So I was watching People’s Court this afternoon with my mom, as I do most afternoons, and the case caught my attention. Not just because dogs were involved, but the defendant claimed that the plaintiff was a bipolar who likes to drink.
"A bipolar who likes to drink? Wow. That’s not good."
"Yeah, that’s bad."
My mom and I were both aware of how bad the mix of alcohol and bipolar is, because I’m bipolar. While we never experienced me with alcohol, we were told by every doctor and therapist I’ve ever seen not to drink. It just causes problems.
So the case continued on. The plaintiff won, and they went out into the hallway for their little interviews. The defendant was first and I mostly tuned out his bullshit until the interviewer asked him what he had learned.
"Don’t trust mentally ill people."
HOLD THE FUCK UP.
DON’T TRUST MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE?!
I’ve lived with mental illness my entire life. If it wasn’t me, it was someone around me. Anxiety tortured me my entire life and once I turned 15, bipolar disorder decided to rear its ugly head. My mom has anxiety and suffered from post partum depression after she had me (I think she cursed me tbh), my dad has OCD, my aunt, uncle, and grandma all have depression, my cousin is bipolar… Basically, mental illness runs in my family. In a way, I’m lucky to have been surrounded my whole life. I learned from a very young age that mentally ill people are no more dangerous, untrustoworthy, unreliable, or “crazy” than the average person. They simply have brain boo boos. Something went wrong. They struggle. They have problems.
But doesn’t everybody?
Hearing this guy say that you shouldn’t trust mentally ill people made my blood boil. This guy has one bad incident with a mentally ill guy (who wasn’t taking care of his mental illness, by the way) and suddenly all mentally ill people are untrustworthy?
I’ve got something to say to this asshole.
Throughout the five years of depression and four years of cutting that I suffered through, I graduated high school with the highest of honors, a 3.9 GPA, a 30 on the ACT, and a full ride scholarship. I kept up the 3.75 GPA needed to keep the scholarship through two suicide attempts and two 1 week hospitalizations. I kept a job for two years and two jobs for four months. I remained close with my friends and my family. I functioned at a normal level when all I could think about 24/7 was killing myself. I trust myself to make it through anything my illness throws at me.
My dad has had severe OCD for 15 years. And yet he continues to bring in over $100,000 a year and provide for my mom, my little sister and I. He never misses work. He doesn’t take sick days. He works and works and works and works until his mind is killing him. I trust him with my life.
My mom has anxiety and had severe post partum depression after she had me. And yet she somehow managed to raise 3 children. She managed to cook for us, clean for us, drive us everywhere we needed to go, take care of us when we were sick, and be there for us whenever we needed her. My sister is 17, I’m 20, and my brother is 23 and yet she still takes care of us like we’re little kids. She invites my brother over, who has moved out, and cooks for him and gives him things so he doesn’t have to buy them himself. She still pays his cell phone bill and together with my dad, they’ve paid for his entire wedding. I don’t trust anyone as much I trust my mother.
My cousin, who has such severe bipolar disorder that he was institutionalized for months on several occasions, is graduating high school on his 18th birthday. He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met. I trust him.
My friend from college suffers from really bad anxiety and depression. I’ve seen how he gets when he’s triggered. He suffers so much. He’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. He’s a psychology major and we both took an intro to counseling class. During the roleplays, he was the best at playing therapist. He’s extremely empathetic and I know he’s going to be an amazing therapist someday. I would trust him as a therapist whole heartedly.
A girl I knew a few months back but lost touch with had schizophrenia. I never heard the details, but I know she suffered. She had a bachelors degree in psychology. Even with all the hell she went through, she got through college. I’d trust anybody who could do that.
My dear friend Joy, who runs the blog I admin, healing-and-recovery, has been through so much hell that I can’t even fathom it. And yet she remains more positive than anyone else I’ve ever seen in my life. Despite everything she’s been through, she’s willing to help others so that they don’t have to go through what she’s been through. I trust her with my life.
My best friend Shannyn has suffered from horrible germophobia and depression for years. I can see how much she suffers every time she has to clean something extra good or eat something with a napkin so she doesn’t touch the food. Yet she’s 19 years old and living on her own with her girlfriend and their beautiful cats. She came out of the closet in high school and suffered through two years of discrimination simply because of who she loves. She’s been there for me through everything, despite what she was going through. She survived an abusive relationship and came out on top. She is the strongest person I’ve ever met in my whole entire life. She is my hero, and I’d trust her with my child’s life.
Demi Lovato suffers from bipolar disorder and bulimia, with a past problem with substance abuse. And yet look at her career. Look at how far she’s come. Look at how she’s become an advocate for mentally ill people and inspired people everywhere to speak out. She’s a true hero, and trustworthy at that.
ABRAHAM FUCKING LINCOLN. HE SUFFERED FROM DEPRESSION AND YET SOMEHOW FREED THE SLAVES AND GOT US THROUGH A WAR THAT COULD HAVE TORN OUR COUNTRY APART. WHO, BESIDES SLAVE OWNERS OBVIOUSLY, DIDN’T TRUST ABRAHAM FUCKING LINCOLN?
The point I’m trying to make here is that clumping all mentally ill people into one category and saying they’re “untrustworthy” or “crazy” or “dangerous” is just ridiculous. In fact, if you look throughout history, some of the most successful and creative people have been severely mentally ill. Our brains don’t work the same as everybody else’s, but so what? The complexity of the human brain is as hard to fathom as the size of the universe and yet we’re this skeptical and discriminatory when things go wrong?
Living with a mental illness is fucking hard, and having people make ridiculous statements like “don’t trust a mentally ill person” doesn’t make it any easier. People don’t realize that we fight every day just to keep our composure. Just to function “normally,” we have to work really fucking hard. I take 6 to 7 medications a day, depending on how bad my anxiety is, and was in intensive weekly therapy for months. And yet I still feel as though I’m below normal functioning.
We work our asses off to be “just like everybody else” and this is the response we get? We take pills, go to therapy, classes, groups, fucking electrocute our brains and all people can say is “don’t trust mentally ill people”?
Well you know what I say? Don’t trust someone who discriminates against an entire group of people. Don’t trust someone who spews ignorant bullshit instead of taking the time to educate themselves. Don’t trust someone who won’t trust you because of something you can’t help.
Humanity thrives on the fact that we’re all different. We progress because we all live with our own perceptions, realities, thoughts, dreams, ideas. Our consciousness is ours and ours alone. No one thinks the same way that we do. Everyone in this world has something to offer, and yet we’re going to discredit an entire group of people just because their brains work differently? Doesn’t everybody’s?
Isn’t that the point?
Embrace who you are. Embrace your skin color, your body shape, your hair, your eyes, the size of your nose and feet, your brain, your strengths, your weaknesses, your illnesses, your realities, your perceptions, and share yourself with the world. I don’t care about your differences, and every other decent person alive won’t either.
Be yourself and fuck those who don’t like it.