“Scapegoat” 11.17.23

Awful events take place all over the world, every day. We need someone to blame.

Life is easier for some than for others. There are children with legitimate issues who grow up in broken homes. Some reach adulthood with a sense of right and wrong, but must help themselves because no one else will rise to the occasion. Most have heard, “Life is not fair.”

Life is not fair.

Everywhere, people are suffering without treatment for psychiatric disorders; many cannot afford it and do not have strong support systems. Some are punished for crimes that might have been prevented. Fingers, as well as guns, point in their direction. The media jumps to conclusions about a perpetrator, labeling that individual with a huge stamp of MENTAL ILLNESS on their forehead, and a target on their back. This feeds the stigma. Something must be “wrong” with a person in order to commit a heinous crime. The offender is the scapegoat, a deer in the headlights. This label neatly sums it up. Case closed.

Let us not forget that mental illness is neither a crime or a motive.

“Oh! I knew there was something going on with her. Now it makes sense.” When I published my first book, there were people in my life who responded in this manner. They thought something was “off” about me, and here was the proof. Pouring your heart out to the public is opening yourself; exposing your insides to society. I spent years striving to hide my mental illness, believing I was succeeding. It was surprising to me how many people had already come to that conclusion. Pieces of my puzzle fell into place. I was “figured out.” I know how it feels to be branded.

I pondered whether to hide this part of myself or to share my truth with the world. My story was serving less purpose lurking in the dark corners of my mind. I implore everyone to spread the positive side of this invisible illness; stick up for one another in awkward situations; begin conversations in social settings. We are one body, separate parts. I hope that one day we will come together, and will no longer feel the need to throw stones.