I have a problem. Well actually, I have many problems but this is one, I believe you can help me with. During the horrid and devastating shootings that have happened I ask you, no I implore you to save your judgement on the possibility of mental illness being a factor. At least until a diagnoses has been confirmed by their actual doctor or family members. I ask this because whether you know it or not your decisions affect us all and in most cases it affects us in a negative way.
I make no excuses for what has been done or the monstrous actions of those that have harmed and killed others. I don't know what made them do such horrid things. I don't understand any of it. I have wrestled with the notions, I have cried myself to sleep, and I have grieved with our country. I am after all, a mother of two school age children that are my absolute world. I am a sister, daughter, wife, and friend. These events have scarred us all and taken away the innocence that we once were able to live under the guise of.
That being said, I would like to take a moment to try to explain the punishment the mental illness community has been dealt after quick and shotty reporting. I have heard things like "those people need to be monitored for our safety" I have read blogs where some suggest that they lock up all the mentally ill in asylums. " Bring the asylums back", they said. Whats more, a supposed nurse in the mental illness field agreed with the blogs statements. A person who is supposed to be treating us and helping us believes that we all should be locked up and forgotten. As the media, I am sure you are aware of the inhumane treatments of those that lived in asylums. The abuse and medical research tactics, i.e. lobotomies and bleeding the illness out; are, were, and should have been never allowed to occur in the first place.You as the media, have many resources and could easily look up the devastation of asylums on those that had been left there to rot, suffer, and be forgotten. Who stood up for those people? Because they were people with hopes and dreams and emotions just like we are today. It's unacceptable.
Let alone the fact that one in four people have or will suffer from some form of mental illness in their lifetime. One in four. The fact that as mental illness suffers we are much more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than perpetrate it on others. If we all were dangerous there would be a higher statistical rating of violence and murders don't you think? Statistics say that those that suffer from addiction problems have a higher violence rate than those that suffer from mental illness and yet no one is suggesting we lock all addicts away and throw away the key are they? No, because that would be unthinkable to even suggest such a thing. And yet it is perfectly acceptable to believe that about those that suffer from mental illness. It is even a belief that sadly is gaining popularity.
When Adam Lanza committed what can only be described as a monstrous attack on innocent children, there were wide reports of him suffering from Asperger's syndrome. I do not know what he suffered from. What I do know is that all of those that have wrestled with growing up with this form of autism now had a label that was scary and unfair. Now, the diagnoses is perpetually linked with a child murderer. As if to say that because he had this others that have been diagnosed with it are predisposed to become maniacal killers and should be feared. It's ignorant not just on the public's part but yours as well. Imagine having a small child with Asperger's and after trying to receive help, getting them into a decent school, therapies, and doctors the self esteem issues that go along with being abnormal, imperfect, different, and not being like the happy carefree pictures you see in magazines, they have this added to their plate. Imagine having to look into your child's innocent eyes that suffers from an illness they did not ask for and have to try to explain why others are judging them and being rude to them. Why adults are scared of them. And it's not just Asperger's. It's the whole community of mental illness sufferers that takes the hit. We are all compared to killers and murderers. Is that fair? Would this be politically correct for any other illness group?
We are painted with a broad brush by the media, that should know better. The paintbrush is old and the paint color is out dated and hideous. We do not deserve it. Mental illness is a very wide description of many illnesses. When people have false notions on mental illness sufferers they are having them not just about the most severe cases. Mental Illness is a category that has everyone from the severely psychotic to the mildly depressed. People with OCD, anorexia, bulimia, bipolar, schizophrenia, PTSD, DID, right down to people that make funny little paper mache' hats that think they are Napoleon. It is a category that contains us all and we do not deserve the shifty stares and fearful side glances. Most of us are and never have been dangerous. In a world were we already suffer from low self esteem issues, where we are shown daily how different we are, how abnormal we are, do we really need to be targeted as well? Can you imagine how not only are we stigmatized by our family, friends, jobs, and schools how we might feel about ourselves? I can speak from experience that my mental illness is constantly telling me how worthless I am, how ugly, how stupid, how unlovable. Tie in with that the reactions of those that are ignorant on what mental illness actually is, and you can kind of see how punishing this is for us. I have to battle daily to maintain that I am none of those things my mental illness tells me I am, only to have to prove it to the masses that I also am not dangerous or scary. That I am not what nightmares are made of. I shouldn't have to. I am not violent or dangerous. I have never been arrested nor do I engage in illegal activities. I have never even been in a physical fight, and yet me and others like me are compared to child killers. To mass murderers. To predators.
What about those that suffer from PTSD? Those that have suffered severe trauma due to child abuse, a traumatic accident, or even war. These people that were not born with mental illness genes but it was inflicted upon them. Many of them we sent to do our bidding and came back after seeing their friends die. Loosing parts of themselves, their sanity, and sometimes limbs along the way and you shake your finger at them and accuse them of being capable of being murderers and mass killers. Grouping them up without the slightest thought of what they have seen, smelled, tasted for you because our country sent them there and told them too. But it is okay to deny them medical coverage for up to two years and then blame them because they are sick. It is acceptable to group them up and compare them to the sick and twisted shooters and want to lock them up as well with the rest of the mentally ill, because we are viewed to be all the same.
I am not asking you not to report the truth. I am not saying that these people didn't have mental illness. What I am asking is that you explain that not everyone with these diagnoses or mental illness in general are violent and dangerous. I am asking that you take a stand with us. I am asking that you do your job and fully report the issues and not just blindly glaze over them to make the masses feel better. I am asking that you report the facts and not just throw a diagnoses at it so the normal can sleep better at night. I am asking that you be fair. I am asking that as you look around you and see that one in four are suffering from mental illness that every conclusion you jump to is affecting them in a negative way. That judgment makes us afraid to seek help when needed. That judgment makes it harder to support each other and be open and honest about our issues. That judgment is killing those that could have been saved if only given the chance but they were so afraid of the stigma that ending their lives seemed an easier out. You have the power to help represent us truthfully or damn us. I am asking for you to help us. Help me and the millions of others just like me.
Sincerely, Nelly Neurotic