“I completely get it. It’s easy to say you accept mental health issues until you actually see it. Sometimes, it’s messy. Sometimes, it involves F-bombs. It’s easy to look at her and just think she’s “one of those bad kids.”
But she only swears when she’s really feeling bad and is starting to lose control. I wanted to walk over to those parents and explain: “She has bipolar disorder. She gets to a point where she’s no longer in control of her words or her body. She was overstimulated and overwhelmed and feeling horrible inside. She’s not stable yet. It will get better soon. She’s not really like that, she’s lovely!” But would that make a difference?
It’s easy to share memes on Facebook say you support mental illnesses, but until you’re there, in the thick of it, you can’t understand what it’s like. Would you accept it if a mental illness incident happened in front of you? Would you feel compassionate, or would you judge? Does my daughter need to have a giant sticker on her forehead saying “Mental illness on board, please be kind”? Why can’t people just be kind anyways?”
I found this article interesting on it’s face. It is easy to say we support people struggling with depression or child abuse survivors, but when someone is in the worst of it, and it’s not cute and sympathetic looking, can we really say that we’re supportive?
On another level, I also found this interesting when thinking about boys who are abused or dealing with mental health issues. Boys don’t tend to just “look sad” when they have depression, or when they are dealing with trauma. They might just act out, and it might even be somewhat violent or anti-social. It happens, because pain can take that form sometimes, and can be expressed that way.
It might not be easy to understand that kind of expression of pain, but it might even be more important that we do, before those struggling people damage themselves, or others.
They need support, and healing too.
We Need to Support Mental Illness, Even When It’s Not Cute