Saturday, October 10, 2015

World Mental Health Day (i.e., An Extemely Long Depressing Post I Hope Someone Actually Reads)

Hello! #WorldMentalHealthDay has been trending on Twitter I would say....most of the day? As someone that has been diagnosed with many mental illnesses/disorders in my life, I just wanted to respond to some of the things people are saying.

Though this post is mostly ranting.....

First all of, I've been "emotional" and had "anger issues" all my life. It seems like people like to bring these things up quite often. Like how I lashed out in class every other day, or how I'd start crying for no reason.

People have been telling me that my mind is messed up, that I need help, that there's something wrong with me, for most of my childhood.

I don't have anger issues anymore! Guess what I have now? Depression. Self-hatred. Etc.

My point of this is, is that telling someone that they have something wrong with their head is just going to make matters worse. What kind of child/teenager/human wants to hear that they have something wrong with their HEAD?

Then I saw this tweet: "Your mental illness is a flaw in chemistry, not your character. End the stigmas."

Obviously, this sounds good to the majority of people. But me? I think you just said there's a flaw in my chemistry. Like that makes me feel better.

What I wish I'd been seeing more, is people saying HOW you should treat people with mental illness.

Well first of all, you should stop telling them there's something wrong with them. Or that they should get better. It's like saying they aren't good enough WITH their illness.

Second, try to find out what there triggers are. Many people have them, but people with mental illnesses (It's NOT just PTSD) tend to react a bit....worse. Panic attacks and whatever. Just be cautious about it, it might upset them, but it's most likely better than not being aware, and then bringing it up.

Third, don't pity them. At least in my experience, people feeling sorry for me just makes me angry. Telling someone that they can get through it isn't necessarily going to help. Even if you tell me, "Well I got through it, you can too!". To me that sounds like, "I got through the exact same thing you're going through! Why haven't you gotten over it yet?"

Fourth, stop reminding them about it. Stop telling them about that time they starting crying at the mall, or had a anxiety attack during their presentation. Reminding them is NOT helping. If anything, treat them like a normal person. Stop acting like they're special.

Fifth, medication. Whether you're telling someone they should, or that they shouldn't, you should probably stop. Some people feel better with medication. Personally, I feel horrible most of the time when I take it. I can't deal with the side-effects, honestly.

Sixth, don't treat them like they're special. Don't exempt them from assignments, or tell them that they can have extra time. I've had a lot of teachers pull strings for me solely because I have a piece of paper that has some words on it, telling them all the things that are wrong with me. For the last few years, I've taken advantage of it, but it's done more bad for me than good. Just because I have a few mental illnesses doesn't mean I can't do the work like everyone else.

And finally, stop treated these illnesses like there not real. Like you can just get over them. Actually, this is probably the BEST thing I've seen going through this hashtag. Don't say you have OCD because you think it's cool, don't say you have anxiety disorder because you're anxious about a test you have tomorrow, and don't say you have depression just because you're having a bad day.

Many people think that we need to have more books that talk about mental illness in YA, that we should make sure people don't think that they're crazy or whatever. Then they say that there needs to be books that have characters WITH mental illness, without having the book be ABOUT mental illness.

What would I do during a dystopian-type war? Probably cry constantly for a few days over all the death, and then go out and purposely get myself killed. I would NOT be able to be a hero. I would just hate the world more than I already do....I would stop seeing the point. It would be so easy to die. So I would try to.

I would be too scared to hold a gun. I wouldn't be able to lead an army for fear of making a mistake. For fear of looking stupid. And then I would cry some more, and get shot through the head!

Sure, it's not like these illnesses completely define my life, but at the same time, they do. It's something that I'm constantly thinking about. You can't just STOP thinking about something people are constantly bringing up....

It also seems to me that many people with a mental illness have toxic friends, or ARE that toxic friend. For the people out there struggling with a mental illness, let me just tell you that having these types of friends are only going to make you feel worse. It is NOT your job to fix them. You do not have to go through the pain of having that kind of friend. There is a thin line between helping someone and ruining your own life.

But also remember that your illness is not all of who you are. Even if it's hard, try to continue doing the things you like to do. Get a hobby, have some fun, and don't let this define your life. Because it doesn't.

SO. That was long and extremely depressing, but I'm hoping you learned something about mental illnesses, or at least a little about me. If you have anything to add (or unfortunately something you disagree with...), please leave me a comment down below. I am happy to discuss!

Thanks for reading!

PS: A lot of the things I said in this post apply to specific illnesses, and not mental illness as a whole. Also, a lot of these same things can be said about being LBGTQ+. Some of them were general, but I still felt like they are important to say!

PSS: I'm just going to post this without editing it because it's really long. And I want to get it posted TODAY! So sorry about any grammatical/spelling/word errors.

PSS: Keep in mind that this is just from MY experience, and that doesn't mean everybody's is the same way! Please don't assume that just because one person said it means it applies to everyone....

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post, Skye! I agree with a lot of things you said, and although I, personally, can't identify with you, I get what you're trying to say.

    I have to SLIGHTLY disagree with you on the YA books with mental illness that aren't ABOUT mental illness. I think that we totally should have books like that, but all the authors need to do is research. Obviously, someone who suffers from anxiety attacks can't lead an army into war, but someone with schizophrenia could totally feature in a book that isn't ABOUT the schizophrenia. It's like that TV show, Perception? The main character is schizophrenic and has hallucinations, but the show is about solving mysteries, NOT all about the mental illness.

    I do think research is critical, though. If the illness is not portrayed correctly, it'll seem offensive to a LOT of people, but that doesn't mean that we can't have YA characters with a mental illness in a book that doesn't focus on the illness alone.

    And don't worry, your post isn't too depressing! (I've seen worse, believe me)