Over the years Tim has fought, sometimes physically, with his family and struggled to become who he wants to be. He's been diagnosed with everything from ADD, ADHD, PTSD, depression, to bipolar disorder. But he doesn't think any of those labels fit him. In fact, Tim's not sure he's mentally ill at all. And if he is, he's not sure he wants to know about it.
Here’s an excerpt from Tim’s Radio Rookies story:
I remember going to my first rock show, the Alkaline Trio, I was 12, a tall 12-year-old. I left there a mess. I had been hit in the face, my shirt was ripped. I was covered in sweat that wasn’t even mine—it was cool. I felt like I belonged there. That’s the kind of life I want. To be in a band and play shows where everyone has fun—but that’s not the kind of life I have. I tried having a band, but it didn’t work out. I wish I applied myself in school, but I don’t. Now I may not graduate. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a rough time. Or maybe it’s because I’m mentally ill. I don’t know what the problem is. The problem is… me.
Sometimes I think I’m just depressed. Since I was 6 I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, PTSD, ODD and suspected to have bipolar disorder and depression. Mental illnesses-- Got to catch them all! I was put on Welbutrin, Abilify, and Adderall—sometimes two at once. None of it worked, so eventually I stopped taking anything. Then at 12 my mom took me to a psych ward because I got out of hand with her and my brother in the car. She says that I took my drumsticks and banged them on the dashboard and then I started hitting my brother. “I couldn’t stop you, so I drove to St. Vincent’s. They kept you kicking and screaming, and you were cursing and blaming me. And then you went into the adolescent unit and you came home as a fire setter.”
Come on! She makes me out to be a criminal arsonist. Really, I remember just setting napkin on fire in the sink with the water on.
LISTEN TO TIM’S WHOLE STORY TO HEAR WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HE TALKS WITH A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST ABOUT HIS EARLY EXPERIENCES IN THE MENTAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.
If you would like to comment on Tim's story please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The songs in Tim's story are:
“Reinventing Axl Rose” by Against Me
“Just Stay” by Kevin Devine
“The Neighbordhood is Bleeding” by Manchester Orchestra
“Window Sill” by Arcade Fire
“The Sun” by Tigers Jaw