There are several avenues of media–including news articles, films, books, and other forms of communication–with more questions than answers. This is why the media should either keep their heads buried in the sand when it pertains to unknowns, or change their tunes. Many make assumptions and publicly announce suspicions, fears, and misunderstandings about mental illness throughout their network. They feed the public what they perceive to be “truths,” of which they really have no idea. These suppositions feed the stigma and set us back in our quest toward acceptance, love, and equality. One who has suffered under these circumstances–occupied a tiny room alone for several months–can tell a true story about the injustice of the system. Recovery from all of the trauma I have experienced in the hospital takes time. I will be holding on to that trauma inside my brain for the rest of my life, trying to set it free. That very same brain possesses my depression, anxiety, mania, psychosis (to name a few). “She” is living proof that this illness exists, is treatable, and that “crazy” does not exist. Unfortunately, that proof is intangible. Therefore, according to the notorious “They,” the proof does not exist. To see is to believe. Everyone thinks nothing will touch them. “Not me,” they say. “Never could this trauma attach itself to my life. I am invincible.” Until it does. Then, they become part of the unknown, and will never be “normal” again. Never say Never.
The media labels people with psychiatric disorders. We are bullied, misunderstood, and often the butt of a joke. Misunderstanding stands alone, but add cruelty to the mix. Emerging victoriously from a psychiatric facility should be recognized, a cause of pride and celebration. Sadly, this fact is often buried beneath the rug or six feet under; distanced as quickly as possible. Instead of triumph, your word now means nothing because you were deemed incompetent. Sometimes, when the whispers grow from seeds to weeds, people with mental illness are approached as though their struggles are contagious. Even pity, which is meant to be polite, only feels like distance.
I have read and watched several movies with elements of jest at the expense of the mentally ill. I try to push through; I get mad, then sad, then turn it off. It is a personal challenge to ignore horrible statements such as, “My father married a bipolarity woman who had her ups and downs. When I marry, I will not make that mistake.” Or, “He used to be a genius before he became mentally ill. Isn’t that how it always goes?” It infuriates me to read these words, but I take a break, breathe deeply, and continue, with the knowledge that the author is quite ignorant. If I quit at every insult, I miss out on the good parts. I have decided, despite the irritation, to push through. It certainly has its difficulties.
I imagine that those most afraid of “crazy” people are truly fearful that their own sanity may be called into question. I would venture to say that everyone is playing pretend to protect their own “normality.” Such a state is unobtainable, just as sure as “crazy” is nonexistent.
We ARE desirable and we DO have voices! Let them be heard!!
“There’s no such thing as normal. There’s no such thing as crazy.
We’re all a little in-between and the line is very hazy.”