(me! 😀 ❤ I really have blue eyes with green splashes but for a few days recently, they were green! 😱)
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Yesterday I received two very unpleasant comments, one in person, by someone I know and have liked a lot since i met her and one online by a stranger. The online comment was vicious and intended to be callous and the in-person comment was meant to be compassionate but I find it devastating and thoughtless. I’m extremely open about my struggle with severe depression and psychosis and the things relating to it, both online and in person. I never try to conceal it out of embarrassment or what people may think but I also dont go out of my way to bring it up usually, not because I dont want to necessarily; it’s just there’s not always an opportunity or thought to bring it up. I don’t constantly talk or think about my depressive illness. I just get to talking about it when it happens to come up somehow. I keep my social media accounts public and post about it sometimes, so anyone has access to it. But not everyone who knows me knows about my condition. I am very happy in general when I’m not depressed and even when I am depressed, I am still naturally very friendly to others and still often easily amused. I don’t “look depressed,” whatever that may look like. I don’t dress all in black with my head down and covered in self inflicted cuts, like some people assume depressed people should look like.
I am frequently laughing and smiling. I can function in the world and effectively interact with people in social settings. This is true for many, probably even most of us who struggle with mental health conditions. We may be someone with a family of our own or we may live at home with the family we grew up with, we can be store cashiers, food servers, doctors, counselors, your next door neighbor, your coworker, your best friend, the giggly, smiling person you see at the bus stop everyday, maybe your hairdresser or attorney, a schoolteacher…..we cannot always see depression. It’s true, people do notice I am depressed sometimes (even if they don’t realize it’s depression), and sometimes before I, myself, even realize I am depressed. But it cannot always be detected by others.
Yesterday online, I expressed compassion for a suicide victim and his family and friends. The poor young man is dead and everyone who loves and knew him is shattered and will always be scarred. I am not easily offended and not sensitive so I can easily brush off comments and remarks that are malicious, rude, sarcastic, thoughtless….but some occasions, for whatever reason, they hit hard. A stranger, both to me, and to the man who died by suicide, commented and wrote something in response to all our comments, about compassion for him not being necessary because he was a “selfish, cowardly piece of shit who did this to himself.” (This is not new to me; it’s frequent to encounter this kind of sentiment about suicidal people and suicide victims – I have been told myself on more than one occasion, to quit feeling sorry for myself and go get it over with and kill myself already, luckily i havent heard this in a while)
First of all, this poor person was sick or somethimg. It was’t like he just decided it would be fun to end his own life just for thrills. Also, those poor souls who knew him, his family, his mama, his close friends, his acquaintances, his coworkers, his neighbors, maybe even someone who saw him around but hardly knew him, are all impacted in a horrific way now and they can’t help that he made that terrible choice; it’s not their fault so why write something so callous for them to read? They are the ones being hurt by the cruelty; not him. As if it’s not cruel enough, this pain they now have to live with. Now on top of that, they have that comment to remember.
That was at the beginning of my day that I had the displeasure of encountering that. Then closer to the end of my day, I had the displeasure of receiving another thoughtless (but not as ruthless) comment but in person by someone I know.
I recently met a new (platonic) friend at work! I only met him a couple months ago and instantly felt a deep connection to him. He is one of the kindest and most generous people I ever met and reminds me of another friend I have. I was telling my mom how much the two are alike then i found out they grew up knowing each other! ❤ I had no idea! 😀 Shortly after i met this new friend of mine, I realized i felt a sense of “home” like we may feel when we meet people we have a deep “soul” connection with.
Anyway, my new friend has problems, some of which he shared with me. He has severe recurring headaches, financial difficulties, and is in emotional turmoil because he is in the process of getting a divorce, which is not his choice but his wife’s. I am inspired because as much pain as he is experiencing about his loss, he told me he is so thankful for the thirty years he had with her and all the memories he’ll always have. And for his kids and grandbaby(hes adorable! I get to see him some days)
Yesterday, a girl I know told me to be very careful because my new friend just got out of a “looney bin” and is cracking up in the head and she doesnt want him to go off and do anything to me. She said he’s a very friendly person but looney. I could tell she was genuinely concerned for my safety so I cant even be angry at her and even find it a bit touching that she cares so much. But her comment struck me so hard, like a slap hard across my face. He’s not dangerous to others. Most of us are not (though some definitely are) and it is damaging to perpetuate that. I felt deeply offended for my friend and for all of us who have ever been hospitalized, suicidal, or struggled with mental health problems. She did not realize who she was talking to. If i was in her position and said that to someone who has experienced both voluntary and involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations(like I have), I would have been mortified. I spared her the embarrassment (and fear) and sob story of mine and just tried to assure her that he is not a threat to others. She was not convinced.
She even admitted that he shows no signs of being a threat to others but that she’s concerned when he’s around. I felt compassion for her even with my devastation. Imagine feeling fear whenever you see someone, that the person will “snap” and put you in danger. It’s not pleasant for her either. She clearly doesn’t understand mental illness.
