I really dislike the “h” word. I often tell my kids don’t use it unless you really mean it! The “h” word is hate! So when I say I hate labels, you know I’m very serious about it. Some phrases people flippantly use to label people who are different or have a mental illness and irks me to no end:
That’s so crazy!
So that’s a small sample of the phrases people use to label someone who is different. It makes me want to punch them, or ask “do you even know what that word means???” I know crazy. I know schizophrenic. I know psycho. I know them all in their truest form and meaning so when I hear someone say it, I cringe inside. It’s unnerving and kind of like when someone scrapes their nails across a blackboard. It triggers something inside me that wants to scream, stop with the freakin labels!!!
Within the mental health field, there’s a reason for the diagnoses which come off as labels, but the way people use labels these days are very hurtful. Not just these labels, but if someone sees me as not being feminine, they’ll look at me strange if I’m wearing pink. Why must we put people in boxes and label them? Perhaps it to understand or to identify with someone else, but most of the time it’s mean. Not only that but if I see myself as shy and introverted, I might wear this label and not even attempt to go out and have fun with people (it depends on how I define “shy” and “introverted”.) Yet when someone uses those words and phrases, we get a picture in our minds of what the person looks like. Okay, I know I do. I also get a picture in my mind of what someone looks like who uses those offensive phrases.
I’ve worn many labels in my life and the only thing they really served was to limit me. They limited the perception of myself, and who I could be or become. I wore them on my sleeves. I was a very sad and lonely person, locked in the depths of the madness in my mind. I knew what happened to me, I knew why and it showed on my face, the places I went, the clothes I wore and those who were my friends.
When people think about “crazy” it’s usually someone who is not lucid, they are not tracking very well, and they’re out of touch with reality. This person doesn’t know they are crazy. I on the other hand knew I was crazy so therefore, I wasn’t really crazy. Makes sense to me! See, I had the voices. I was depressed with psychotic features. I had severe anxiety and triggers. I used many means to end my life. Yet, I’m saying I wasn’t crazy because I knew the voices weren’t real and I knew something was very wrong with me. People would talk about me as if I weren’t in the room, and couldn’t speak up or advocate for myself! So why didn’t I speak up? Why didn’t I say something or acknowledge it? I was lost inside of myself. I didn’t know what to say. I agreed with them that I was crazy. I accepted it. I took my medication and lived in a numb, placid invention of my mind. I didn’t value myself. I saw myself as just broken. I had no concept of what a whole person looked like.
I want to leave off with the message of let’s stop labeling people especially people who are just different and may or may not have an actual mental illness. I am a sensitive person and that’s it. I feel things deeply. It took me many years of therapy and healing to figure this out! When I didn’t acknowledge my feelings or know how to sit with them they gathered power and festered like an open wound. A person can only take so much before they break. Some would say I need to stop being so thin skinned but no, I simply need to live in a peaceful environment, surrounded by loving and accepting people.