You’re crazy! Oh My God, she is acting so bipolar! I can’t go shopping this afternoon, I am so depressed! Get over it. Take a chill pill! Don’t have a panic attack.
We hear these statements made almost daily. For some, they may seem harmless but to those of us who suffer from these diagnoses, it’s far from funny. It’s serious.
My chemical imbalance is not your bad mood. My battle with eating disorders is not you trying to lose 5 vanity pounds. Someone’s deep depression is not the same as you having a bad day or being sad because things didn’t go your way at the game tonight. My inability to see myself as I am in the mirror is definitely not the same as being slightly concerned with the way your ass looks in your jeans. Someone’s PPD is not the same as you being overwhelmed because you took on too many things. Somebody’s OCD is not the same as you wanting to wash your hands before meals. Being afraid to take a risk is not the same as being so terrified to be in a room with people that your heart races so fast that you are sure you are having a heart attack.
These are diseases and disorders that hold us hostage; they take away our free will to a degree. We have no choice. You have a choice. Why not start by choosing to be less insensitive and more conscious of what you are speaking of. We are not “crazy” we can’t just “get over it” and sometimes death is preferable to living because living is so fucking hard because not only do we have to deal with the disease, we have to deal with a society who doesn’t care to understand us and prefers to stigmatize us and label us less than. We are bent, not broken.
Everyone I know has a diagnosis of some sort. We are all damaged. I used to think that I was broken. I accepted it. I felt small and less than. I hid who I was for fear that I would be judged for what I have and what I am not. But I am not broken. I am bent. I refuse to break. I know my limitations.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we all educated ourselves and helped those in need of some compassion and understanding, instead of standing about and judging them? We are all bent, only some people are more obviously stretched and pushed than others. Don’t fool yourself. You are as damaged as the rest of us. Maybe it’s a physical limitation and not a mental one but no one’s perfect. Someone, somewhere has placed limitations on you or your potential and made you feel like a failure, made you feel weak, small and caged or out of control.
My worth is not measured by my madness. My worth is more because I function in spite of it. What comes easy to you, may take everything we have. We the many afflicted with some sort of mental health issue. For all of us who ever had to unwillingly or willingly take a stabilizer, antidepressant, antipsychotic, anti-anxiety, or even a sleeping pill just to function normally, you are not alone. There are more of us than you think.
Stand tall and carry on. You are bent, not broken.
Throat Punch to anyone who thinks otherwise.
May is Mental Health Awareness month. I wrote this post at the beginning of the month and it got buried in my drafts. This is very important. There needs to be more tolerance and understanding for our mentally ill. More compassion and assistance. Less stigma. Less labeling and discrimination. We are all more than our diagnoses. We are humans and we all deserve the same respect and civility. If we remove the stigma, more people can openly get help and live fuller lives.Too many people are going untreated because they are ashamed or embarrassed. Mental illness is misunderstood and will remain so until we speak up. You are not alone. We are all a little bent in our own way. We are not broken.