That’s my kid, on Fox News Milwaukee, kicking off NAMIWalks for team BringChange2Mind with Green Bay Packer Greg Jennings and his wife Nicole. It was an amazing day for all of us. Tim got out, shook hands with people, walked three miles, chatted with one of his sports heros, asked for autographs and pictures, and when it was all over back in the car, I was reminded once again of how this illness can tear us up.
“Did I behave today, Mom?” he asked.
I told him – he did wonderful – he was so grown up and polite to everyone, and did a great job walking. I told him how proud I was of him. I told him that he did a great job of using his coping skills, telling us when he was getting overwhelmed, rather than “spacing out” or getting agitated. I told him, when he has a hard time controlling his symptoms, he’s not misbehaving.
I had to remind him – after all that – that he is not a bad kid. That having a mental illness doesn’t make him bad. Even while wearing the shirt of an organization working to end the stigma of mental illness, my kid stigmatizes himself. We’ve got a long, long way to go.