Tuesday was not my day folks. I wrote and I cleaned but I also suffered self inflicted boo boo's. Not on purpose mind you, but due to my ever present clumsiness. I often wonder if I was meant to be the fourth of the three stooges. I am still recovering and mad at myself for being so......me.
First I was cleaning the litter box and stood up without realizing I was under the valley of the ceiling and hit the back of my head so hard, I literally saw stars. I didn't know that could actually happen. I always thought that was a cartoon thing not a real life thing. Well, it is and it hurts. Then I managed to bump my head two more times on the table and cabinet door while picking up things.....wonderful.
The worst part was when I made dinner in the wok. I was cooking pepper steak and I had failed to realize that the meat was still frozen on the back side. When my oil was hot and ready I dumped the frozen meat into the wok and instead of it being chunks falling into the oil the whole slab of frozen meat clunked into the pan. The frost on the back side of the meat hitting the hot oil coupled with the force of the meat hitting the pan made it splash all on the underside of my left arm.....wonderful. Now I have several red angry burn marks and a headache. Tuesday was just dandy.
Wednesday was better albeit sore and that leaves today. Good ol' Thursday.
I was checking the news and reading about mental illness as I usually do. I like to know what is being done or rather mostly not being done to help with our cause, our issues, and our treatments. I'm obsessive like that. Anyway, I was reading a really good article from USA Today called, "People With Mental Illness Face Legal Discrimination" and my initial reply to the title was, "no shit Sherlock". I mean, the article is great but this is hardly news. All of us with a mental illness are aware of this fact. I like that the article is bringing to light how the U.S. government views mental illness but I am not sure that articles and news stories will change a great deal. They are often overlooked and ignored, sadly.
What do I think we should do to change this? Well, I have some ideas, keep in mind I am crazy, but my main idea is to be counted. In the past when a group of people were openly discriminated against they protested. They held parades, they made flags, they were and are public and open. There is a gay parade. There is a Martin Luther King day. The reason many of these ideals and discriminations were changed was by the sheer force of numbers of minorities standing up and being proactive. Being public. Showing that they were out there and they were tired of being ignored and judged.
Yes we have walks, but they are not broadcast on the news. Yes we have mental illness month but it is largely ignored. We are not represented in a way that is positive enough nor are our protests heard as much as they need to be to make said changes to our broken system. We are still very much afraid. Don't get me wrong, news articles help but it is not enough.
Yes, even though there are parades and special days for other minority groups that have been discriminated against there is still some discrimination going around. But the big difference is that it is now considered politically incorrect to talk negatively about someone because of their religion, race, political affiliation, or sexual preference. It is looked down upon and is considered to be rude and ignorant and yet, it is perfectly acceptable to talk despairingly about people with mental illness. It is done in books, movies, and even on the nightly news. There is no political correctness preventing people saying that we are worthless, scary, dangerous, or broken.
It's okay to deny us medical coverage when we need to be hospitalized for long periods for mental reasons. It is okay to say that we aren't employable or productive. That we are a plague on society. It is okay to arm chair diagnose people with supposed mental illness on television when they haven't even been seen by the diagnoser. Or to promote the idea that all mental illness sufferers are homeless or vice versa. It's kinda crazy out there folks.
And no one shames them for it. No one stands up and calls them on their obvious ignorance and misinformation. It is left where it lies and we are the ones that have to deal with the negative labels and false misconceptions.
We need a peaceful showing of solidarity. A walk through cities and towns with not just thirty or forty people but with thousands. We need our own color shirts and our own support ribbons, our own flag, our own representation that is positive. Just like how AIDS is looked at now. Where it was once treated with stigma and shame people now openly discuss it and wear support ribbons for it. It is no longer shrouded in ignorance and left under the shadows of indifference. It is remembered and recognized, mental illness is not. And in many ways it is our fault because we let the fear and stigma hold us back. We do not convene by the thousands and walk so we can be positively promoted on the news. We do not hand out pamphlets that promote acceptance and understanding of mental illnesses. We are covertly operating when we need to be openly active. We have to demand change in this country and the only way to do that is by being seen and heard not by a few articles when the news is slow or a post or two as an after thought but by large numbers, by masses of sufferers and their supporters saying, 'We are here and we matter". We need to erase the stigma and shame that the title mental illness has draped over it. We shouldn't be ashamed. We have no reason to be. We shouldn't have to live fear. We shouldn't have to hide ourselves from the rest of the world. Mental illness should be viewed the same way as every other ribbon represented illness. It should be viewed the same as diabetes or heart disease. It should be viewed the same as lupus or cancer. It is an illness not a crime. It is not evil. It does not make you a threat no more than having HIV and yet there is plenty of support for all of these other medical issues. There should be no difference in support just because our issues are mental rather than medical.
And if you really think about, mental illness is discriminated against but it does not discriminate who it affects. It affects all races, all incomes, all religions, all sexual preferences. Statistically, that would mean it shouldn't be a minority, There are literally thousands upon thousands of us and that is just the people that have been diagnosed. What if we are not a minority group? What if we are just led to believe that because believing that we are small makes it easier to ignore what we go through and easier for us to not stand up and ask for our rights as human beings?
Every group that has changed the way they are viewed has had to do this and if we want things to change than we have to peacefully do it as well. We can't just hide behind our fear. It changes nothing when we do.
I don't maybe I hit my head too hard and I just over thinking things. I just feel like if we want things to change we have to be more outspoken and more visible....maybe this headache is taking it's toll and I am just rambling on like a mad woman. It's an idea though. What do you think?