Mental illness and the reactions.

Before I branch onto this very large topic I shall tell of my day. It was not too bad. I think part of the reason for this is because I didn’t have to spend my time in the library because my dad drove into a ditch. His eyes may be bad but if he thought for a second he would have got out but instead drove himself into a big hole, literally. Due to the fact he wasn’t concentrating. So I went back home and got into bed. Missing the library. I then had science and history. Both good, history as odd as always. Got a B on the test, little disappointed since I got an A* on the exam next year but least I know my head is just above water. My dad has his eye check up tomorrow and so because the bubbles and floaters haven’t gone he’s worried that they’re permanent. I said to him: “Dad you have like 3, 4 surgeries on your eye, you’re expecting a lot for it to be better in 5 weeks”. I also had a visual hallucination today which didn’t make a lot of sense since I was really only flirting with the line between mania and mixed episodes. It was a shadow boy, in my eyeline, crossing the road and I almost got my dad to stop the car again but I recognised he wasn’t real before I made him stop. It’s difficult because for a few long seconds you’re not sure. It’s difficult to argue with the evidence in front of us especially when it doesn’t disappear with blinking. But it’s something you have to be able to tell the difference between because it’s a dangerous thing to try and stop for something that’s not real in front of real, speeding cars. Also, I’ve been sleeping more since I’ve deterioated further but I still have nightmares which actually make my entire day worse and honestly, they are in my top 5 triggers. So I wish I was sleeping less. I sleep 4-5 hours at the moment, sometimes only 3. Which is good because I’m sleeping more but quantity doesn’t matter compared to quality and the quality is very poor. But at this current moment I am dipping in and out of mania and depression and from something I once read that is also part of mixed episodes.

So yes, mental illness and reactions. This is a general thing for anyone for mental illness because there IS a massive stigma and I didn’t realise that until I became openish about bipolar disorder. Maybe because I’ve never been around anyone who openly admits they’re mentally ill until now. But even I am shocked at the reactions of some.

I’ve found there are two extreme poles in this area: mocking, ignoring or patronizing and at the other end complete worry you’re going to fall off the wagon anytime soon so that you’re not allowed to do anything. Neither are very nice. But least the worrying makes sense because it means they care enough to worry and are sensitive enough to realise that it hurts. But if you need your freedom to be able to deal with your illness in your own way than it’s not very much welcomed.

But then there’s the mocking side of things. People think it’s okay to bring your illness up in front of everyone and the truth is whilst none of us should be embarrassed about it, I don’t think many people want to make it public knowledge. Then they make comments about how “you’re crazy” even if they put it in a positive light by saying “I don’t think we could be friends if you weren’t crazy.” As if it’s a unique trait, it’s not. It’s not a trait, it’s an illness. We wouldn’t glorify an infection or sickle cell anaemia so why have people come into this “mental illness as a fashion” thing. I don’t just mean eating disorder as to be skinny like a lot of models. I mean depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, BPD all sorts of mental illness being used as a fashion. The problem then arises that people, admittedly primarily teens then begin to fake mental illnesses, this is an article from the Mirror (A British Newspaper) from 2010:

MENTAL illness is the latest fashion accessory for teenagers, a survey revealed today.

Youngsters are faking serious conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression and self-harming in an attempt to look cool and copy celebrity sufferers.

The teens said stars such as Kerry Katona and Britney Spears, who have spoken about their problems, have been an influence.

An alarming 34% admitted lying about having a mental illness in the past, according to online therapy service mentaline.com.

The website’s founder Jesper Buch said: “It’s shocking that so many young people think mental health problems are fashionable.

“It’s a very sensitive topic, so to see that many teenagers are blasé about the whole thing isn’t good at all.

“Many young people are too quick to say ‘I’m depressed’ or try to gain attention by pretending to have some kind of personal issue. Your teenage years should be spent enjoying life, not convincing people that you have issues that should be taken extremely seriously.”

Almost half of those who thought mental illness fashionable claimed it made people “unique” while 24% said it was “cool”. But the majority, 61%, said it “should be taken very seriously”.

3The top five phantom problems were:

1. Eating disorders – 22%2. Self-harming – 17%3. Addiction – 13% 4. Depression – 12%5. Bipolar disorder– 9%

We could blame the celebrities that seem to glamourise it but do they glamourise it? Do any of them really glamourise it? Sure, some do but just because they have it. Just because they come forward to the world and say “hey, I have a mental illness”. But if they don’t come forward they’d be painted as people ashamed of their illness and a disgrace to everyone who suffers with their same illness and it’s just not true.