The reason I found it difficult to shrug off her comment is, I like her a lot (in a platonic way) and my condition is a big part of me and always will be. It’s painful to like someone and the person not understand a significant part of me, especially thinking I’m dangerous. Some people who dont like something(certain views, disabilities…), when they find out someone they know experiences that, they will come to be more understanding of it and accepting, while others will reject the person. Either way, I think it’s important to not conceal stuff just so others will not dislike us. Just because we deny it in ourselves does not mean it doesn’t exist and then people will love us under false impressions. It won’t be real.
As the cliche goes “I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not.”
For sure! Though i dont think it’s very likely that anyone will “hate” me, they may dislike me or feel uncomfortable around me. It is unfortunate and they have my compassion. Even though it’s unpleasant for me, it’s also unpleasant for them. I wish they would try to understand better and not perpetuate dangerous myths.
This incident reminded me how many others must think like she does and I began to feel anxious. It’s difficult to struggle with an invisible disability or even experience something that isn’t a disability (religious views, sexual orientation, anything that cant be seen…) and have people like or trust us until they find out or have people who don’t know, saying destructive things to us with not even a thought that we may somehow be touched by the thing being criticized in a destructive manner.
People don’t just “snap” and “go off.” They show signs that often go unnoticed by others before they freak out and go on a killing spree. And look at all the people who aren’t mentally ill who kill people and animals. Not every mentally ill person who kills does so as a result of the illness. Even mentally ill people can be assholes and kill for the same reasons non mentally ill people kill for. Not only is it wrong to assume mentally ill people are all dangerous because it hurts us to assume that, it’s wrong because it’s like justifying it when someone kills someone. Mental illness is no justification usually. I do struggle with depression and sometimes psychosis (though I haven’t struggled with this in a while) but it never gets me wanting to kill anyone other than myself and if I killed someone I would just be an asshole who is also mentally ill. And I hope I would get life in prison.
I know not to attack someone and never even have the urge to. Only once in all of my days (except when i was little and thought it was funny to hit older kids and if kids were messing with me, i would sometimes hit them) can i ever remember truly wanting to even just smack someone(in 7th grade my friend was irking me so badly in class i just wanted to smack her and would have if we werent in school!) and never again since then. I would kill myself before I would kill someone else and i would risk my own life to save another (even when im not suicidal!).
The two comments, only because I let them, put a damper on my happiness. I let them dull my sparkle. I usually don’t allow that but yesterday I did. But this quote I shared above, popped into my head.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
It’s a quote that is so cliche i fear it may be often just overlooked or mindlessly tossed around in an attempt to seem positive. I have often overlooked it, finding it positive and a great concept but not truly letting it inspire me. Yesterday though, I really felt it, let it inspire me deeply. Even if we can’t initially help how we feel in response to something that someone else says or does, we can work to strengthen our mind against the actions and words of others.
I thought of how it doesnt matter what that girl thinks of my friend or me. We are not dangerous and so many people understand that. There will always be those who don’t and we can just speak up or share things to counter it. And we can show compassion to those in need.
I accept my condition. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t make it go away or change my history of it. It just is and I allow it to be. I will never cover it up no matter what others think about it or me. And one thing I am pleased to realize is while there are many reasons to give up mental illness if we could, like the fact that it hurts us and those around us, it’s expensive for treatment, interferes with things….what other people think is not one of those reasons to give it up even if we were able to! I wouldn’t give up my illness or experiences just because someone else thinks I’m a basketcase.
Also, I receive many, many more loving comments and responses to my condition and things i post online, than unpleasant ones and those are the ones I focus on more. There are many more people who are loving and kind in general than those who are not. And the ones who aren’t can become more kind and loving. We can all evolve.
Another thing I made the choice to do in the face of this unpleasantness is ask myself how this can strengthen me, what is it teaching or reminding me, what wisdom can i realize and deepen and share with others…What virtues can i strengthen? Patience, gratitude, compassion, kindness, forgiveness….there’s always positive things to be learned and reminded of in every difficult situation.
I want to remind us all to not give anyone consent to dull our sparkle, contribute to us feeling inferior, low, anxious….anything unpleasant. The power is within us to let what they say or do, slide right off. Whatever they do or say, does not change anything about us whether it’s true or not. Think of the positive things in the world, our own self, and each other, and let the unpleasant things said and done to us go. It can’t hurt us if we don’t let it. It’s up to each of us how to respond both in our head and outwardly.
(this isn’t my photo! My sister sent me a message as i was completing this post and i opened it and it was this pic she sent me! Perfect, right!?)
I’m wishing you much love and light, always! ❤
I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are! I have a busy couple of days but everything is going well. 😍❤
“And we’re all gonna shine a light together
All shine a light to light the way
Brothers and sisters in every little part
Let our love shine a light in every corner of our hearts”
Hugs & lots of love,
xoxo Kim ❤