Thursday, May 29, 2014

Let's Show Some Compassion Regarding Mental Illness, Okay?

    I'm blogging! I'm blogging! I have internet and I can update you guys, and I will, very soon! But first, I have something on my mind and I'd like to share it with y'all:

    If you haven't heard, mental illness is kinda a stigma.
    In many religious circles, it's the result of a) not surrendering your whole life to God, or b) demon possession.
    In many secular circles, it's a weakness of your brain. Well, duh. Except it often means you're a burden, you're a danger - you aren't valuable to society.
    And so the insensitive, ignorant comments flow.
    Just read your Bible. I know God'll help you.
    He's got a screw lose.
    Depression is selfish.
    Look, I checked my clock twice! I have OCD (this is often followed by a laugh).
    Don't you know God says it's a sin to worry?
    [Religion, philosophy, anything I don't agree with] is a mental illness.
    Sounds like demon possession.
    I'm sure you've heard most, if not all of these. Can I be honest? I've said some of them, too, and thought more.
    I guess I could always understand why the idea of possession might be offensive, especially if you were speaking about someone who wasn't a believer. And the reality of trusting God is hard, so, yeah, I figured my sin nature made me offended by the idea that anxiety was a sin (except, Jesus was anxious in the Garden of Gethsemane, so what say you to that?).
    I do think sin is a real thing, but dismissing someone's illness as sin when you've not had a mental illness? That's not okay, because unless you are Jesus, you do not know them inside and out.
     Still, I never understood why the the OCD comment was offensive, until I had depression and anxiety. And although I don't suffer from OCD, I now know the sharp pain of a mental illness, and God forbid I use it as a joke anymore.
    Moreover, using mental illness as a put-down for a position you disagree with is ignorant at best; you-don't-want-me-to-say-it at worst. My depression and anxiety - illnesses that cause people TO SUFFER - do not make me suitable for your put downs.
    Because us mentally ill? We suffer every day. Every freaking day.
    You wouldn't put me down if I suffered from cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia or heart disease. Why is it okay for you to put me down because my brain had or has issues?
    In conclusion, let's compare the rates of mental illness to the rates of cancer: one in four adult Americans has a mental illness. One in four Americans will also die of cancer.We're here, we're common, and we are not freaks. We are not your jokes and we are not your put-downs.
    We're people.We're many people.
    Show some compassion, okay?


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