Lack of Understanding of Mental Illness
Thursday, January 5 2012 Natasha Tracy
Last night I was feeding my cats and thinking suicidal thoughts - I like to call that a Wednesday night. And I was thinking to myself that no one (save others in my position) understands what that is like - to go from some sort of normal person in the daytime to a sobbing, suicidal headcase at night. I thought about the fact that I have spent eight years talking about this very disease, this very state, this very problem, and yet still, people don't get it. No matter how many words I use, no matter how I phrase it, people simply do not understand.
So what do we do with the lack of understanding by others?
Lack of Understanding about Mental Illness
It's reasonable that people don't innately understand mental illness - it's a hard thing to grasp and most people don't have anything to really compare it to. And let's face it, I don't understand how such transformations are possible so how realistic is it to think that others can?
Lack of Understanding Hurts
And, of course, this lack of understanding hurts, because most often what it results in is people telling me (and other mentally ill people) that we're lying, making things up, exaggerating, being dramatic. When this genuinely isn't the case. And it hurts when people insult you and don't accept your genuine reality. It hurts to be told that you're lying.
What to Do about a Lack of Understanding
So I've reached a conclusion - some people understand and some people don't; some people never will. And it's my job to accept that. You can't change others and you can't make them accept you or your mental illness. Their lack of understanding, in the end, diminishes them, not me. I will keep doing what I do, and try to promoted understanding, education and awareness, but I'm going to accept that not everyone can get there. Not in my life, not in your life, and certainly not online. And it doesn't matter how many words and nifty metaphors I use to explain it.