Mike

I would like to tell you about Mike.  Mike was kind of a buddy of mine my senior year of high school.  Mike sat with me and my friends in church, sat with me at youth group and hung with me at activities.  I I wasn’t around, Mike spent time with my parents.

Now Mike wasn’t always the cleanest fellow. and he drooled a little.  He was not well spoken–as a matter of fact, sometimes even I didn’t know what he was saying.   Oh, and Mike was never very good with social conventions, sometimes being crude and inappropriate.  Mike was not at all good looking, short, thick, with thick glasses and greasy black hair.

But no one really minded much.  Mike was born with Down syndrome.  He had the typical eye shape, short stature, thick hands and fingers.  He was kind and affectionate, a bit slow witted.  We all knew that although Mike was about 26 or so, we could not expect him to act too much older than 8 or 10.

Yeah, Mike had his issues, and they were very apparent.  Even in the church and philosophy I grew up in, people accepted the fact that Mike’s brain had not developed normally, and that would affect his understanding and behavior.

I don’t understand, though, why the same people cannot accept a medical diagnosis of clinical depression or ADHD.  I was taught that those were moral or spiritual problems, solvable with prayer and discipline.  I was taught that they were not real conditions, just the result of poor parenting or being self centered.

Down Syndrome is a big deal.  Not only are the person’s mental abilities affected, Down’s  brings with it a host of physical issues–and often a short life.  Depression can also be physically debilitating causing physical pain;  ADHD can lead to insomnia, among other physical issues.

The point is, that a person should not have to have a “big” brain disorder to justify seeking help from a doctor.  Racing thoughts and a short attention span are not a moral failing;  they are indications of a brain wired a little differently.  Long periods of melancholy are not necessarily a “bad attitude”.  There are people that need help, and sometimes that help needs to come from a pharmacy.

I’m sure Mike would have taken something.