Yesterday, I talked about how mental illness isn’t madness, despite being called that in the new Vogue Portugal issue. Today, I want to continue along the lines of pushing back against things that fuel the stigma surrounding mental illness by reminding people that it is not, nor should it ever be used as an insult.
I say this as the political season here in the United States is ramping up and the Democrats and President Trump have lobbed plenty of accusations at one another about their mental capacity. This is particularly disappointing to me since our elected officials should be high minded enough to focus on policy and not childish name-calling. Yet since that seems to be too high an expectation for both parties and their followers, perhaps we can at least avoid barbs that will sting the innocent and the vulnerable, barbs that will hurt those who are already busy fighting their own demons. After all, that battle is hard enough without having to fight against the demon of society’s stigma.
I would love to believe that someday, indeed someday soon, people treat mental illness with more respect. I hope it is viewed for the fight it is, and those who battle mental illness recognized for their toughness.
Because what is most heartbreaking for me when I watch mental illness be thrown about like an insult is the fact that it is so far from the truth. I battle demons every day, demons that only I can see. Sometimes it takes a deep dive into the well of energy to get out of bed, and somedays that well runs dry. Yet I fight on. And so do so many others. And if we can do that then everyone can sure as hell stop acting like it is something that should be used as a damn insult.