Perpetuating Stigma

July 22, 2017

 Something I find rather hard and rather tortuous to admit is my love for sympathy, my love to feel somebody pity me.  I embraced it with full force when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I wasn’t fully cognizant of the fact that I was seeking that sympathy. I was seeking pity and I was in every way embracing the role of victim.  That is what I felt when diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. A victim, and I hugged onto that role for over a decade. Making it clear that my life is horrible and will always be horrible. I did this by constantly saying things like:  “This is how ______ feels and it sucks”  “This is how the rest of my life will be and it will suck”  “You don’t know what it’s like to live with this, it sucks”  At some point sympathy and pity from others ended and it was not because people couldn’t handle me at my worst. It’s because all I could talk about was how my life was the worst. I couldn’t see that, I wouldn’t let myself see that. I would even claim strength but within a moment be seeking sympathy in some form through actions or words.   Then I found others like me, others who also were victimized by mental illness. Looking back, a pity party of epic proportions. A pity party with a new constant flow of  Evites  to other peoples parties of their own. I guess when I prayed to be popular as a teenager, I should of been more specific with how that popularity contributed to my personal growth.Live and Learn.   Finding those parties felt like the best thing ever, more people to perpetuate our roles as victims. People who would give me sympathy as long as I gave them mine. An ongoing over-growing party of people who just wanted to express how much it sucked to be us.  The thing about pity parties is they literally suck. They suck strength out of you, they suck strength out of those that have joined, and the ones who joined contribute to the sucking of strength of you as well. There’s no strengthening although the initial feeling is of that.  Plus, what kind of party provides you with no gifts?  When I am going through an episode, whether it is manic, depressive, hypomanic, or mixed. I know that that is my time to be “weak” and that is my time to embrace the absolute suckage of my situation. However when I have those times of stability, when the episode is over, how will focusing my time and energy on how much it sucked help me?  Isn’t that just letting that episode and the bipolar disorder control my life when it is not super active in my head?  Isn’t that letting the Bipolar rule my life in even more way. Aren’t I actively allowing that?  How does it help my mental health? How does it help me promote mental health? How does that actually fight stigma?  To me, there is a big difference between sharing my story and sitting in my victimhood. There is a big difference between venting and becoming so comfortable in venting that that becomes all that I do.  There is a difference between venting and allowing it to turn to habitual constant complaining that hurts me, hurts others, and perpetuates the Stigma that is attached to Mental Illness and Mental Health.  So I have to ask myself:  At what point does my venting become so comfortable that that is all I can do?  At what point do my shared stories become not lessons, but ways to push those who don't understand away?  At what point do I admit that I am pushing people away not because of my illness, because how I view myself WITH the illness.   At what point do I realize that all of that is draining myself of strength and allowing others to be drained of their strength as well?  At what point do I understand that it is a constant contribution to a pity party?  At what point do I ask  myself,  am I perpetuating the idea that I am a victim?  At what point do I realize I am perpetuating Stigma, not fighting it by educating?  At what point do I say    I AM A WARRIOR,  BUT I AM ONLY  SAYING  THE WORD     I AM A FIGHTER, BUT I AM ONLY  SAYING  THE WORD   While its hard to get out of that space of anger & pain.  While its hard to not join the bandwagon put out there indirectly of victim-hood….  If I want to be an advocate of Mental Health, I need to be an advocate for myself first. If I can't advocate for my strengthening, then how do I advocate for others? If I am not advocating for OUR strength, I am merely advocating for weakness.   My fight is for Mental Health and Education of Mental Health. My fight is to  END STIGMA  NOT GIVE STIGMA MORE STRENGTH   So, with that...  I vow to share my story.  I vow to vent on my mental illness and the stigma that directly affects it.  I vow to constantly check myself and be open admitting when my venting becomes detrimental to those around me.  I vow to fight stigma by educating and not perpetuate its stereotypes by complaining  I vow to not view myself as a victim because it’s become comfortable  I vow for my words to match my actions  I vow to BE a Warrior of my Mental Health, not just say I am.  Most of all I vow to stay true to myself and what I believe being a Warrior is.:       A Warrior may not win every single fight.      A Warrior keeps fighting in the face of that.

