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.

 

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5 Comments

February 26, 2014 · 10:15 am

5 responses to “

  1. I have a really hard time acknowledging within the context of my ‘actual’ life that I am mentally ill. Sure, I have a hard time and don’t always think about things well, but wait?… that means I’m not up to par emotionally or socially? I knew my illness had an impact on me, but it is very difficult to think about or accept that it impacts everything in my life. I just want to tuck it away in a little box and make that box smaller and smaller until it is gone. Sadly, I don’t think that is how therapy works for this.

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    • I stand up at 50 years old for the same reason. We know our illness is no different than another with no cure. It’s time the public and our government get past the Bates Motel way of thinking. Standing up together can make us stronger. Thanks for your blog.

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  2. The stigma around mental illness sucks, and even though it’s scary, we’re helping change that by coming out and talking about it. They’ll still see you for who you are, and we can banish those images of asylums and ineptitude.

    Also, I hate the whole “Yeah, I’ve been sad too” responses. Since my diagnosis changed to bipolar and I’ve started talking about mania symptoms, people around me are skeptical, saying “Yeah, but I’m sensitive to sounds too” or “Yeah, I have a lot of energy sometimes too.” Why do people feel the need to minimize our symptoms by comparing them to every day experiences? Frustrating. I think that’s what led to me being called an attention whore in high school. I felt like I had to exaggerate my experiences in order for people to understand what I was going through.

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