We have the power as a community to stand up for ourselves. We can fight back against the stigma and discrimination perpetuated by these miscreants. We can block them from our social media sites. We can report their activity to the appropriate authorities. Ignoring a bully will do nothing more than encourage them. Action must be taken. We can talk with our therapists about the effect these bullies have on us. We can deal with the repercussions of online hate. We don’t have to crumble. We have one another. We have the voice of solidarity. Speak up.
With the help of family and friends I’ve gotten to where I can give love and give back. I’m here today because life is a miracle. If you live with a mental illness, take care of yourself; keep pushing and gifts will appear. Find a therapist or counselor you can talk to. Stay in school! Don’t give up; try try try again.
As a person living with schizophrenia, I am very excited about this year’s World Mental Health Day. Knowing that conversations will take place all around this fantastic planet gives me hope for a future where the gift of reality is not taken for granted, but granted a wider audience.
I recognize now that I’m a great friend who often makes poor choices when selecting relationships. I’m outgoing, gracious and generous with my time and energy, but with a mental health diagnoses that often scares the hell out of people, I found myself with many quick to start, short-lived acquaintances. These people didn’t truly care or more likely didn’t have time to earn a spot on my support list. As a result, despite knowing many people, my circle of true friends sometimes felt – even to this day — slim. And that’s okay.
My views on law enforcement and mental health were shaped primarily by what I read in the news and our own, increasingly frequent, personal experiences. In the media it seemed that rarely a month went by without some tragedy involving an encounter between police and a person with a mental illness.
I recently began speaking openly about my mental health diagnoses. After living in fear of stigma for 17 years, this opportunity to join the conversation has been rewarding on many levels. It struck me, however, that while I often cite my highly valued support system, I’ve said little about this team of family and friends.
Why is this group of people so important? Who are they and what have they done to help? What are the challenges for not only the diagnosed but for those offering help and guidance?