In Blackest Night – Much Ado About The Taboo
We’re in an era where everything is shared. From shameful, narcissistic selfies to food pics. From the banal to the inspirational, it’s all there. So you’d think that, given the tools of social media, that subjects that are significant such as depression, bi-polar disorder, autism, ADHD and suicide to name but a few. I’m sorry, did my need to vent and put in words how my life feels like I have no option but to take my own life take you away from creeping on Facebook? Did my moment of ‘weakness’ [READ: reality] interrupt your joy of posting yet another fucking picture of your food?
Why is it that these subjects are still deemed taboo? Why should I or others feel bad [READ: worse than we already do] because we have to consider your feelings when we are getting something off our chests? That stupid fucking duck face you have in each and every selfie offends my senses but I don’t make you a social pariah because of it. So why should I be made to feel that I am an inconvenience for simply being open and honest with Facebook when it asks me “What’s on your mind”?
Yes, these subjects can bring up discomfort. Society may not like what we have to say nor may it offer the suitable responses. Sometimes a response isn’t needed. Sometimes it just needs to be out there. Once said, a huge relief may follow. So why follow up with “status sniping” or stupid, unhelpful comments? Sometimes the best response to the hurt is silence.
It’s heavily broadcast (but maybe not enough for people to take it seriously) that suicide–particularly in young males–is on the rise. Is society’s response to shame these people factoring into the statistics? More than likely. For me, and I’m sure many others, it helps to just write it down because talking to someone can feel overwhelming. By approaching and talking to someone, I always feel I’m putting them in the awkward position of having to listen to my shit and respond. By writing it down/blogging/posting a status, it injects an element of choice into the equation. You can choose to read it in its entirety. You can choose to offer up a response. But you can also choose to carry on scrolling by or surfing elsewhere.
What’s interesting is that those that choose to respond are generally the troll types. The ones that will chime in with an unhelpful remark or hurtful comment who have no vested interest in the subject at hand and, in doing so, it alienates others who can relate but are to afraid or ashamed to share their stories or experiences because of the shocking manner in which the human condition plays out.
I’m not ashamed to admit I suffer from depression. When it comes to this type of thing, no one has it worse than the other. It’s not a competition. We all cope and live through things differently and we all have intricate tapestries woven over our lifetimes. I’ve only recently opened my mind up to the fact that I am mentally ill–not because I was ashamed or feared the stigma, but because of ignorance. Naiveté. I refused to see the signs because I felt that, if I am ill, I am weak. That’s a common perception–if you’re not well, you’re below standard. You’re not 100%. So anything less is failure.
When I opened my mind up I also had a ‘moment of clarity’ or an epiphany, if you will. I realised how judgemental we all are, including me. I realised how I have judged people over invisible illnesses and belittled certain conditions. It’s a privilege that only the ‘healthy’ know and one that they need to be rid of. Yes, it’s easy to relate or understand these things when you experience it first hand and yes, it does offer a perspective that others don’t have because they don’t or haven’t experienced it. But the divide is so staggering. The lack of compassion and understanding, even the tiniest bit, is astounding. I’ve been thinking (and thinking and thinking and then more thinking) about how I can take my experience and channel it into something worthwhile. Something that can grow and blossom to aid others.
I’m no expert in the mental health field but I’m an advocate and want to develop a voice to pave the way for folks to be able to talk about it without feeling guilty or feeling like an inconvenience. If we can’t do it in this day and age, when the hell can we?