Saturday, May 25, 2013

What It Means To Me

Yesterday was horrible. It started out pretty good until the hospital called to remind me about my outpatient surgery on Wednesday. That call threw me into a tailspin of anxiety and I was doing my best to not have a panic attack. Thankfully I had a nice long conversation with a friend that calmed me down. Well, at least till the phone call ended, anyway. Then I opened my email to see that Google+ doesn't like my name. Apparently Neurotic was tagged as not a real last name. They wanted me to change it or prove that many people know be by this name. I sent them all that I could website wise and I truly hope that it is enough to keep my name.
Kind of a weird post but since there is no text box allowing you to tell them why you want to use the name you have chosen I thought I would write a post about it in letter form. Not that I believe they will read it but more for a personal closure.

Dear Google+,

I understand that the name Nelly Neurotic was tagged as a name that you don't feel is my true name. The truth is it is. Nelly Neurotic is a part of me. A very important part of me that has stayed in the shadows all of my life. I have struggled with mental illness since childhood. This has cost me jobs, friends, relationships, education, and activities that I might have been able to participate in if my mental illness had not gotten in the way. Through blogger I was able to make my voice, which has always been silenced, heard. I found a community and net work of people that are just like me. I joined google + because it was an option for my blogs to be more easily accessed and I fell in love with it. I have found many friends and many acquaintances that have helped me grow not only as a person but a person with mental illness. I have been in terrific communities and even developed the courage to make one of my own.
Mental illness is a very hard thing to discuss with the general public. Many have false preconceived notions and ideas of what mental illness is like. I believe that to change that we have to stand up and talk openly about our issues and erase the stigma that surrounds them. I have written my blog posts and used my twitter accounts under the name Nelly Neurotic because she is every bit the part of me that I have had to hide most of my life. I chose the last name neurotic because had this been an earlier time my diagnoses would have been neurosis. Had this been an earlier time it wouldn't matter what my name was anyway, because the people that suffered from mental illness were not treated as humans most of the time.
It is reported that fifteen people commit suicide because of mental illness every ten minutes. It is reported that  in America alone we loose about twenty two veterans a day due to suicide because of the mental illnesses depression and PTSD. I am not a veteran but I do understand the pain they are going through. The sad part is is that suicide is preventable with the correct treatment and support. Many do not get that treatment or support because of the stigma and shame that surround us. People with mental illness are often ostracized, made fun of, laughed at, bullied, stigmatized, belittled, and shamed. We are often denied the right to be treated as equals. We are cast aside like we are dirty and unworthy. We are told that we can not be productive. That we can not achieve what we dream. That we are second class citizens. Many times there is more funding for things like streetcars and sports stadiums than there is for the help and treatment of mental illness. No one wants to talk about it. Everyone is afraid of it. It makes people uncomfortable.
Many of us who have suffered have had things stripped from us by other's such as a sense of dignity (being placed in restraints), a sense of self worth ( being referred to as crazy or psycho), our freedom ( discriminated against). Not only do we suffer immense pain, despair, frustration, and agony, but we also face the stigma that has been perpetuated in every inch of our lives.
Writing in my blogs and in google+ has changed my life. Where once I was silent, now I stand. It has given me back my self esteem, a feeling of self worth, and my dignity. Everyone that reads my blogs, my tweets, my guest posts, and my google + comments knows me as Nelly Neurotic. They are familiar with me and they know that I am not there to sell them mops, jewelry, or cleaning supplies. They know that when they see my name I am standing up for mental illness and doing my part to erase stigma. If you take away my name or force me to create some other page or use Nelly Neurotic as a nick name you are effectively crippling the work I have painstakingly done for the last five months. You are erasing my integrity as a mental health advocate, and blogger. You are taking away from me more than just a moniker. You are taking away my readers, my search name, and the joy I have from helping others on my pages. Nelly Neurotic in some ways is more important a name to me than then one I was bestowed when I was born. Because I was born with a mental illness. Because I stand up for mental illness. Because I write and blog for those that have yet to stand up and be counted. I spread the word, as so many wonderful mental health and mental illness advocates and bloggers do, of inspiration and acceptance.  I write about learning to love yourself because people that suffer from mental illness have a hard time even looking in the mirror. We are taught that we are less than human and that is unacceptable. Stripping me of something that is so much more than a username or pseudonym is unacceptable. I matter, my words matter, what I am doing matters and the name I choose to use to do it with  matters. I am offering hope. I am offering a sense of awareness. Most of all I am letting those out there afraid to speak up know that they are not alone.
I am not on google+ to sell or buy things. I am not on google+ to meet people I already know or hook up with old friends. I am on google+ as an advocate and a blogger. I am on google+ as a mental illness sufferer. So many of us are there for greater purposes than you realize. We are trying to change the world one post at a time. We are trying to raise awareness and acceptance. Too many people suffer in silence needlessly. Too many people all over the world commit suicide due to lack of treatment, lack of understanding, and the fear of being judged and belittled.
So you see, Nelly Neurotic is more than just a name to me. It is a representation of all that I stand for. If you strip me of that representation than I lose so much more than time and energy and a catchy name. I lose the people that I could have reached out to. I lose my blog name that a good amount of people follow and view. I lose the very part of myself that has been silenced for so long. Losing my name silences me again. It forces me to be something I am not.  Please don't silence me and take away my progress. Please allow me to keep the name that I have used on my blogs, my twitter, my guest posts, and with my google+ friends. Please allow me to keep representing myself as I see myself. My name is Nelly Neurotic and my name matters to me. It matters to my blogs, my readers, my followers, and it matters to my self esteem. There is great power in a name. Please don't take away mine. Thank you.

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