It’s only recently that I’ve been able to carefully type out the words mentally ill in relation to myself.
Sure, I can write about, talk about, educate about it, but all for scientific purposes. When it comes to myself? I haven’t uttered the words. To let them slip past my tongue only to hang in there as they are processed and stigma sets in. They become stale there, hanging in front of my face. You get the sympathetic pitying glances or the well meant declaration of, “Yeah, I’m sad a lot too”.
I tend to use my diagnoses to hide behind. When you give them something they don’t fully understand they can brush it off. Generalized anxiety disorder? I think I’ve heard of that. Borderline personality disorder, there’s a pill for that right? But when you label yourself as mentally ill there isn’t a person alive who couldn’t conjure up images of drooling patients shuffling along a psych ward somewhere hidden away. They no longer shackle us psychically, believing we’re possessed by the devil for our strange thoughts. They shackle us emotionally, they shackle us socially.