I kind of doubt a lot of people will agree with this entry in its entirety, and it might go a bit all over the place, but it’s what’s been on my mind for about the past month.
Okay, first of all, some people have mental disorders. Since I’m trying to stick to what I know here, I’ll focus mainly on depression and bipolar. Once you have been diagnosed with either, there is a long process of figuring out how to be able to live your life without it being taken over. Medication works for some people. Therapy works for some people. Electroconvulsive therapy works for some people. There are more. But the real challenge of these disorders is dealing with other people. I do not like to hide that I am bipolar. I accept it as a part of me, and feel that to say otherwise just to make other people more comfortable, or like me better, or anything, would be as much of a disservice to myself as hiding my sexual orientation.
So if someone asks, I’ll tell them. I am also perfectly happy to say that I am not on meds, and that I only go to therapy to please my school. I will then explain how I have learned to deal with my mood swings through being ultra-aware of my mood, and how my friends and family are more helpful than a therapist has ever been. However, there are always the people who will not trust me to function. I know that my methods will not work for everyone, just the way medication, ECT, and therapy work for some people but not others. This does not make me any less healthy. It does not invalidate the work I do, and it does not mean I should be living at home with my parents “just in case.”
If the conversation turns to the past, I may mention that I used to be suicidal. Here I run into two problems. 1) Sometimes people assume I am still suicidal, and 2) a lot of people believe you have to be insane to want to kill yourself. The first one I mostly attribute to my choice to not take medication. The people who think I am still suicidal would most likely be comforted with the sentence “I used to be suicidal, but I’m taking medication now.” The first one is irritating, but fairly easy to work around. The second one is what really worries me. Thinking that a suicidal person has to have something wrong with their brain, even temporarily, is a huge insult to the feelings and reasons of that person, whether they attempt, succeed, or just consider it. It is rather egotistical as well. Pretty much, you are saying that because you do not understand the motivations or emotions of that person, that person has something wrong with them. Of course it is fine to help that person, and prevent them from harming themself, but the moment you get into “they must be crazy” territory, you are dismissing some of the strongest pain and emotions they will ever have. Everyone has their breaking point. They do not have to have any sort of mental illness to hit it. There is only so much each person can take before thoughts of a better future can’t comfort them anymore. When this happens, I see suicide as a form of self-defence. Hopefully, it will not end with suicide, but sometimes it does, and we need to respect the decision made as being theirs.
-20 minutes left.