Labels, I hate labels, why does most everyone feel the need to slap a label on everything and more importantly, everyone? I have problems, some bad wiring in the melon, but don’t label me. I have depression, OCD and ADD, but that’s not WHO I am, they’re only glitches in my genetic makeup (part of my charm and sassy wit)! That doesn’t mean you need to take away my shoestrings so that I don’t fashion some kind of makeshift garrote for myself. By the same token, this applies to others as well. I’ve been thinking about this recently because of someone very near and dear to my heart who has a few “glitches” as well, someone beautiful both inside and out, but isn’t necessarily classified as “normal”. This young man is off the charts intelligent, but just a little different from the average guy. He never spoke a word until he was 2 years old and then had to go through years of speech therapy. So depression, anxiety and ADHD only scrape the surface. I learned from a very wise lady doctor about labels years ago when my son was asthmatic and she said to me, “We’re going to try a different approach to his treatment because you don’t want him to be labeled as having asthma, it will affect the quality of his life because he’ll be limited as to what he’ll be allowed to participate in.” Meaning, when you’re labeled, you become pigeonholed and truer words have never been spoken. So he wasn’t “labeled” as having asthma and he subsequently actually outgrew it and went on to be on the high-school wrestling team. So now back to the other thing, this young man has all the indications of having high functioning autism, but I’ve refused to acknowledge it and have discouraged him from wandering too far down the path to have it legitimized because I DO NOT want that label placed on him. He’s smart and funny and lovable, and he has a tremendous future ahead of him, but the path is just going to be a little more crooked to get there and with a lot of love and support, he will get there! Already, being labeled as having ADHD (this was out of my hands) has affected him, he wanted to join the Marines at one time and they wouldn’t take him because of it, they said he had to be off of his meds for at least a year. Can you imagine the ramifications if he were Autistic? I don’t treat him any different, I expect great things of him and I’m quite confident that he’ll come through. I refuse to let him use his problems as any kind of an excuse not to try, or for anyone else to use it as an excuse to hold him back. Labels suck! The bottom line is that nobody’s perfect, even the ones that like to believe that they are. You! Yes you, guy with all the diplomas on the wall, with your twitchy eye and wrinkled suit, you’re not perfect either!