Okay, I am mad. Seriously mad.
I just read about the "taking selfies is a mental disorder" hoax. I am mad for two reasons. One, that some asshat of a company decided that this was an amusing thing to write. Two, that people clung to it with a feverish grasp much like a man drowning in a sea of cats...
I don't know how many times I have to ask this, but apparently I have to ask it again....When will people start to take mental illness seriously? When? I would really like a date so I can mark it down on my calendar. Circle it with a bright red sharpie so I can go out that day and not have to worry about such paltry things as stigma and ignorance or shaming and intolerance. I want to know when I can walk down the street and proclaim to my peers that yes, I have a mental illness and no, it does not make a monster, or a freak, or a less worthy human being...
I am angry that a company used what I have struggled and fought against for the thirty one of almost thirty five years of my life as fodder, not just fodder, but fodder to "amuse" the masses. Clearly these people have no idea what is like to struggle on not just a daily basis but an hourly one. Trying not to let it get me down. Trying to remain hopeful even though, I know I will have mental illness for the rest of my life. Trying desperately not to let "triggers" take over my very existence. Trying not to fall into the trap many people do and become suicidal. Not to give up hope. Always be thankful. Try and remain strong...
Maybe I am wrong? Maybe the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe is somehow amusing? Maybe I missed that memo???? Oh well, it says so on facebook, so it must be true. Who am I to question it? Maybe I am just stupid and my feeble mind just can't understand the need to poke fun at people like me?
And I know what stupid feels like. Because of my mental illness, I called myself stupid many times along with a bunch of other negative adjectives as well. Lost, worthless, ignorant, broken, damaged, less than, pathetic, not smart enough, not strong enough, not good enough, lazy, socially defunct, inept, and unlovable. These thoughts circled around in my head every minute of every day and because I heard them so much, I believed every word. I was broken. I was damaged. I was gross. Who would want a pathetic, worthless, loser like me?
Years I struggled with my triggers and self doubt. My pain worn on my sleeve like a red stain for all to see. I was in agony everyday. My mind betrayed me and I blamed myself because after all, it was my mind and surely I should have control of it. But I didn't and I don't....And it made me hate myself just that much more.
I find a company trying to make my pain and struggles into something stupid and laughable, a huge insult. And if you have struggled the way I have, you should too. I am sorry, I just don't find the leading cause of suicide in this country, humorous. No, you know what? I am not sorry. Because I am a human being and every human being matters in this world regardless of how badly they feel about themselves, or their diagnoses, or their perceived faults. No one deserves to die alone in some crappy place because they can't see any other way out of the pain and torment that they endure in their lifetime but to end their lives. No one and shame on you for implying that mental illness is somehow funny. It's not. It's devastating to those who have it and to all of those that love them.
And to those of you that think taking too many pictures of yourself is somehow a mental illness.....stop. Just stop already. You haven't the first notion what mental illness is. It is not "Oh this picture makes me look sexy" or "Oh here is me standing in front of my bathroom mirror looking hot in front of the toilet bowl" or "Here is me eating this huge hamburger with my friends after a night of drinking cheap beer on ladies night". Mental illness isn't about taking eighty five pictures of yourself trying to impress others with your body or your fashion choices, it's about pain and suffering. It is about feeling ashamed that you aren't like everyone else. And sadly it is about hating yourself. Because that is what mental illness does. It makes you blame yourself for every single abnormal issue about you. It is about hating that you can't be like everyone else. You can't work, or drive, or feel at ease. You can't just get up and be happy or your moods cycle so fast you feel like you just get the afterburn of them. There is no "I love being messed up" selfie. Or the "I am so sexy while I stick my finger down my throat because I am not yet the 85lbs I want to be." There is no pic of "I love that I compulsively touch door knobs or scrub the walls til my hands bleed." or the "Look I am in so much pain I cut myself again". Nor is there an "I just can't take one more day of this agony, I going to kill myself" sexy pose. There is a reason for that.
We are not trying to be sexy or impressive. We are just trying to live in a world that is wholly ignorant of our plight and our struggles. Meating out the punishments and judgments because it just doesn't understand. In the thirty one years of my battles against OCD, I only learned to love myself three years ago. I had to learn to accept my faults and embrace not who I thought I would be, but who I am. That is a really long time to have to wade through the self blame and self hate to get to that point. Years to learn to that I am important. I matter. I count. I stand for something and that something is greatness, no matter how unlike everyone else I may think I am. Who would want that broken, damaged, and gross person I thought I was? Me, I want me because I am different and my life is hard but I am worth the struggle. Not just today but always.
We have to learn to love and accept ourselves in a world that does not. In a world that is ignorant and unprepared to accept us. In a world that thinks the struggles we go through are humorous or entertaining. We have to learn that we are not broken or damaged but different in a world that resists differences with a passion. It is intolerant of us and yet we have to learn to push against such intolerance because we deserve to be here. We count. We matter.
So don't claim that because you want to constantly take pictures of yourself looking pretty for a boy or a girl or to impress all of your friends with how cool you think you are, that you suffer from what we do. You have no idea the pain we live with on a daily bass and you couldn't possibly fathom such pain while you stand in front of a camera winking and acting foolish. We don't have time to worry about such things, we are too busy trying to live our lives one step at a time.