I met with my head shrinker today. As usually happens I went in thinking we’d talk about one thing and we ended up on something completely different. She listens to me in a way that no one ever has. (Yes, I do know that is her job!)
I said something to her today that has stuck with me, “No one knows how hard it is to walk into this building with that big sign outside.” Her office is in the Institute of Psychiatry at the medical university here. On the right side of the building is the mental hospital and on the left side are the clinic and offices.
With as much as I know about fighting my illness and with as much dedication as I have to get better and to advocate for other sufferers I still cringe every time I walk under that sign. I haven’t looked at it since the first day. I catch glimpses of it out of the corner of my eye as I speed up to get through the doors.
Part of me is still ashamed and it’s pissing me off.
Last week I was at the beach with my (almost) in-laws and I heard all kinds of comments from strangers:
I am so manic today.
That’s so gay.
He’s such a retard.
There were more, but these are the ones that stuck with me. Driving home from the HS today those comments kept swirling around with my thoughts about shame and treatment.
Is it so hard to stop and think before you speak?
Unless you have been diagnosed and have had to walk under that sign please don’t say that you are manic, ADD, ADHD, Depressive, Bi-Polar or any other mental health condition. It hurts the people who would give anything to be able to shrug off those labels when you use them so casually.
The only thing that is gay is being gay. THAT IS ALL. Buy a dictionary and say what you mean please.
Using the word retard as a descriptor simply shows your ignorance. Again, there is this handy new thing called a dictionary. Buy one. Use it to find words so that you can fully express yourself.
We all need to stop and think more about the words that we use with each other. We need to stop dismissing or shaming people based on labels.
I need to stop doing it to myself and we need to stop doing it to each other.
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