Recently I fell victim to online abuse – yet again – but this time I didn’t let it trouble me quite so much. The whole notion behind the upheaval was regarding photos in relation to mental health. As you can imagine, this really touched a nerve, I wrote a post roughly 2 years ago in response to someone commenting: “You don’t even suffer from depression, you smile in all of your photos”…(I know, right?)
I was not letting someone do this again. It’s these lousy attitudes and it’s this stigma that has to stop. These uneducated, irreverant and attention-seeking comments are extremely damaging and triggering for mental health sufferers.
In recent years, I’ve never really been one for sticking up for myself, but when it comes to something I’m passionate about: MY mental health – you can bet I’m not going to keep quiet; I will not let someone belittle me, question me or my experiences, or try to tell me what I have and have not been through.
Not only did I respond, fighting my own corner, but I had to stand up for every other mental health sufferer who is not quite ready or able to defend themselves yet. This is what’s important to me.
I remember being scared to post photos online after I shared my battles with depression, struggles with anxiety and laid myself bare for the world to see (not literally, but in some ways, you could say that this metaphor is relevant). So, I posted a photo in a bikini, what of it? Because I’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues I’m not entitled to be happy, or like myself, at all? I’ve not to share photos of me embracing myself, enjoying myself or being who I am because of my illness? What do people want? Photos of me crying, photos of me in my bed after my fourth day of not moving, washing or sleeping? No photos of me at all?
It might sound ludicrious but that’s how the negative comments and nasty attitudes pan out in my mind: that negative world that I live with day in and day out. That mind that I battle and fight constantly. That mindset that I’ve grown used to. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone but I want to say one more thing before I get back to the main point, well issue, here. So let me just say this: Do. Not. Ever. Challenge. A. Mentally. Ill. Person.
If someone suffers, or even ‘claims’ to suffer from MH issues, do not ever think it’s OK to tell them they don’t or try and test that. This is terrifyingly triggering. I know. This is when the vast ocean of the mind sweeps up all of the suicidal thoughts right to the forefront of your mind and tries to take you away with it. This is when all of the nasty jellyfish in your head sting away until you can’t take the pain anymore and you stop fighting the waves and let the ocean take you…
I was told just the other day by a really hostile girl who was in the year above me in school that I did not suffer from mental health issues. Alright then I don’t suffer from mental health issues. I just got diagnosed nearly four years ago for the hell of it. I went to psychology for a year, and counselling for nearly 2 years, just for the fun of it. I stayed in my bedroom for months and months on end, not leaving my room to even sit with my parents downstairs, because I was totally ok. I wrote a book about my MH journey because I’m just so blessed I can make that shit up. I help other people DAILY because I totally haven’t experienced what they have, and I can offer support, and advice… you see where I’m going with this?
I know what I’ve been through and it is through my own experiences that I can not stand by and let someone ‘test’ someone else because it’s so dangerous. It’s wrong. It just shouldn’t be happening.
I’ve kind of lost the thread with this post (it’s a subject close to my heart) but everything I’ve said is totally relevant and is staying exactly where it is. Nobody should take a photo at face value. Just like nobody judges a book by its cover. Do not assume someone is ok because they are smiling in a photo. Do not assume someone is body confident because they share a photo in a bikini (maybe they shot a great angle, posted it to pretend to feel good about themselves, to get a bit of a positive reaction hoping it would better their view on themselves). Do not assume someone is happy in a relationship because of soppy photos. Just don’t assume anything. We live in a world consumed by social media and people feel like they need to post to stay relevant and connected to the world – this doesn’t always mean that everything is as hunky-dory as it may seem.
I’ve had a good ol’ rant today, haven’t I? But I needed it. Truly. I’ve started my journal again, properly, because of all of this business because it triggered me so much and I feel like there ain’t a soul on this earth who I can talk to. Properly. So I try to help others, in the only way I can, and it lifts me up a little by doing so… just, don’t assume ok?
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