Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Words That Hurt the Most

The Words That Hurt the Most
By K. Rodgers
We Need to Sensitize and Educate Society About Mental Illness
I know it is coming as it has before and it will again. Those words. It comes in many different forms—whether it is said in conversation or typed on a social media page. It doesn't make the sting of those words any less bearable by a true diagnosed sufferer; a diagnosed sufferer. The words are generally fashioned like so: “I know I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) too! I have to go back and always check to make sure I turned the curling iron off in the mornings even though I know I checked it and I wash my hands so many times a day!” I sometimes think it takes every ounce of my being to not educate everyone and anyone about the real turmoil that my diagnosed illness causes.
It is 2015 and I see no difference in the harshness of these words uttered today than a gay person would have of the phrase “you're so gay” in the 90's when it was most commonly used. The gay community has come such a long way, why must those with mental illness be left in the dust? Are we not worthy of a little dignity and respect? I could easily argue with medical findings that I did not choose this way of life just as homosexuals have argued for years that they did not choose theirs.
Since my initial diagnoses in 2008, I have become very open with my mental illness in hopes that it may help others. I am a sufferer of OCD, which in turn causes anxiety and depression. Some people who often throw these statements around may in fact actually have a true mental illness themselves. For those people I am always hoping that if my story doesn't push them to seek help, something or someone will. For those of us who have pursued the help we need, participated in hours of therapy sessions, and who have gone through a multitude of psychiatrists trying to nail down a stable medication combination, I cringe at these statements.
The effort that goes into therapy, physician appointments, medication combinations and changes, on top of all these thoughts that consume your mind, that cause you to stop your daily life to carry out so-called rituals is enough to drive anyone into a suicidal state. Oftentimes, this is followed by more hospitalizations.
People who are not knowledgeable about the illness, which they claim to have, utter the words, “Suicide is a selfish act.” Clearly anyone who ends their own life is not in a sound state of mind. Those who do not suffer from a mental illness and have never dropped to these depths may not understand that suicidal individuals are not thinking of the act as selfishness but as selfless. Once the thought and plan of suicide enters into one's head, it is very difficult to ever forget that plan. The problem or situation that existed to push one to those thoughts and actions may become better over time, but the ideas or plans stick for a very long time. Perhaps their entire life.
I urge those who are true sufferers like me to try and rise above people and their ignorant words, for they do not know what they say. The uneducated and those who believe themselves mentally ill can only hold us back as a community if we allow them to. I want people to understand us. I wish the world would shine a spotlight on mental illness so that it can be accepted today as so many other things have become accepted in daily life. I believe that a huge movement by the mental health community would help foster acceptance of our conditions. However, I am also aware that there will always be people who are not willing to change their way of thinking and accept their loved ones or friends who are suffering daily.
In summary, I would like to quote a very famous person who is known for her courage and generosity and not by her sexual orientation, in hopes that one day there will be someone famous, generous, and courageous who is seen for their strengths rather than their mental illness. “Be Kind to one another,” Ellen DeGeneres.

Pullout: “I urge those who are true sufferers like me to try and rise above people and their ignorant words, for they do not know what they say.”

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