|Nominated by Quayla|
Mental illness. Is it just me, or are more and more people being diagnosed as "mentally ill"?
I'm not one to get offended over labels and names and words that might be considered offensive... You will, inevitably, offend someone, somewhere, no matter what word you use to refer to anything, and attempts by activists to ban certain words (I'm looking at you."Ban Bossy") irritates me just as much as the people who use these words to insult others.
Nevertheless, words do have power. It's the responsibility of the speaker to use his or her words wisely, and it's up to the listener (sometimes subconsciously) which words have an impact on them, either negatively or positively.
That's what I'll be focusing on most with this post: Responsibility of the speaker, and choice of the listener. Lovely Quayla from over at Mind of Quayla was kind enough to nominate me for the Understand Me Award, and being able to be proud of your differences is a subject I've always been passionate about, so I am very grateful to her for the nomination!
I'll start broadly, and say that being different, whether it's because you have some sort of condition or simply because you don't look or act like a certain group of people, is normal. It's normal and it's good.
To be yourself, and be proud of it, is one of the greatest things you could ever do. For both yourself and others. When you stop trying to fit in, when you stop trying to get others to like you by hiding certain parts of your personality, you're not only showing true strength and confidence, but you're giving the world a new person. An actual person who will contribute to society, instead of a pretender who holds it back.
Unfortunately, we all know that "being yourself" is so much easier said than done. It is very difficult to get past all of the barriers that exist and that keep you from being true to yourself. One of the biggest barriers are words, and the actions that typically follow them. Someone who is considered different will be treated as such, and most often it's not fun. People are mocked, bullied, and just overall treated very poorly when they're not exactly like another. When they don't share the same beliefs, or when they look strange to someone else, or when they do things that others don't, can't, or won't understand.
This is how some folks are. This is never going to change. There will always be people who don't understand, and who don't appreciate diversity. This is a part of life—and for any difference, this is extremely sad. But for mental illnesses and similar conditions, it's even more so.
You don't get to choose what you're born with. Someone didn't choose to be born without the ability to speak. Someone didn't choose to be born with severe anxiety. Nor depression, obsession, mood swings, etc.. They didn't choose these things, but they got them. How unfair is it to make their lives even more difficult by harassing them? Or acting as if they don't exist?
Someone with a "disorder" is human, just like you and me. Are they different? Yes, but as I've been saying, different isn't bad. Strange isn't bad. Weird isn't bad. Heck, some of the brightest people I know were diagnosed with some kind of disorder that way too many folks would shiver at. Autism, ADHD (aren't all kids diagnosed with this now?), Tourettes, OCD (I can tell this runs in my family LOL), phobias of all sorts, the list goes on.
People who are born with one of these so-called disorders or illnesses have to learn to cope with them. And with the reactions from others. This can do one of two things: It can create a person who is strong, able to overcome anything that is thrown at them. Or, it can create a person who feels alone, that no one understands, and they're just an unwanted anomaly. Usually, in the end, the person has experienced both.
But since there will always be those bad apples in every group, those who feel the need to bring you down for your differences, it's up to you to protect yourself against their impact. Filter it. Thank those who are kind to you, and ignore those who aren't. Be strong. Build your confidence. Learn to love yourself, your flaws and your imperfections. They make you who you are!
(Another thing that's easier said than done, but if you can do that, you're already stronger than those throwing insults!)
Believe me, I'm far from mastering the "filter" thing I mentioned. It's hard to ignore hurtful comments. But it gets easier with some hard work and determination, and it's something that we can all work on together.
The world contains over 7 billion people. Each of us are brought up differently. We're from different countries, with different cultures. We have different backgrounds, and genetics, and all of that. Just think how boring the world would be if we were all alike!
Anyway... Just my opinion. As for nominations, I saw no details relating to rules—I'm sure Quayla wouldn't mind if I passed this on to anyone willing to create a post.
Thanks again, Quayla, for the nomination! I'll be displaying this award on my "About" page. :)