The other day I was browsing around the world of the inter webs and I came across this article entitled ' 9 reasons why your mental illness is made up for attention", you can check it out HERE, if you want but if I was you, I really wouldn't. It's disrespectful, offensive and just plain rude towards people who have a mental illness.
This person has clearly never experienced mental illness themselves or had to watch anyone close to them, battle with a mental illness because if they did, they would rather a much better understanding of what it means to suffer from any mental illness and the daily struggle that comes part of that.
I want to keep this intro pretty short and sweet, as this post is a pretty long one! It's safe to say I was fuming when I read this Article. I don't think I have ever read something so insulting towards mental illness in my life. On the flip side, it's made me even more passionate to carry on working hard to end the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness.
1. You use it to be an asshole to other people
Seriously? Seriously....? If you don't answer the phone, turn up to a party, or you stress out at your partner. It does not make you an inconsiderate asshole, whether you have a mental illness or not. We're all humans, no one is in a constant emotional state, we all experience ups and downs, highs and lows. If you chose not to go to a party, your not inconsiderate, your just looking after yourself and your wellbeing, whether the reason is that of your mental illness or not. The author of this article is implying that they have never had a bad day in their life, where they've been cranky or upset. Which I can 100% say is not true. No one with a mental illness wants to appear inconsiderate to others, but we are aware that sometimes it can seem that way.
2. You are constantly sharing shit about it on social media
What's wrong with telling people about your struggle against mental illness? What's wrong with letting people know how much you have achieved and the progress you have made in relation to your mental health? Nothing! There's nothing wrong with it at all! The reason why stigma and discrimination around mental illness exists is because of articles like these. The only way we can stamp out the stigma that surrounds Mental Illness is by talking about it and getting that conversation going. And what better way to do that in the 21st century than on social media?
3. You list it in your bio
Fun fact! I list the fact that I am fighting OCD in my bios on social media, that does not mean I am looking for attention, quite the opposite. I'm an MH advocate; it's what I'm most passionate about and something I feel very strongly about. I choose to put it in my bio, not because I don't have anything else interesting to say but the fact that it is a massive part of my identity. I want other people to know that they are not alone, they are not crazy and that there are other people out there who understand what you're going through.
4. Your definition of illness changes all the time
This relates back to the first point I made; no one is in a constant emotional state. We all have good days and bad days. Sometimes the sun is shining and sometimes the sun is not shining. It's the same for mental illness; somedays mental illness knocks you right down to the floor, and even the smallest of tasks are painful. Other days, you have to get up and get things done. You find that little bit of courage or motivation to put on a brave face and carry on as normally as you can. This doesn't depend on how ' sick you want to appear' nobody wants to appear sick and it's just wrong to assume that people with mental illness do.
5. When it's convenient, your illness takes a back seat
They use a date example in their article, which makes no sense at all because of course, you want to appear confident and happy. Anyone would, whether they have a mental illness or not. It's human nature to want to make yourself appear in the best possible light. That doesn't mean your mental illness is made up for attention. For all you know, they could have been crying all day before coming out, having multiple panic attacks because they were so nervous or carrying out compulsive behaviors for most of the day. You can't assume that just because someone puts on a front for an hour and a half while they are on a date, that they are making their mental illness up for attention.
6. You think it's ' controversial' to talk about
Okay first things first, this point doesn't make any sense. The author previously made the point that it was wrong to bang on about your mental illness on social media but now they are implying that it's fine and you shouldn't be ashamed to talk about it. They state that everyone is open about their mental illness, which isn't true at all! Millions of people suffer in silence with mental illness. So I don't know what this person is banging on about and I can't be bothered to argue with someone who doesn't even have their facts right.
7. Even though your relationships have clear patterns, you don't accept that they may be fault
I don't get why the author of this article, included this point because I don't see any relevance to mental illness. Even people who have never experienced any mental illness in their life can blame their relationship problems on others, even if it clearly was their fault. People with mental illness can do the same; I can't deny that fact but just because they have a mental illness it doesn't make them any more likely to this. It's also important to note that some mental illnesses such as PSTD and paranoia, may result in them questioning everything and making unrealistic judgments about their partner and their safety but that's just another element of the illness in its self.
8. You constantly post baiting things, so people will ask what's wrong
I will often share on social media if I'm having a bad day, or I'm upset, etc. But I'm not looking for attention. I have a right to share how I'm feeling and my mood on social media, and I will exercise that right. I do it for many different reasons; one being that I want people to know that they are not alone. They can see that I'm a real person, with real emotions and even though I may have a considerable social media presence it doesn't mean I'm immune from the struggles of mental illness. And secondly, it helps raise awareness of mental illness. It gives people a real, understanding of what it's like to suffer from a mental illness, something which they might not have much knowledge about. Nowhere in my intentions is to seek attention.
9. You're not really trying to get better
This is just the cherry on the bloody cake, isn't it? If you didn't think this person's article couldn't get any worse? It just did! This person clearly has a very lackluster understanding of mental illness and clearly, has never suffered from a mental illness themselves. It's very evident that they don't understand the sheer amount of work and effort that goes into recovery. Recovery is not a simple process, it takes months, years and sometimes the whole of a people's life to recover. Yes, it's hard work. Yes, it may not look like we're always trying but I can assure you that if you spent a day in any person's head who has a mental illness, you would soon realize it's a lot harder than it looks. Nobody with a mental illness wants their mental illness. Everyone with a mental illness wants to get better. Being mentally ill isn't fun or interesting, and it's just completely disrespectful to assume that it is.
See what I mean? It's pretty bad, isn't it? Words can't describe how angry his article even exists!
What are your views on the article? I would love to know your opinions in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, as always x