Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slave To Your Words.....

Winston Churchill once said, "We are masters of the unsaid word, but we are slaves to those we let slip out."

I am not sure more true words have ever been spoken. Often times we feel the need to hold back what we are thinking or to "be strong" and not confide in our families and friends what our real situation is like. Where did this false belief that being "strong" entails holding back come from  anyway? Wouldn't it rather be that being strong would be to admit, to confess, to purge out the things we so dearly are afraid to discuss? Since when did having and showing emotion become a sign a weakness?

As a lover of the written word I have become aware that words are power. The can lift up or they can devastate. We use them to enlighten the ignorant. We use them to comfort the sick and weak. We use them to assure our loved ones. We use them to order coffee and a breakfast burrito, and sometimes we wield them like knives.

Words and how we use them can soothe or irritate, calm or create mass hysteria, strengthen or destroy. I am not sure anything has near as much power as simply speaking to someone.

And with words comes the responsibility to use them correctly and in a positive way.

If I had a quarter for every time someone described me as insane,  would be living in Tuscany somewhere wearing Prada and sipping some horribly disgusting yet overpriced champagne even though I detest champagne, and doing whatever it is that  rich individuals do.  Unfortunately no one gives quarters to insane people as they hurl insults at them, so I will never know what ridiculously rich people do in Tuscany.

I am not insane. I know perfectly well what I am doing. I have a mental illness and it is not the same thing as being "insane".Neurotic, yes. Strange, definitely. Insane....no.

Often times in arguments we say things that we don't mean in anger and we hurt those that we love. We can judge others for being different and instead of contemplating what different means we can say things that leave them emotionally raw. We need to be more aware of the responsibility we share when we speak to others.

Name calling is hurtful and mean and yet we can resort to such juvenile behavior.  Insults hurled at unsuspecting and undeserving individuals simply because we have had a bad day or someone has irritated us. We don't think before we speak and that is a tragedy.

In suffering form a mental illness all of my life, I have heard it all. I have heard snide remarks, names, labels that don't really apply to my specific illness have been placed upon my head like a paper sacrificial crown. I have seen others totally verbally assault people that have no way of defending themselves. I have read tweets from "celebrities" defaming mental illness and those that suffer from it and it upsets me. It saddens me that people can be so completely out of tune with the rest of the world. That people can get so self involved, so wrapped up in themselves that they don't care how their words affect us and worse yet can teach others to treat us the same way. People that claim to be adults when their actions prove otherwise. That they can make a "joke" about mental health issues or use it a leverage against someone who has suffered from it. Like blackmail or pointing out that the sufferer should be ashamed or not listened to simply because they have had mental illness issues. If you have never had a mental illness or loved someone who has, then good for you. You are a rarity, congratulations now you are rare and an ass at the same time. .....And what of celebrity? Why do we need to look up to those simply because we are told to? Many celebrities, but not all,  are "famous" simply because they use bad judgement, say ridiculous things, spiral completely out of control, and take no responsibility for their actions. They are not celebrities, they are train wrecks. Train wrecks that don't care that children and teens maybe looking up to them as a role model. Train wrecks that see no problem with being self absorbed and hurtful to others. I don't really believe that their lives are happier or more important than mine or yours simply because cameras are shoved in their faces and they make reality shows. I don't believe because you make a complete ass out of yourself on an awards show or during an interview that what you say has any merit or grounding in truth. You are not a doctor or a psychiatrist and therefore you shouldn't speak about what mental illness is like unless you actually researched it, which obviously these people have not.

And why is okay to make mental illness the butt of every one's jokes? I certainly don't find it funny. I don't find extreme suffering and immense pain funny. I don't find stigma funny. I don't find people being so lost, so hurt, and so scared that they attempt suicide funny at all. I fail to see where the punch line is. Maybe, I am just dense.

You wouldn't tweet ,"oh well you got cancer," as a rebuttal to an argument, why would it be in any way intelligent to broadcast a person's mental illness that way? It shows me that we still have a long way to go to improve our lives. That there are not only ignorant people that we have to enlighten but maybe also self imposed, ignorant asses to also contend with.
Words are important and if you can't use them responsibly than please do the world a favor and be quiet about that particular subject. Listen and learn before you open your big uneducated mouth and spew hateful, hurtful, discriminating adjectives all over the place. We are not a joke and we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are people just like you and we don't appreciate being the butt of your jokes or the jibes you take simply because you aren't intelligent enough to come up with some other kind of a rebuttal. Because to you picking on the mentally ill is easier.

I'm am not saying that I have never said something ignorant and accidentally hurt others. I have. The difference is that I learned the importance of my words and I stopped making off the cuff judgments about people and their lives. I started educating myself. I stopped implying negative things about people and I started asking questions and learning about other people, first.

If you spent one day in our shoes, if you knew how hard and painful the road is into mental illness you would certainly not be so cavalier about it. You would be horrified by the way other people treat you. You would be saddened at how other's view you. Don't be a slave to your words.....think before you speak.

Neurotic Nelly

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