Aren’t All People With Mental Illness Violent?… Oy!…

I recently read the following article by Gabe Howard on psychcentral.com:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/dont-call-me-crazy/2015/06/snarky-answers-to-common-questions-about-mental-illness/

I loved this article because it says everything that those of us who suffer from a Mental Illness feel when we get asked the following:

Are you like that person with mental illness I saw on TV?
I get you have mental illness, but when will you get over it?
Did you take your mental illness medication today?
Aren’t all people with mental illness violent?

I know I have thought exactly like Gabe when asked these questions.  I never respond snarky but in my mind I am looking at you like you are an idiot if you ask me any of the above.  If I were to respond with a snarky comment, then yes, I just solidified all those stereotypes of Mentally Ill people.

Here are my responses to the questions Mr. Howard looked at (and yes, these are my snarky responses followed but what I will actually say):

Are you like that person with mental illness I saw on TV?

Snarky: Why yes, doesn’t TV portray reality 100%?!  Of course, I am just like that person shown in a straight jacket in a Looney bin.  Because I live in a Mental Institution and I love to talk to myself.  I also see dead people.

In reality, my response goes more like this: “No.  TV is fictional.  Even reality shows play up the crazy with people with Mental Illnesses.  Please do not believe everything you see on TV.  This is why the stigmas exist.”

I get you have mental illness, but when will you get over it?

Snarky:  Believe me I wish I knew when I would stop inconveniencing you!  Because suffering from Panic Attacks that riddle my body with extreme exhaustion and fear of actually dying or days that I am so Depressed I can’t physically get out of bed is fun for me!  I just want to keep experiencing that.

Reality:  Believe me I wish I knew.  I hate what Depression and Anxiety do to me and my family but there is no answer.  With medications and therapy, I get better as time passes.

Did you take your mental illness medication today?

Snarky:  Why do you ask?  Am I annoying you?  Is it wrong for a Mentally Ill person to get irritated or angry sometimes like “normal” people?!  We are still people and we experience emotions that can affect any human.

Reality:  Yes, I did.  But like any “normal” person, I can get angry or irritated.  It isn’t always associated with my Mental Illnesses.  Thanks for asking.

Aren’t all people with mental illness violent? (This one is my all time favorite)

Snarky:  “Why yes… now step aside so I can beat the crap out of you!” 
(Seriously, why ask if you think this to be a reality because then honestly you are asking to be hurt.)

Reality:  “No.  Are all people who own guns violent?  Most of the population of Mentally Ill people have no violent tendencies, especially against others.  Please change your view on this.”

Yes, I suffer from Mental Illnesses (Depression and Anxiety).  If you had no idea who I was and met me on the street, you wouldn’t have a clue.  Most days I am exactly like a “normal” or typical person.  On days I am sick, I will mask it.  I will still show the smile on my face.  On days I am really sick, I admit, I am a little nutty but usually this occurs if I am NOT on medication.  I am close to entering remission for a 6th time for Depression and a 3rd for Anxiety.  This is due to me taking my medication, communicating with my doctors, family and friends.

I am a sarcastic person by nature but when it comes to Mental Illness, my answers to all questions (even the stupid ones), are sincere and informative.  If I were to give you the answers floating in my head it will only grow the false beliefs behind Mental Illness and I wouldn’t want that.  I want to inform, teach and inspire.

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