It seems to me that whenever a tragedy happens people rush to judgment. They rush to make excuses for one's behavior. They use words like mental illness to describe what could have been the possible culprit. I think it is to make a gap in humanity. To make it seem like normal people could never do what these people have done. I think it is to make others sleep better at night. To label someone who has hurt others so that they don't have to look at themselves and the possibility that they could do something like that as well. It isn't a diagnosis to understand what has happened. It is a diagnosis to separate themselves from those that have harmed. A label. An umbrella word. Infecting everyone who has a label even though it is unwarranted.
The man who drove the plane into the mountain and killed 150 people was labeled depressed. Yet he was on anti-psychotics. Depression isn't psychosis but most people don't know that there is a huge difference. That anti-psychotics are given to psychotics not typical depressed people. The media seems oblivious as they spread out the might be's and why's someone might do such a horrid thing. Someone said depression and now even though, we have no actual proof of his depression, depressed people are getting the side eye. Now, everyone with depression is suspect of being a possible mass murderer. Not because statistics support such a bias claim but because the media and ignorant people are in such a rush to make an excuse for inexcusable behavior. It wouldn't happen if he had a heart problem but because it was a mental problem, it is okay to publicly speculate.
Calling someone's diagnosis something that it is not, is like calling someone's toe cancer, finger cancer. Yes, they are both cancers but they are different cancers. Just like calling someone's mental illness diagnosis by a different mental illness diagnosis name. They are both mental illness but they are different mental illnesses. It is not one size fits all.
This happens every time some person does the unthinkable. Adam Lanza murdered innocent children and teachers and before the investigation was even finished he had a label. Aspergers. No actual documentation of his disorder and yet it was spread over the news and media as fact. Why? Because it made people feel safer that his evil had a name. A name they put on him to make it seem like his actions were because of an illness. It did not matter that Aspergers is not violent usually. It didn't matter that the statistics don't support what the media claimed. All that mattered is that it sold more papers, got more views, and riled people up against mental illness. All that mattered is that there was a label to assign. And so they did.
And in doing so, such a label brought a great deal of discomfort to good people that suffer from Aspergers. They were all looked at like they were capable of such horror. They did not deserve such judgment.
There seems to be a great deal of speculation as we reel with emotions of such horrid events and yet what seems to be lacking is a great deal of truth. Truth that sets people straight. Truth that sets people free.
The truth is, people suffering from mental illnesses are more than twice as likely to be victims of a violent crime rather than to be the person committing one. The truth is, that depressed people are far more likely to be a danger to themselves rather than to others. The truth is, that the media slanders the mentally ill anytime something tragic happens because it fits the general consensus that it is us against them and that we are somehow dangerous or different. The truth is that bad people can and do bad things and not all of those people did bad things because of mental illness. Sometimes they just do what they do and no one else with any diagnosis that may be similar has anything to prove. We are not the monsters that go bump into the night. We are just people. We are not dangerous anymore than anyone else. This isn't our shame to bear. It's their's because they did the unspeakable and devastating things, not us.
The truth is, that mental illness is promoted in falsehoods, quoted with misconceptions, and wrapped in a cloak of invisibility and stigma. If we want to get people the help they need, than we have to stop labeling people that hurt others by their diagnoses. Which only promotes more ignorance and stigma. We have to see that these people did an unforgivable thing but in no way does it mean that other people with those same diagnosis need to be suspect or feared. No one deserves to be punished by other people's actions and no group of people should be sullied by the horrid acts of the few that do not represent us. And I urge you to remember that, as the media continues to peddle it's misconstrued propaganda and sensationalism of our illnesses.