Have you ever met someone and then all of a sudden you start seeing them everywhere? It’s the same with anything that draws your attention. After I bought my first car I began seeing the same type of car every time I was driving, it made me wonder if all of a sudden there was an influx of Yaris’ purchased in St.John’s, or if I had been seeing these cars everyday and just not noticing. Mental illness works the same way.
Lately I’m noticing just how much people use mental illness terminology in everyday life. For instance, I hear people say things like, “I have so much energy today, I must have ADHD”, or “Tim’s stopped carrying blueberry tea, I’m so depressed”, or “I like to keep things neat, I must be OCD or something”, the list goes on.. These people did not have OCD, or depression, they were just trying to get a laugh. But why would you laugh over mental illness? Mental illness is definitely not a joke. I don’t think these people were really thinking about mental illness, I think it is just part of their everyday language. I’ve heard way too many people saying things of this nature, in all sorts of settings, coffee shops, bars, offices, meetings, workshops… It’s concerning really.
Every time I hear these comments, I immediately get offended, even if the comment isn’t directed towards me, or even if it about a mental illness I don’t have. When I get offended, the first thing that pops into my head is, “Am I just being sensitive?” I always wonder if maybe I’m just being weird.. I know they don’t mean to be offensive, they probably don’t even realize they’ve offended me! I feel like such a baby, I shouldn’t be so delicate.
I shouldn’t feel bad for being offended.. Making fun of mental illness is not okay. Whether or not they knew they were doing it, is irrelevant. There are some things you just don’t joke about, like cancer, rape, dead parents, dead children.. It’s just bad taste. Mental illness should be see the same way. It’s very real, and very much not funny. I was told to never apologize for my feelings, so I’m done. If you say something that offends me, I’m going to speak up. I have to, for multiple reasons; 1) You’ll probably say it again, 2) I’m upset. I’m not going to let your negativity fester within me, it needs to be changed to happiness and my way of feeling happier is to make my feelings clear.
Besides, isn’t happiness what it’s all about? I’m on my own personal journey to happiness, and if saying “please don’t joke about that” is the next step for me, I’m on board. I’m doing everything I can be more happy, I’m stepping further and further away from the dark. Don’t let someone cloud over your light, blow it away and enjoy the sunshine.