What’s on my mind? Hmmm….. maybe wishing that society would wake up and realize that mental health issues are real and are just like physical health issues. I get so sick of the stigma surrounding mental health. I have a chart that is 3 inches thick with observations, prescriptions, and other related notes. I have no problem with that. I have Bipolar Disorder, I have PTSD, I have panic attacks, I have days when I cannot leave my house. Has it limited my life? Yes, in some ways, but in others, it has caused me to take a good look at what is important to me, it has caused me to get help, and work on the issues that I have that prevent me from being truly and indestructibly happy.
Having Manic Depression has led me from one extreme to another, but that is okay as long as I learn from it. I have found a spiritual stronghold in Nichiren Buddhism because I have Manic Depression. I don’t view it as stigmatizing, I view it as a daily challenge to be overcome. People do not get all weird if you have a heart condition, so what the hell is it about mental health that everyone shies away from? You cannot be truly healthy unless you treat the body, the soul, and the mind.
If everyone in this country would take a look at the DSM (the manual used to diagnose mental illnesses) and realize that it is about 3 inches thick, that means there are a lot of people out there with mental issues. So what is the big deal? Get treatment, get better, get as well as you can, and just live your life. Don’t use it as an excuse to act out and harm others and/or yourself. Recognize that it is a facet of who you are, and treat it. Treat it with your body, your mind, and your soul. Find a good therapist that specializes in your illness, find a good psychiatrist for medication if necessary, and by all means, find a spiritual path that will ground you and balance you. And if you do not have access to private care, apply for public assistance. Help is out there, you just have to seek it out sometimes. It sure as hell isn’t going to come to you because people want to believe in a Utopian society where everything is just so. Don’t rock the boat, maintain the status quo, and above all, do not be mentally different (insert sarcasm here).
I just get so frustrated with society’s reaction to mental health, because I just do not get it. A person is not defined by their mental or physical health, they are defined by how they treat others, how they respect other people, and by their compassion for others. People do not say, “I am diabetes,” they say “I have diabetes,” or whatever it is. I am not defined by Manic Depression. It is one facet of who I am,yes, but it is not all that I am. Not by a long shot.
So, people, it is time that the stigma associated with mental illness stops. It prevents people from getting treatment, it prevents proper diagnoses, it prevents them from living as normally as they are able.
Sorry for the tirade, but the reports are coming in that the man who is responsible for the atrocious acts of yesterday morning possibly “has” a personality disorder. Of course it would have to be a mental health issue because no “sane” person would have done that. And, that is probably true, but the first thing they talk about is mental status. And, all that does is continue the stigma which prevents people from seeking treatment because they do not want to be labeled as crazy. I have a 3 inch chart that proves I am nuts. I do not care. I have been weird since birth.
So, I and many others are “different,” big deal. As long as you can see how your behavior affects those around you, and those who care about you, and learn from trying to put yourself in the role of the “other,” what is the problem with being a bit off? Just do NOT use it as an excuse. View it for what it is, and that is a challenge to be the best strange person you can be. People, even mentally ill people, are worthy of respect, compassion, and the right to be treated humanely.