I’ve spent the last few days trying to process my thoughts. Well, these have been thoughts I’ve been processing the last ten years, and thoughts I will continue to process for the rest of my life. I’m going to do my best to not let this blog get too long. I want to just give the basic idea of what I’m trying to say. This will be in relation to my it’s real blog. But I have more to say (shocker).
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Social Anxiety Phobia
This shows way, way more, these listed are just SOME of the common disorders.
Now that you’ve opened that tab… Are you shocked? Isn’t it crazy that there are so many? Do you even believe there are that many? Go to the site and click on whichever one you want, it will direct you to a page with about ten other options to click. Crazy, huh? It’s almost like mental illness is a REAL, and big issue.
The other day I went and saw the movie Split. I’m very sure that you’ve heard of it. Based off of the trailer it looks as though a guy abducts three girls and you get the impression that he has multiple personalities.
*may accidentally give some spoilers*
Within the movie, however, you learn that he has DID (dissociative identity disorder)— which in simple terms means: Characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality identities. Each may have a unique name, personal history, and characteristics. ~Mayo Clinic
This disorder is rare, with fewer than 200,000 US cases per year. In comparison, generalized anxiety disorder is very common, with more than 3 million US cases per year. So, yeah, you don’t come across it often.
This movie takes the disorder to the extreme and gives Kevin(main character) 24 identities. Except the 24th isn’t revealed until the end of the movie. While watching the movie, I was in a packed theater. Throughout, when things would happen with Kevin—and his other identities— people would laugh. He would have a misstep with his disorder and people found this to be funny.
Specifically, he had an identity who was a nine-year-old boy, named Hedwig. Whenever Hedwig was on screen, well he acted like a nine-year-old boy— except he was inside the body of a thirty-year-old man. This came across as very funny to the people surrounding me; and to almost everyone else online. The amount of memes I’ve seen regarding Hedwig have really been testing my patience; the amount of memes I’ve seen about the movie in general, really.
They have taken a mental illness and portrayed it in a way that causes others to not only laugh at it, but also fear it. Kevin’s 24th identity was referred to as “the beast”.
I’m going to say this next thing trying not to give off any big events in the movie. The girls that were abducted didn’t get abducted on some random act. They were watched— well, two of the girls were watched. The third happened to be there by coincidence. The two were picked because they had hearts that were impure; in other words, they had never really suffered in their lives.
As the movie plays out “the beast” comes to realize that the third girl he had abducted was pure. She had spent her whole life suffering. So he didn’t hurt her— he walked away from her. When he first realized that she did suffer, he said something to her I’ll never forget. I don’t remember the exact line, but it was something like this: “The pure and broken are the more evolved.”
The pure and broken are the more evolved…
I felt like I’d just been struck upside the head when I heard that. How much more brutally honest could you get when it comes to mental illness— when it comes to any kind of suffering in general?
But, right now, I want to talk about mental illness specifically. I know there are countless amounts of people who don’t see mental illness as a real issue. They don’t understand why schools have “safe places” for the students; or why someone is constantly washing their hands; or why some seem to have no friends and don’t go out unless they have to; or why others have scars, visible or not.
As someone who does have a few mental illnesses, I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say: we don’t need you to understand exactly what we are going through— that’s impossible unless you are going through it too; we just need you to ACKNOWLEDGE it. We need you to accept its existence. Stop portraying us in ways where we are the star of a horror movie.
My dad has continued to remind me that when people are afraid, they laugh; when they can’t wrap their heads around something, they fail to even notice its existence, or they turn it into a joke. So with this movie, I got so pissed off in the movie theater hearing people laugh at Kevin’s DID. I get pissed when I see memes all over social media. It’s not a freaking joke. This mental illness portrayed in the move is something that people deal with every-single-day. EVERYDAY. When you laugh at and mock at it, how do you think the people who actually have it are reacting to all the memes floating around?
