The Days I Get Blamed For Having Cancer
Sorry, that was sort of clickbait.
BUT I do get blamed for having a mental illness. Is it really any different?
In my opinion, it shouldn’t be.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not directly comparing cancer to a mental illness — but more the fact that people often blame mental illness on a person and not so often physical ones.
So about mental illness, and a brief take on it being “invisible”
Just because you can’t see my mental illness, doesn’t mean it’s any less “real” or valid.
It can even be deadly, especially without treatment.
To quote NAMI,“Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24; and these rates are increasing.”
To a lot of people, this seems to be easily forgotten.
You often can’t “see” anything wrong with a person who is mentally ill.
We don’t LOOK sick. There is no way we’re “supposed to look.”
You may not know that we’re having a huge war going on in our mind right in front of you.
We’re possibly struggling just to focus on what you’re saying,
Possibly having extremely anxiety. Maybe worrying about what to say to you next,
worrying about how it will come out and if it’ll be “good enough” or “sound stupid.”
Someone may be distracted by every detail of what you’re wearing; counting buttons,
pattern changes – lots of possibilities. Someone in a psychotic state may believe you’re
lying about everything; people are out to get them. We could be hallucinating and
see or hear things / people that you don’t, and manage to ignore that for the most part!
We’re possibly depressed, nearly in a “zombie state” and doing our best to
just “put on a happy face” for you and everyone else around so we seem “okay.” just because
we don’t want to bother people, or be told to “get over it” due to ignorance.
Those are just a few examples. Of course, it doesn’t cover NEARLY everything.
There ARE however, times, that are illness is somewhat visible. It’s more noticeable to someone who is close to us, around us often and can notice the differences in our behavior – whether it be minor or major.
The major differences can be visible to a majority of people and are sometimes the things that are stigmatized against the most, such as psychosis and delusional thinking (schizophrenia in general is severely stigmatized, especially by movies and the media), certain types of OCD, self-harm & suicidal ideation, severe panic attacks, etc.
Again, please note, I am not trying to cover everything. If you would like me to add something, feel free to contact me though.
Anyway, in general, a lot of people just forget that we ARE sick – just like physically ill people, and we treatment as well. But we’re being sick doesn’t make us “weak.” or any of these…
Being BLAMED for having a mental illness!?
Alright, so now what my post is really about.
Just last night, I was talking to my father who has tried to understand my mental illness (Bipolar Disorder) for years.
- He still tells me that my impulsiveness – while I was/am manic, even – is my fault.
We were talking about a recent incident with my psychiatrist taking me off my medication which triggered a manic episode, and I became incredibly impulsive which led me into debt.
- He tells me that I am lazy, when I’m actually depressed, or am in a lot of fatigue and/or pain from my MS, or for one of many of the other legit reasons that I don’t do something at the time that someone asks or expects me to.
Being “lazy” would be my fault.
Other than him, in general people think/say:
- I’m unreliable. I’m untrustworthy.
Well, I’m sorry that my BRAIN is unreliable for me – it really sucks for me too, you know? And it sucks when I can’t even trust myself; e.g. psychotic episodes, delusional thinking, paranoia.
- Going back to what I mentioned above, people often act as if I’m not sick and should feel ashamed of myself or just “get over it” like the whole “mental illness” thing is a joke; I’m not trying hard enough, etc.
No, sorry. You’re very ignorant.
- If they do accept that mental illness is “a thing”, they think that medication will magically “fix” everything – and quickly.
“Did you take your pills today?”
Really? Don’t even make me comment on this.
- I’m not allowed to ever feel negative or defeated by my illness / constant battles in my mind.
Dude, come on, I’m human. I need breaks. I try to be positive as much as I can, and help people too. But I can’t do it all the time.
Don’t blame me for not trying hard enough. I don’t deserve this, do I?
- In general, if I disappoint someone or a group of people because of an issue stemming from my mental illness, I get blamed.
I mean, sure, it’s because of “me”, but it’s because of my mental illness.
I just wish people would be more understanding and compassionate about these things.
Instead of being like “oh, he’ll just ruin our fun anyway” and then not even want to invite me to do anything ever.
It sucks to feel like everything is MY fault.
Anyway, that’s my small rant for today. Comment if you can relate!