By: Researcher Taymur
When I first told anyone I was mentally sick, they responded unbelievingly. “What about you? “They asked. They asked. “You don’t appear to me to be that sick.” “Do not play the victim card carefully,” they said.
They invalidated me the second time that I told them I was mentally ill. “Sometimes we are all sad,” they replied. On countless occasions I was made to feel like my mental illness was my own. “You just got to be strong by it.” I didn’t try hard enough, I had to change my perspective, I didn’t look at all my possibilities, I exaggerated the amount of pain I was in, I just wanted sympathy.
They suggested that when I wasn’t psychologically healthy, it was obviously a matter for me that nothing was connected with the failing systems.
I had no connection to the biological, psychological and sociological elements that contribute to mental health in my “fault” of living a functioning and happy life. Actually, I seemed to always circulate to myself and to be seemingly unable to keep me down.
This gas lighting–the denial of my problems, which has brought me into question my own truth–has persuaded me for some time to believe that my mental illness is not true or actual.
Like many mentally ill people, once I stopped blaming and began to try the correct kind of support, I was unable to go on in my rehabilitation. But if the people around you are persuaded that you are doing something wrong, it could feel impossible.
A culture which routinely questions the seriousness of our diseases and the sincerity of our work which effectively blame the victim prevents many of us from getting the care we need.
And it’s the norm in this society in my experience.
These critiques I want to unpack. The truth is that they do not only affect me, they harm millions of people who deal with these diseases each day.
Here are four forms of blame for what people with mental health problems are experiencing and what we can learn from these harmful assumptions:
I remember my old psychiatrist saying: “Wouldn’t you have changed it now if your mental illness were just an attitude problem. “I thought you would not make yourself suffer so profoundly, and if the answer were that easy,” she said, “When I hesitated.” “And she had been wrong. I’ve been doing all I can. There was no lack of effort on my part in my challenges. If it meant finally getting better, I would have done nothing.
Individual people who have not suffered from mental illness sometimes conclude that mental illness can be resolved if you are trying hard enough. It is shown as a lack of willpower and a personal failure with a brushstroke.
Myths like these help people to become less effective as they focus on creating tools that support us, but instead give the person who struggles the full and complete responsibility to make solutions appear out of the sky.
But wouldn’t we have already done it, if we could alleviate our suffering alone? It’s not fun and it is important and even unbearable for many of us. It disrupts life. Mental disorders are actually one of the world’s leading causes of disability.
Instead of advocating a system that supports us, you put the burden on people with mental illness in danger of our lives.
Not only will we be less likely to look for help if we are to do it alone, but politicians also will not think twice about cutting back on support when it is viewed as a public health issue rather than a valid one.
If they leave people with mental illness, nobody wins.
It took me more than a decade to get the correct treatment for my symptoms.
And that repeats: more than 10 years.
My claim is outstanding. Most people will only take years to look for help for the first time, and many people will never be treated.
This deficit in care may account for the large rate in people living with mental illness in this country of drops, hospitalization, imprisonment or homelessness.
It is misleading to believe that a good therapist and a drug or two will quickly fix this condition when you are dealing with mental health.
But that’s all:
the stigma and cultural norms have not discouraged you to find aid in which neurodivergence can be treated geographically and financially as a disease is a framework which can serve you or alternatives with which you can access adequate insurance OR resources for people without it, that can help you to navigate these systems.
You’re able to last years of testing various treatments to find out what works you have positive relationships with professionals leading your rehabilitation… which only occurs after weeks and months being ready to sit on the waiting list to see the doctors first, and you can reach out for medical resources earlier (such as the emergency room).
Sounds like a great deal? This is because it is. This is because it is. And by no length is this even a complete list.
Obviously, if you are disadvantaged in adding, forget about it. You need a culturally competent person to recognize your particular challenges, and not only to wait for a clinician to meet you.
This is damn near impossible for many of us, as psychiatry as a profession is still dominated by clinicians who hold a lot of privilege and can replicate these hierarchies in their work.
Nonetheless, it is believed they don’t try hard enough or want to get better than the laundry list that mentally ill people don’t get help instead.
This is a mistake designed to prevent us from getting care and perpetuate a system that is not properly or mercifully serving us.
The implicit message that those who are mentally ill are not allowed to feel discouraged goes beyond all the desire to’ seek’ and all the recommendations, that we never do really’ sufficiently.’
We cannot briefly give up hanging our gloves and say, “It doesn’t work, and I’m tired.” It immediately becomes our fault that things don’t change when we’re continuously “on” and working on reconstruction. Wouldn’t things be that way if we’d just make the effort.
No matter we are human beings, sometimes it’s just too hard or daunting to start.
A culture that treats mental health as lack of effort is a culture in which people with mental illness cannot be totally humane and vulnerable.
It states that our effort is our sole and constant responsibility and that we are unable to have moments of sorrow or fear. We can’t be human, in other words.
It is unrealistic and unfairly to expect mentally ill people to do something wrong if they aren’t constantly in motion, especially given the level of dysfunction it can make it nearly impossible for us to defend themselves.
It’s true to be discouraged. Feeling scared is true. It’s valid to feel exhausted.
There are a whole host of emotions which come with recovery, and some of people who are humanizing mentally ill have to keep the room for these emotions.
Recovery is a dissuasive, scary and tiring process that the most resilient of us can wear down. This has nothing to do with the psychological disabilities of the patient and all to do with the nature of dealing with those illnesses.
You suggest that if we’re not subhuman or invulnerable, our suffering is justified, whether you fault us for not doing more or not demonizing those moments in which we think we are most humiliated or defaced.
It’s right. This is not something we deserve.
Or we didn’t ask for it, of course.
Here’s one-way mental ill people can’t win over: either we are too “functional” by appearances and therefore apologize for our shortcomings, or we are too “dysfunctional.”
In either case, people tell us that the problem lies with us so in all cases, rather than understanding the influence of mental illness on us.
In a way that is dehumanizing, it personalizes our struggles. It is our job to deal with it instead of the collective responsibility and the moral obligation of society to create mechanisms that enable us to heal. We are either dishonest or insane.
In categorically denying the validity of our suffering and pushing people onto the margins of an irredeemably lost person with a mental health issue, then they no longer have to be held accountable for what happens when our systems fail. If you ask me this is terribly convenient.
It’s not only a matter of shame, it’s hurting people who blame for mental illness directly.
We perpetuate the fighting and stigma with which we live every day through blame for people with intellectual disorders rather than a system and culture that constantly fails us.
Better than this, we can do. And if we want to live in a culture in which all of us have access to mental health, we will need it.
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