Back in our grandparent's day people didn't talk, or at least they didn't talk about serious important things that would have been beneficial to discuss. They didn't discuss feelings. They didn't discuss sex and they sure as heck didn't discuss things such as mental illness.
My grandmother grew up thinking that if she washed her hair while she was menstruating that her period would stop and she would be pregnant. Now, I have no idea where she got such a cockamamie idea, but no one corrected her until she got married.
In an age where all information is at your fingertips or on your phone we still are not talking. Not like we should. Yes, everyone knows that taking a shower and washing your hair has nothing to do pregnancy, but what do we know about mental illness. I mean what do we REALLY know about it? And how do we open the discussion to it to find out more about it?
Now, I have read things and heard things that tell you what not to say to someone with mental illness. Things not to do and ask. Comments you should keep to yourself. Don't ask and don't tell not placed upon by the government but placed on us by ourselves as a society.
Please stop doing that. Please stop telling others what not to say to us. For the love of all things holy, stop it already.
No one hates a rude comment about mental illness more than I do. I hate the self righteous attitude and I detest the ignorance. But that's kind of the point isn't it?
I don't want people to remain silent because they are afraid of hurting my feelings or they fear making me angry. I welcome comments even bad ones. I welcome them because it is an opportunity to discuss. The topic is open, finally. How am I suppose to enlighten people with the truth if I have no idea what false notions and ignorant ideals they have?
How do we learn if we do not ask? How do we explain if no one talks about what they are thinking?
How many stress free showers could my grandmother have had without fear of pregnancy if someone had actually taken the time to listen to her and openly discuss the topic with her? But they didn't. They didn't because that particular topic was uncomfortable to discuss. Because it was unheard of to discuss such things in that time. They felt it was not important she would figure it out soon enough, why bother? So she was left to believe in an opinion that wasn't true, for years.
It's the same with the topic of mental illness. No one really likes talking about it because it can be uncomfortable. It is frowned upon to talk openly about such things. People feel it doesn't apply to them so they don't need to know. They are left to opinions that aren't true and will remain that way until someone actually takes the time to discuss it with them. But to do that we have to first know what those false opinions and ideals are.
Not letting ignorant comments come to the surface helps no one. You can't enlighten if no one is talking. You can't change their minds if you don't know what is in their minds in the first place. Nothing changes if everyone is silent.
Yes, ignorant and rude comments are hurtful but I feel they are necessary to a greater purpose. Not everyone who feels this way are complete douchebags. Some of them just don't know any better. Some of them are sheep in wolves clothing. These people can be given statistical facts. These people can be educated about the history of mental illness like the horrors of asylums. They can be taught about the discrimination we go through and the pain we suffer. They can be enlightened to the fact that we are more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than commit anything remotely violent against others. They can be taught better. They can be taught the truth about mental illness and that we are not like what they see on the television or read in the media. Some of these people can learn.
Some will not drink in this knowledge. Some will rebuff the truth and remain ignorant. There is no one so blind as those who Will not see. It happens. But if we refuse to talk and discuss when someone hits us with an ignorant comment, we are effectively shutting down the lines of communication. For those that we can not teach, let them remain the way they are with their ignorance and douchebaggery. But I feel it is important to reach out each and every time a hurtful comment is broadcast. I feel we must sit down and discuss it with them each and every time. We may not change everyone's opinion but think of all of those that we can. All of those that have never been sat down and taught the truth. Those that may not completely understand what we go through but will stop and think before they spew hate-filled or ignorant comments. We can erase stigma but only if we refuse to hide from the negative notions others are harboring. Only if we take the time to correct the notions every time we hear them. So although, I do get hurt from things that are said, I feel it is my job to try to see where they got such a false idea in the first place and correct their ideals.
In a world where we tend to shy away from uncomfortable discussions we have to stop being afraid. It is too important not to.
We can't stop the stigma if we do not know what the actual individual stigmatized ideas are. We can not solve math problems if we do not know what numerals we are working with........It is the same context but a different outcome.