that he is able to come out of the mindset that he is currently in because I think there are so many amazing experiences ahead of him. But I feel so frustrated because I know in my heart that if people had taken the time to look below the surface, and really get to know him…….maybe he wouldn’t be in the place he is right now.
Back to happy programming later.