Monday, 18 August 2014

I Shouldn't Be So Open About My Mental Health

Today, I phoned someone close to me to ask for some advice (as I have been sick with a cold and wanted to know something about treatment). The topic of mental health comes up (like it does with me fairly regularly because it is something I have become passionate about). This individual said to me "..talking about it to friends and family is one thing, but you shouldn't be so open about it online. What if a future employer sees and you don't get that job?" Well then, I wouldn't want to work for someone who doesn't want to give everyone equal opportunity. I could understand if being unhealthy in any way would affect the job (example: you can't lift a required amount of weight) but I would not want to work for anyone who saw mental illness as something "wrong".

I am currently trying to lift the stigmatism we have towards mental health; that it should be spoken about behind closed doors. I remember when I was first diagnosed, one of the first things I said was "who the hell gets diagnosed with BPD? I am so alone." Over time I realized how wrong I was and I learned others are afraid to talk about it because of two reasons:

1. The negativity that we, as a society, give mental health
2. They are afraid that they are alone in how they are thinking/feeling

A friend of mine has recently gone to see a therapist/psychiatrist and when he told me he said "I am so pathetic and weak I need help." I had to tell him EVERYONE needs help, it's just you need different help than what your brother may need, or what your cousin may need or what your best friend from third grade may need. Everyone needs some sort of help, and if they think otherwise, then they are very niave and it the time will come when they will grow up and realize. When I say help, I don't just mean mental help, I mean help with homework, help with the chores, help learning how to use a diswasher, etc. Help is a very generic word. Society has also deemed it negative, especially for men. Help actually means (according to Oxford English Dictionary: Make it easier or possible for (someone) to do something by offering them one's services or reources. Not everyone (both men and women alike) are not always given the same resources to deal with life and what it throws their way. THAT'S OKAY! That is why I know how to do "A" and you know how to do "B". Help is social, help is good, help is positive! Society hs just told people that relying on others is bad. Ask yourself (and post below, I would love to see people's responses):

Why is needing help bad? 

We are told that being social is good; it helps eliviate depression, feelings of lonliness and helps teach us things. So getting "help" is a form of being social. It is asking other's their thoughts, feelings, opinions, likes, dislikes, what they agree on and what they disagree on. Help is what we do when we meet new people, talk about ourselves to one another, to teach.

To go back to my statement before defining what help is and why it is good, if I am trying to help lift the stigmatism against mental health, then why should I be quiet about it? That would be renforcing the stigmatism. As I said to both friends (the one who needed help and the one who said I should keep quiet) "Change does not happen if you keep doing the same thing day in and day out. Change happens when you change. You can not change the world without changing yourself." I stand by this. Change does not happen unless WE change! I also said to them "The way our society looks at mental health is how we have (previously and currenlty still in some places and people) look at gay people; they are "bad". It is how we looked at (and again, some places and people still look at) coloured people, Aboriginals, Asians, etc, they are "bad". Those individuals could not help how they feel about a certain gender, how they were born a certain colour, race, etc. yet we still say they are "bad" for being that way. Just like those with mental health. They are "bad" and yet, they can not help that the stress they dealt with caused a trigger to go off that had them be diagnosed with schizophrenia, or that they were born with a chemical imbalance that gave them austism. So why do we still look at it as "bad". Same idea, all these individuals can not help how they were born/created and yet, they are "bad". Why?" And a silence was my answer on the other end. The sentence of "What if a future employer see this, and you don't get the job?" was the response to follow that silence. My answers stays "If someone or some compnay decides that people with certain illnesses are not to be treated as equals, then fine. I do not wish to work for them. Everyone, whether they are black, white, yellow, red, phsyically healthy or unhealthy, mentally healthy or unhealthy, gay, straight, transgendered, etc. has a right to be treated with respect and love because they are a living being."

This is how I feel and I will stand by it until the day I die. If somone has wronged you because of their ignorance and refusal to see any other way but their own, or because they are just jerks, remember "They are not against you, they are merely for themselves." Being a certain way makes them feel better, just tell them you do not agree with their way of thinking, if they ask, elaborate. However, do not meet hate with hate EVER! Hatred brings hatred, love brings love. Remember this.

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