Discussion of mental health problems

Regarding the content of this article: http://ideas.ted.com/how-should-we-talk-about-mental-health/:

I’ve been saying that about crime for a long time. While it’s true that some of the mass shootings have been done by people diagnosed with mental illness, the media seems to portray it as if any mentally ill person is going to shoot up the nearest school or theater if you give them enough time. Most people with mental illnesses are never going to go on a shooting rampage, but that doesn’t make a good headline so that is completely ignored. It’s no wonder people don’t want to talk about mental illness if people think that makes them dangerous and violent.

However, I completely disagree with the avoiding words like “crazy” and “psycho.” As with any word, it depends on usage. I agree with the Ruby Wax quote in the article. What matters is the idea being conveyed, not so much the words you use to convey it. If you’re belittling a person for being mentally ill, it doesn’t matter if you use the phrase “mentally ill” or “crazy;” what matters is that you’re being an asshole.

I’ve encountered a lot of people who refuse any sort of help with mental illness because it’s regarded more as a personal failing than a medical issue, and people should just “suck it up” and deal with it. It is not considered the same at all. If you have high blood pressure, you’re not considered a weak person for taking HBP medication; you’re considered to be a person taking care of their health. Not so with mental illnesses; if you take medications you’re considered to be “running away from your problems” or thinking that “popping pills can fix everything.” If you’re less depressed on your anti-depressants, then your happiness is false and not valid, also.

When I was young, my parents never told anyone that I was seeing therapists, had been hospitalized for mental illness, or was taking psychiatric medication because of the stigma. My mom even shushed me once as an adult because I said I’d been to the therapist earlier that day before going out for dinner with relatives. Apparently seeing a therapist is something so shameful you don’t talk about it. You’re supposed to lie and say you were seeing the optometrist or something. It is regarded as a personal failure and not a “real” health problem.

And this is why I think people need to talk about it more. The more people are exposed to the idea that “crazy people” aren’t necessarily going to kill them, the less stigma there will be. Another thing I’ve encountered with bipolar disorder is that people seem to say it’s somehow wrong for me to show emotions because they are used to me being in a depressed state, where I am very stoic and Vulcan-like, and they seem to try to discourage me from talking at all because this apparently makes them uncomfortable or clashes with their idea of what kind of a person I am. But again, that’s why I turn to blogging: it’s a monologue. I am able to express myself as long as there isn’t anyone else around to act like I’m making them uncomfortable or like they just wish I would shut up. I am not good at talking to people face to face.

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