by: Eric Kussin

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22 March 2018

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What World Down Syndrome Day Taught Me About Mental Health

Before this whole PTSD crash I didn’t spend much time on social media.  Now using it from an advocacy perspective, you come across ideas & events you never knew existed. This particular one I’m really happy I discovered: we just celebrated World Down Syndrome Day, 3/21.

 

Going thru PTSD & certain therapies, there are def pieces of your memory you lose touch w, or at least can’t see as vividly as your reflect. That said, one thing I can remember clear as day from childhood, was how upset I’d get when I’d see a person w Down Syndrome. I guess in the innocent mind of a child I saw it like this – regardless of their demeanor (smiling like this adorable girl, or upset at any number of things), I thought to how difficult & unfair it must be to have a “condition” where everywhere you go, everyone knows you’re different than mostly everyone else. Bc as a child I could recognize an individual w Down Syndrome based on physical features, it pained me that being in their shoes, they were likely treated unfairly, stared at, talked abt, questioned, maybe even picked on. And for what? Bc their chromosome count was different than “normal”?

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Then I got older, & my sensitivities for those w Down Syndrome didn’t lessen any. However, as I learned more abt mental health, it opened my eyes to the fact that ppl who “look” or “act” differently than what is considered “normal” (maybe not to the same extent) but deal w looks & comments & unfair categorizations just like those w Down Syndrome I’d get so emotional over.

 

Lot of rambling but what’s the point of all of this? First off – kudos that we have a day to acknowledge learning more, & even celebrating those special (meant in a positive way) individuals w Down Syndrome.  Second, imagine if we each made one less comment a month abt the physical appearance of another person…or impressed upon our kids to do the same? The cumulative effect of less negativity, more openness, & yes – greater mental health for those physically “different” than the “norm” would be tremendously positive. Wouldn’t it be great to see more smiles like the one on this cute girl?

 

#SameHere🤙 #downsyndrome #bekind #dontjudge #wearealldifferent #butthesame

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