Something I find rather hard and rather tortuous to admit is my love for sympathy, my love to feel somebody pity me.

I embraced it with full force when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I wasn’t fully cognizant of the fact that I was seeking that sympathy. I was seeking pity and I was in every way embracing the role of victim.

That is what I felt when diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. A victim, and I hugged onto that role for over a decade. Making it clear that my life is horrible and will always be horrible. I did this by constantly saying things like:

“This is how ______ feels and it sucks”

“This is how the rest of my life will be and it will suck”

“You don’t know what it’s like to live with this, it sucks”

At some point sympathy and pity from others ended and it was not because people couldn’t handle me at my worst. It’s because all I could talk about was how my life was the worst. I couldn’t see that, I wouldn’t let myself see that. I would even claim strength but within a moment be seeking sympathy in some form through actions or words. 

Then I found others like me, others who also were victimized by mental illness. Looking back, a pity party of epic proportions. A pity party with a new constant flow of  Evites  to other peoples parties of their own. I guess when I prayed to be popular as a teenager, I should of been more specific with how that popularity contributed to my personal growth.Live and Learn. 

Finding those parties felt like the best thing ever, more people to perpetuate our roles as victims. People who would give me sympathy as long as I gave them mine. An ongoing over-growing party of people who just wanted to express how much it sucked to be us.

The thing about pity parties is they literally suck. They suck strength out of you, they suck strength out of those that have joined, and the ones who joined contribute to the sucking of strength of you as well. There’s no strengthening although the initial feeling is of that.

Plus, what kind of party provides you with no gifts?

When I am going through an episode, whether it is manic, depressive, hypomanic, or mixed. I know that that is my time to be “weak” and that is my time to embrace the absolute suckage of my situation. However when I have those times of stability, when the episode is over, how will focusing my time and energy on how much it sucked help me?  Isn’t that just letting that episode and the bipolar disorder control my life when it is not super active in my head?  Isn’t that letting the Bipolar rule my life in even more way. Aren’t I actively allowing that?

How does it help my mental health? How does it help me promote mental health? How does that actually fight stigma?

To me, there is a big difference between sharing my story and sitting in my victimhood. There is a big difference between venting and becoming so comfortable in venting that that becomes all that I do.  There is a difference between venting and allowing it to turn to habitual constant complaining that hurts me, hurts others, and perpetuates the Stigma that is attached to Mental Illness and Mental Health.

So I have to ask myself:

At what point does my venting become so comfortable that that is all I can do?

At what point do my shared stories become not lessons, but ways to push those who don't understand away?

At what point do I admit that I am pushing people away not because of my illness, because how I view myself WITH the illness. 

At what point do I realize that all of that is draining myself of strength and allowing others to be drained of their strength as well?

At what point do I understand that it is a constant contribution to a pity party?

At what point do I ask  myself,  am I perpetuating the idea that I am a victim?

At what point do I realize I am perpetuating Stigma, not fighting it by educating?

At what point do I say

 I AM A WARRIOR,  BUT I AM ONLY SAYING THE WORD

 I AM A FIGHTER, BUT I AM ONLY SAYING THE WORD

While its hard to get out of that space of anger & pain.

While its hard to not join the bandwagon put out there indirectly of victim-hood….

If I want to be an advocate of Mental Health, I need to be an advocate for myself first. If I can't advocate for my strengthening, then how do I advocate for others? If I am not advocating for OUR strength, I am merely advocating for weakness. 

My fight is for Mental Health and Education of Mental Health. My fight is to

END STIGMA

NOT GIVE STIGMA MORE STRENGTH 

So, with that...

I vow to share my story.

I vow to vent on my mental illness and the stigma that directly affects it.

I vow to constantly check myself and be open admitting when my venting becomes detrimental to those around me.

I vow to fight stigma by educating and not perpetuate its stereotypes by complaining

I vow to not view myself as a victim because it’s become comfortable

I vow for my words to match my actions

I vow to BE a Warrior of my Mental Health, not just say I am.

Most of all I vow to stay true to myself and what I believe being a Warrior is.:

 

A Warrior may not win every single fight.

A Warrior keeps fighting in the face of that.