Monday, October 05, 2015

Raw

Just when I had some time to post, we had another mass shooting tragedy - this time three hours away.

These have become so common that we weren't flooded with messages from friends and family. Another day, another body count, another group of people jumping in with politics.

How to express how we feel? Raw. Hurt. Outraged.

I work in mental health advocacy and I live with major depression. After the initial shock of hearing what happened on the radio, we had to prepare for the inevitable media idiocy.

Please question your news agencies and the information that spreads like wildfire. The fact is that study after study has shown that people living with mental illness - like me - are much more likely to be the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators of it. When we are the perpetrators, we are overwhelmingly more likely to harm ourselves.


One of my friends said it very well: "When it's a white guy who is the perpetrator of something like this, they say it's mental illness. When it's someone of any other color, they say it's terrorism."

The definition of "mental illness" is a misnomer. The majority of the time, you won't know when someone is living with something in the DSM 5.

Someone you know - a family member, a coworker, a friend, a neighbor - lives with some type of mental illness. Does that change how you feel about them?

The same week, we had a conversation with a local high school that was producing a program called "Insanity." They had students dressing up in straightjackets and sold sweatshirts with the name of the high school that said "Psychiatric Hospital" after the name. They responded to our concerns very quickly, but it still stings that people mock and fear illness in your brain rather than illness anywhere else in your body.

We're not monsters. We're your friends, and neighbors, and right now, we are grieving. It would be nice to see some real data and real solutions offered up rather than fear mongering.

If you suspect someone you know is having mental health issues, be kind. Offer them support. It will be appreciated more than you think.

16 comments:

Birdie said...

Thank you for this. You know. And that means everything.

Elephant's Child said...

And another heartfelt thank you from here.

A Beer For The Shower said...

Wonderfully said and so very true. It just kills me that people bring up mental illness when this sort of thing happens, as if it's a major cause, but then they STILL don't take any action to help fight it. They simply point fingers. That's not a solution for mental illness OR for mass shootings.

G. B. Miller said...

Excellent points.

Father Nature's Corner

Lee said...

Well said, RK....well said...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

People are always so quick to scapegoat. Easier than thinking, I guess.

Charles Gramlich said...

Well said. Too often this is not recognized at all.

HBF said...

Yes, yes, yes! We are spinning our wheels with this because people are afraid to get down and dirty and dig deep, actually feel and think and own this... Thank you for posting this perspective.

Jono said...

We should be smart enough to figure this out and kind enough to do something about it.

Lynn said...

I know - I wish someone could have helped this man.

Granny Annie said...

We cannot take cover all the time. 90% of every group is dealing with the day-to-day. It is the other 10% that makes the headlines. Be it a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, 10% will be dishonest or off track and the rest of us in our particular group suffer the media consequences. It's all about BREAKING NEWS!

Abby said...

I always think what an awful place this guy and others were in to come to that end. Thanks for the reminder.

klahanie said...

Hi Riot Kitty,

Finally, I got here and your post resonates very much with me. Ah yes, mental illness, a condition no so easily defined such as a broken leg.

What folks need to realise is that anybody can have a mental health concern. Be it genetic, environmental, or a combination of both. As an active campaigner to eliminate the unfair stigma still attached to mental health issues, I applaud you for this timely post. October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

You are so right, reach out to those who are struggling with their condition. I know that I try to live with rather than suffer from my mental illness. It's only a small part of who I am.

We truly are all in this together. Thank you for a thoughtful post, my kind friend.

Gary

Blue Grumpster said...

Amen. People are scared. Period. And they are intolerant. Scared and intolerant. What a great combo. Good thing it doesn't make me blue.

Good post.

LL Cool Joe said...

Beautifully said R Kitty. There is so much ignorance surrounding mental illness. Very, very sad. The work you do is so important.

Bohemian said...

Great Post... we have several family members diagnosed with Mental Illness... and the Social Stigmas and biases abound throughout the Generations unabated. I raised two Children who were diagnosed SMI, and now I'm raising two of my Grandchildren also diagnosed. I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it is when the Schools still call incessantly to remind me of the Disability the G-Kid Force has, as if I don't know or can somehow wave a magic wand. I finally asked one day if my G-Child rolled up in a wheelchair if they would be incessantly calling me to say the Child still wasn't walking and what a damned inconvenience it was to them? Silence... yeah, I guess you wouldn't, right... that would be cruel and insensitive wouldn't it? We can only Hope and Pray that in the not too distant Future there will be more compassion, empathy and perhaps even understanding... or maybe even a real Magic Wand to take all disabling Life factors away from those battling serious health issues of any kind. Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian