Mental illnesses do not define who we are
People that live with mental illnesses are not simply reduced to a diagnostic label found in a text book nor by people who have difficulties looking beyond the surface
Living with a mental illness does not automatically equally incompetence, a low IQ, poor boundaries, laziness, malingering, difficult, dishonest nor unworthy or undeserving of life’s wonderful and fulfilling achievements
It’s important for people living with mental illnesses to realize and be cognizant that the federal government provides funding resources so that states in the U.S. can provide much needed services that will enhance the lives of the people being discused.
Furthermore, if we did not exist, just as if diabetes, the facilities, the funding nor the jobs would exist
For years, I have been exposed to a way of thinking towards those living with mental illness that conflicts with my personal and academically influenced belief system.
For almost 2 decades, I have witnessed how human beings are reduced to pathology instead of individualism.
I am not defined, solely, on genetics nor a label and neither are reader’s.
I am a culmination of: my culture, belief system, experiences, accomplishments and yes some challenges
Interestingly, most of the human population are defined by a host of contributing factors ….not just one!
So, why does it appear that when it comes to mental illnesses some forget, whether intentional or not, that we are somehow incapable of contributing to every aspect of everyday living?
Einstein, former presidents, van gough, super stars and even professionals working in a variety of fields have been known to live with mental illnesses but are they famous for an illness or the contributions they have made to society? Contributions!
Yet, for the common person, it appears that more and more others have been trying to box us into one category and I fully disagree with these impossed categorical limitations = defining who we are!
Please, no matter where you are in life do not allow others to tell you who you are nor what you’re worth.
I, vividly recall when I graduated with an MSW a colleague telling me to my face “you were never meant to be a social worker”. I could not believe what I was hearing let alone feel so demoralized especially since I already had the job title because my colleagues with the same titles only had undergraduate degrees, where doing social work but I, the ill one, with an advanced degree was never meant? ????
I cannot respect people as such. They are a disappointment to human kind.
However, regardless of the sting and the sad reality that employer’s discriminate against us I stand firm!
I am worthy of everything I aspire to do and my illness does not, nor, will it ever define who I am and neither will an insensitive and biased person
We may not always feel great but we have names, careers, goals, relationships, and illnesses but this is representative of the human population.
Let’s not become immune to labels and always remember that no matter what the circumstances if we respect others we should expect the same.
In solidarity against stigma, oppression and discrimination :+)