But because some teens act this way, all teenagers and young adults are tarred with the same brush. Go onto yahoo answers and any teen saying they are depressed are brushed off with teen angst. Some of them probably are just a case of teen angst but some of the people who are truly suffering now are ashamed to come forward to get help.

So in a way can we blame the people who see mental illness in others a glamourous feat? When it is portrayed so much in TV shows and the media and so inaccurately too. As much as I and I imagine many others hate people glamourising our illness, can we blame them fully? I suppose we can’t if we don’t tell them. But if you tell them (hinting doesn’t count) and they still do it, it’s them and not the media and some people still do it because they can’t see the pain. It’s not a cut on your hand, a line of stiches on your stomach or even a tumour on your lung, it’s inside your head and people can’t see it. They don’t even understand how it causes physical problems. Insomnia which causes sleep deprivation, forgetfullness, sluggishness, slow motor ability. So I think it’s a lack of education. We have started to educate children about racism, sexism and homophobia (which are all worthy causes) but what about discrimination against the mentally ill? The ones who not long ago were locked in bedrooms, put in ‘asylums’ and hidden as the poor relation and yet there is little education and the little education there is, is about one mental illness which is depression. Even then depression is either layed on too thick or too thin. So even though anxiety disorders are much more common, we only talk of depression because of the suicide rate but not everything is depression and that’s what the world needs to come to understand.

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7 thoughts on “Mental illness and the reactions.

  1. Understanding is becoming better, is it truly understanding though… there are more awareness days, social media, blogs such as yours Munchkin. 🙂 That draw some attention and people get glimmers of understanding. It will take time though, the mind scares people. Their ability to understand truly, what someone goes through with a mental disorder is just not there. The term mental has been abused so much that there is a stigma with just the word. The whispers and finger position that go with it.. so there is still a lack of understanding. Interesting choice for the blog, like the banana bread… I have been thinking of doing one like this soon. *hugs lots* I wonder if the name mental disorder is the problem. too simple? perhaps if it was something different people would react differently. Offer more help or support. Not shy away.

    *hugs again*

    • That is very true, it is becoming better. Some people are understanding of what they read. It’s just a large part of the people around majority of mentally ill people don’t know enough or it scares them (like you say) so they don’t want to learn anymore. Which is the worst part in a way because if they just read a quick symptom list on the internet and get scared. How are we supposed to feel? It needs to be publized in a way that makes people understand so they don’t pretend that think that pretending to have these illnesses is a fashion statement.

      Also another good point, there is too much stigma around the word mental: mental illness, mental case, mentally disabled and not that there is anything wrong with having any of these issues but people are again changing what these words mean. So instead of mentally disabled being used to describe people with an illness (I actually don’t like the term to describe people with an illness) but still that orignally is what the term was used for. Now it is used to describe people acting like idiots, being immature. Gay as another example of this. First it meant happy, then it meant someone homosexual and now it means doing something bad “We have to stay at school all day because the snows not coming until later.” “That’s gay.” “So he kept kicking my chair, he’s so damn annoying.” “ugh, he’s so gay sometimes.” and so of course homosexuality (or any other sexuality that isn’t heterosexual because heterosexual is the only one accepted by 99% of the population) is still looked on badly so whilst it is extremely rare for a homosexual to be physically beaten for their sexuality, it’s completely normal for them to be verbally abused. It’s needs to be publized more as an illness, not a bad or good thing. An illness. That’s all.

      Well, I had been wanting to write about this for a long time but that particular day, I’d talked to a friend who was really nice to me about my illness, a friend who just calls me crazy and then I’d read some comments on the topic of people pretending to have mental illnesses and I just needed to vent a little. You should write a blog about it. Would be interesting *nods*.

      I don’t think people would react different just because of how it’s being publized. You can call anything anything you want but if the media make it look slightly positive then people are going to do it. It’s the sad truth.

  2. It is an interesting phenomena that …. glamorizing and treating this illness (or any illness really) as a status symbol … or bizarre badgeof honor. When that happens … it does everyone a disservice – those that truely suffer … and those people who do not suffer, and no longer believe its debiltating effects because of the unthinking few.

    Tis a good blog Munchkin … a well deserved rant on the behaviors of some.

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