This isn’t only true for this movie or this mental illness. This is true for every mental illness in existence. People constantly claiming depression isn’t real; claiming anxiety is all in your head— you have the power to stop it with a snap of your fingers; claiming they have OCD too because they like to color-coordinate things; claiming someone can’t take on the identity of a nine-year-old boy, as a thirty-year-old man… YOU, my friend, are the problem.
Here are a couple points from a 48-page powerpoint I found:
- As many as 450 million people suffer from a mental or behavioral disorder.
Nearly 1 million people commit suicide every year.
- Four of the six leading causes of years lived with disability are due to neuropsychiatric disorders (depression, alcohol-use disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder).
- One in four families has at least one member with a mental disorder. Family members are often the primary caregivers of people with mental disorders. The extent of the burden of mental disorders on family members is difficult to assess and quantify, and is consequently often ignored. However, it does have a significant impact on the family’s quality of life.
- In addition to the health and social costs, those suffering from mental illnesses are also victims of human rights violations, stigma and discrimination, both inside and outside psychiatric institutions.
450 million people… That’s a lot of people being shoved into a corner and portrayed as crazy by a majority of society. It’s exhausting constantly having to explain yourself to other people.
Why are you so tired all the time? I know you sleep.
Why do you have to sit and debate between two of the exact same shampoos?
Why did you just run off to the bathroom crying in the middle of class?
Why don’t you ever come out with us?
Why can’t you stand certain sounds?
Why do you freak out so much letting other people drive?
Why can’t you stop moving the things surrounding you millimeters away from where they originally were?
Why can’t you stop bouncing your leg up and down?
How do you notice the smallest changes with the things, and the people around you?
Why don’t you smile very often?
How come you sometimes seem to fall off the face of the planet for a few days?
Why do you still sleep with your teddybear?
Why can’t you sleep with your bedroom door open?
Why are your reflexes so fast?
How come when I motion towards you, your instant response is to defend yourself?
Why do you seem to feel things so much more than others?
Why don’t you like people touching your face?
How come when someone gets a fingerprint or smudge on your glasses, it pisses you off to a point of anger?
I could literally go on forever. These are just some questions I have heard… Many, many times. Let me just add that these questions aren’t asked in an innocent way, they are asked in a very judgmental and sarcastic way…
I was just going to type the questions, but I feel like they deserve answers. So, in tomorrows blog, I’m going to take those questions, add more, and answer them.
But back to the topic. I don’t expect everyone to understand. That’s not my goal. My goal is to make people more aware that these things exist. My goal is to be able to answer all of these questions for people, in a setting where they are genuinely curious and not judging my every move; a setting where they aren’t asking me in an attempt to piss me off, but in an attempt to truly understand.
I’m not faulting everyone. Some people innocently push mentally ill people into a corner because they really don’t know what else to do. They don’t know what mental illness really is. The only thing they know is that we are different from them. And due to the way most of the world portrays mental illness, we are different from them in a crazy way.
The thing I struggle with in my mind is: why don’t people try and get a better understanding for mental illness, instead of judging what they think it is? Instead of making us feel crazy by constantly saying it isn’t real, why don’t you open your eyes and see just how real it is. I promise, if you just open your eyes to the fact of it being real, it’s not hard to see at all. In fact, it’s obvious. The things people go through right in front of your face, everyday, if you just pay a bit more attention— will blow your mind. It may be a bit harder to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for. People who do have mental illness have figured out ways to make it less obvious to outsiders. It’s easier for no one to know, rather than having the wrong person know and judge you for it.
Okay, so I’m going to stop there and break this down into two parts. If I were to keep writing, it would be way too long for one post. So I’ll post part two tomorrow, and insert my answers to those questions at the end of it.
PLEASE, if you have any questions you want me to add to the list— ask them. I want to answer as many things as I possibly can. Just comment underneath my blog on WordPress and I will answer them; if there are any to answer.