I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the way the world celebrates the trivial and glosses over real issues. From time to time, I’ll share a funny cartoon or video to my timeline on Facebook and receive amused response. I add a photo of me at the beach and get lots of likes and comments. But when it comes to a serious issue? Silence.
I posted the following on World Semicolon Day:
Enjoy the memes, and make a #worldsemicolonday post to share resources and raise awareness if you know (or are) someone with a mental illness. And with 1 in 4 people experiencing mental illness at some point in their lives, chances are that you DO know at least one person. #endthestigma#mentalhealthawareness#1in4
The post included the list of resources that can be found along the side of my blog as well, and a couple of images that I will include at the end.
Only a few very close friends even reacted to the post. I saw no one in my entire friend list go on to make a World Semicolon Day post of their own. And that’s their choice… but at the same time, I’ve seen a lot of these people willing to post over less significant stuff, like “Happy Pancake Day, guess I’ll have to make pancakes lol,” and I just don’t understand why something important and potentially life-saving doesn’t merit a few seconds of attention for a similar post.
The situation reads to me that most people don’t care that people all around them are struggling silently on a daily basis. And I realize that in general it is ignorance not callousness leading to this carelessness, but it still hurts. I’d like to challenge people on social media that if they can invest a few seconds in changing the filter on their profile for some disaster or another (a move which has little actual benefit to the people they are supporting) then they ought to be able to invest the same to share resources and encouragement for the many people all around them who are fighting illnesses the world shames and ignores.
Why is it the suffering who are left alone to fight the battle of supporting each other?
Today marks the one year anniversary of my release from the hospital. I’m incredibly torn. Part of me feels frustrated and let down that ever since I left the hospital, my family has put in their best effort to pretend none of it ever happened. They don’t seem to understand how significant the day is for me, or that I might want to be open about how I am feeling in my own home. Over the year as well, my folks have made hurtful and ignorant generalizations about mental illness not seeming to have gained any understanding from what I’ve been through.
On the other hand, part of me wants to celebrate. The day I left the hospital marked a brand new beginning where I was much more equipped to tackle life on my terms rather than on my illnesses’ terms. I went through hell and emerged on the other side victorious. Why shouldn’t I celebrate that?
I wish I lived in a world where I could celebrate out loud and not be judged or feared, ridiculed or looked down upon, scorned or invalidated. I want to shout to the cosmos that one year ago today, I got a fresh start on life. For now, I’ll settle for a few words on the internet on an obscure blog. Chances are that only those who understand will ever read this, and that’s okay. I don’t need the world’s permission to be proud of who I am and how far I’ve come.
A collection of stupid quotes by people spreading stigma against people with depression. Here’s to hoping that by posting these and declaring them to be ridiculous, these phrases lose a little bit of their power.
“Why do you listen to your therapist [about how to treat your depression] more than me?” ~someone who is no longer my friend (and perhaps never was)
“99% percent of people are taking antidepressants as substance abuse.” ~some idiot on Quora
“Your problem is you need to stop thinking so negatively!” ~yet another clueless person of the internet
“Why hasn’t [person with depression] apologized to me personally for being sick?” ~another person I won’t talk to after her treatment of one of my best friends who had depression
“Depression isn’t real.” ~a moronic “Big Brother” contestant on Twitter
What things that people have said to you about your mental health would you put in your “Hall of Shame”?
“As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” ~Proverbs 26:11
What is also sad is how many people in our everyday lives still think exactly what he said, people who don’t support our healing and recovery, who don’t understand and aren’t willing to learn. It’s honestly scary to realize how commonplace and accepted and normalized mental health discrimination is. I’ve met people who thought it was okay to harass, invalidate, isolate, and emotionally abuse others if they were mentally ill. This is NOT okay.
To those who don’t understand mental illness:
Don’t be like that guy. You can be part of the solution! When you find something you don’t understand, humility and willingness to listen and learn are a far better response than arrogance and ignorance. Especially when it comes to mental health–there is so much stigma already.