Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reading Between The Lines

I read. I read a lot. I devour information. I drink in books and articles. I am a person who loves to learn.
Often times, I read about mental illness. I feel it is my duty to keep up with such things. Obviously, it is important to know what I am facing everyday as I get up and get my first cup of coffee. I sit there and listen to the birds chirping happily away. I take a deep breath and read what others are saying about mental illness. I see what others are saying about me because when they talk about mental illness, they are in essence talking about me.

I have read a couple of articles relating to government and stigma. I don't read just about America's government because what happens in other countries affects us all. We are a global community of sufferers.

I understand that many people are afraid of the mentally ill. How could they not be when the images promoted are so negative? We are trying to change that but it is a slow process. For many years being mentally ill was an excuse for committing horrible crimes and it was easier for others to use it as a scapegoat so they could sleep a little better at night. Let's stop playing dumb and read between the lines shall we?

As a member of the mental illness community I get rather tired of being blamed for all the wrongs of the world. Yes, I said me because when you use a general term you include everyone of us in it. I am tired of being shamed because I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am tired of being told that I am dangerous or scary. Am I really? I am afraid of rabbits, people. How on earth could that personally be scary to you? The issue is to read between the lines. People are scared of nameless creatures that lurk around in the dark and go bump in the night. Somehow, we have become the scary shadows that prey on the sleeping. It's ridiculous. I am not a shadow or a monster. I am not going to hurt you but statistics say that you as a normal individual are three times more likely to hurt me. Who should be scared of whom?

If I were to have a psychotic break(I have OCD so that would be extremely unlikely) but if I did, what would happen? I would be arrested and hog tied most likely. Maybe tazered. I could be maced. Or even worse I could be shot. It is reported that out of the 375-500 people shot by police each year half of them suffer from mental illness. If captured without incident then I would be held in a cage cell, there are some departments that have cells for the mentally ill that resemble large dog cages. Or I could be placed in the restraint chair. Then I would be transferred to a hospital which would restrain me and sedate me. All of these are potentially lethal. I could suffocate. I could choke. The meds could be wrong and stop my heart. I could be bruised and battered. I could be blinded and electrocuted.

And yet you are afraid of me?

It is reported that federal prison population of the mentally ill has quadrupled. People that could be getting help and be productive were denied the proper care when they needed it an now are pouring out of the prisons. They are not truly getting the help they need in prison either.

And yet we are accused of hurting the normal people?

The mentally ill are far more likely to victims of violent crime rather than commit one.We are far more likely to be victims. What does that say about the normal people? 92 -96 percent of mentally ill patients are non violent and never have been.

And yet the media acts as if we are the sole reason that violent crimes occur. Fear us because the t.v. and newspapers say too. Fear us because it is far more convenient to believe that than to take a look at what else might be going on.

I am not saying that some of the mentally ill have never committed crimes or murder. I am saying that 3-5 percent of them have. What about the 97-95 percent? Why are we being stigmatized and put down?

Read between the lines. Discrimination and stigma are unfair and hurtful. It does no one any good to smudge truths to sell papers or to get ratings. It does no one any good to promote lies and negative connotations. We need people to be honest and stand up for us. Maybe it is the "tree hugger" in me but I would really appreciate factual knowledge being spread rather than false fear.

I keep my feet on the ground. I broadcast my honesty. I refuse to be placed in a box and be lied about. I am not dangerous. I am not scary. I am not bad. I am not ugly. I am not broken. I should be more afraid of you than you are of me and yet I refuse to be. I will not be shamed and I will not accept anything less than being treated like everyone else. I will not be afraid of you. I have a right to live my life and not be judged on what I have but who I am as a person. [tweet this]. What I have done personally. What I choose to do in my life and with my life. I choose to be positive. I choose to be strong. I choose to be kind and considerate. I choose to be me.

Stereo types are inaccurate and wrong. Read between the lines and stop being the mindless sheep the media wants you to be.

Not all Blondes are dumb.
(I have met a great many who are absolutely brilliant)

 Not all .Red Heads have bad tempers.
(A great many of us are cool tempered)

Not all Men are handy men.
(Some have no idea how to use a wrench or fix a car)

Not all mentally ill people are dangerous.
(Most of us are not)

We are not out to get you. We are too busy trying to keep our own lives together and trying to hold our heads up in the face of lies, stigma, and bad representations.

Read between the lines and find the truth. We are far less dangerous than you and your judgments are.
Neurotic Nelly


  1. Great post! Couldn't have said it better myself. Ugh, stigma...hopefully someday things would have changed for the better.

  2. Thank you! I believe it can but we have to be vigilant and constantly educate the public.