Now that I am adult my “different” has increased ever more so and I find times that I am still getting bullied by both kids and adults. But fuck them, I learned to blow it off years ago….Bullshit. It still hurts. I've just learned to suppress it. But this response isn't about me. I work with mentally ill adults and since doing so have noticed the bullying trend not just from people on the outside of the spectrum making fun of the mentally ill, but that the Mentally ill themselves are starting to bully each other more frequently. They are looking for and finding differences amongst each other to create an imaginary platform to elevate some against others.
I've seen bullying between…
Mentally Ill and Intellectually deficit…
People who have put themselves in the Mental Health System vs. Court ordered to be here…
Court ordered violent offenders vs. Non-violent offenders…
Diagnosis vs Different diagnosis…
People born with their illness vs. those whose illness was caused by head trauma….
and it goes on and on and on. So...why? If we are all in the same place, if we are all dealing with the stigmatism of mental illness, if we have all been down into the worst of ourselves, how can we not recognize the human need to act as a collective and see ourselves and our struggle in others and raise up to offer support to those that have been there. So, based recently on an indecent at my work, I was asked to give a response to our residents about bullying. Afterword’s, as I went to delete the file, I decided to instead post it to this blog in the hopes that maybe it will help someone, out in the interwebs, where it is often hard for people to get away from bullying, who may need it.
Always remember talk to someone if you are in need. I have included a few hotline numbers at the end of this post for quick reference. Never forget you unique, you are beautiful, you are loved.
Response to bullying within the community
As we grow we find that life is often harder than we expected, especially when you live life with a form of mental illness. According to NAMI statistics, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (which is 43.8 million or 18.5%) experience a form of mental illness. There are a lot of us in the world, yet we still feel so alone.
Sometimes there is safety in numbers…
The positive thing about having so many experiencing some form of mental illness is that, even though we are all different and have different journeys, we can still offer support to each other. Everyone, at one point in time, knows what it feels like to suffer through their illness, and sometimes having someone just shake your hand or pat you on the back and tell you “you got this” can help.
Everyone of us walk a different path, even if you have the same diagnosis as someone else, your stories are not the same. There could be two people, twins, with the same diagnosis but show different symptoms and require different medications. Some people’s symptoms range from mild to severe and can often times vary within a few days. That can make daily life hard. That's why I try and talk to you about your medications so often. If your meds are not working for you, THAT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You won't get in trouble for something you can't help. Not all medications help everybody and can sometimes, even cause more side effects than they are worth.
A lot of people are afraid to talk to their doctor and admit that they are still experiencing/displaying symptoms of their illness. Instead of going through a med change. Why would you want to take something that doesn't work? Having your medications adjusted is not a failure.
I often hear people brag that they only have to take 2 pills while others take 18. If what you are taking is working and allowing you to be the best you possible, what does it matter if you are taking 5 pills instead of 2? Taking several medications does not make you a failure.
We are all here and we have all had to go through periods of adjustments, so if you see your friend, neighbor or roommate going through something, offer them the support you wish someone would have offered you when you needed it. Offer them the respect they deserve and the encouragement to stay strong.
Living with mental illness is a journey that can be hard but we don't have to make it hard on each other. And every one of us is a work in progress, just because you may need a little extra support doesn't mean that you are not going to be a great success, it just means that you have to make it through and when you do, you will know how to offer support to the next one in need.
Bullys exist everywhere, not just in the Mental Illness community. If you need someone to talk to, to help you through times of doubt regardless of situation here are a few resources. Remember no matter how lonely you feel, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
§ Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 1-800-621-4000
§ Adolescent Crisis Intervention & Counseling: 1-800-999-9999
§ AIDS National Hotline: 1-800-342-2437
§ CHADD – Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders: 1-800-233-4050
§ Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (4-2-24453)
§ Cocaine Help line: 1-800-COCAINE (1-800-262-2463)
§ Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
§ Drug & Alcohol Treatment Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
§ Ecstasy Addiction: 1-800-468-6933
§ Eating Disorders: 1-888-236-1188
§ Family Violence Prevention Center: 1-800-313-1310
§ Gay & Lesbian National Hotline: 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)
§ Gay & Lesbian Trevor HelpLine Suicide Prevention: 1-800-850-8078
§ Healing Woman Foundation (Abuse): 1-800-477-4111
§ Help Finding a Therapist: 1-800-THERAPIST (1-800-843-7274)
§ Incest Awareness Foundation: 1-888-547-3222
§ National Center For Learning Disabilities: 1-888-575-7373
§ Missing & Exploited Children Hotline: 1-800-843-5678
§ National Allianceon Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
§ Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642)
§ Post Abortion Trauma: 1-800-593-2273
§ Project Inform HIV/AIDS Treatment Hotline: 1-800-822-7422
§ Rape (People Against Rape): 1-800-877-7252
§ Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
§ Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000
§ Self Injury (Information only. This is not a crisis line, info/referrals only): 1-800-DONT-CUT (1-800-366-8288
§ Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
§ Sexual Abuse – Stop It Now!: 1-888-PREVENT (773-8368)
§ STD Hotline: 1-800–227-8922
§ Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
§ Suicide & Crisis Hotline:1-800-999-9999
§ Suicide Prevention – Trevor HelpLine (Specializing in Gay & Lesbian Youth) 1-800-850-8078
§ Teen Helpline: 1-800-400-0900
§ Victim Center: 1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2255)
§ Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-HIT-HOME (448-4663)