The majority of people refer to the act of somebody taking their own life as "committing suicide." We tend to most often use the word "commit" when it comes to the act of carrying out a crime. The act of suicide was once a crime but its now widely known that suicide is most often the result of mental illness.
I am genuinely worried about the mental health of police officers across Canada (and around the world for that matter). It absolutely appalls me that there are officers across the country taking their own lives -- some with their service-issued gun. Police chiefs across the country need to get really creative to ensure another member of their forces do not take their own lives. One way we can help to facilitate this much-needed change is by talking. We need to take the sting out of talking about mental illness. None of us would be ashamed to admit we have a physical illness, so why are we so afraid to talk about our mental illnesses?
There has been considerable media coverage regarding two patients who did not return from off unit privileges on January 22, 2015 at the Mental Health and the Law Service of the North Bay Regional Health Centre. The authorities do a disservice to the public by not telling us what 'conflict with the law' makes them dangerous, which creates more danger for the public at large.
In order to further be part of a movement which strives to promote the existence of mental illnesses, I have to be able to speak my truth. Not just write it. Not hide behind my laptop. But say it out loud, and not say it with a smirk and a wink, and a jolly, "I'm crazy." This isn't helping anyone. I'm only further promoting the notion that mental illness needs to remain in the closet. Until people can accept that there is stigma, those of us who do suffer in silence; those of us who are too embarrassed to say out loud that we have an illness -- we need to refrain from using a vocabulary which only serves to further set back the progress.
Now that I've experienced stability in mild doses as my medication is regularly tweaked to find the right balance, I question myself often. Is my thought to return to school to get my Masters something I really want? Or is it residual hypomania egging me on? I still wake at night and watch as the thoughts battle each other for my undivided attention.
I will tell you that I know you've tried what feels like everything to create a tolerable existence, but it hasn't worked thus far. I also know that you have hoarded your past expired medications in your toy hamper waiting for this day when you finally get "the nerve" to go through with ending it all. Please don't let today be your last, I want you to experience what it's like to smile for real again and you'll be taking that opportunity away.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a film crew to follow you day in and day out, documenting your daily rituals all in an effort to create a successful film? I have a chronic condition called Dermatillomania, which has left me scarred and disfigured on the outside, alienated and "different" on the inside.
On the January 23, 2014 episode of The View and just hours after Bieber was arrested, the subject of his arrest came up. It's been alleged that Bieber was found with medication at the time of his arrest which are rumoured to be anti-depressants. Journalist, creator, and co-host of The View Barbara Walters stated that she had no idea what Bieber had to be depressed about. If Bieber has depression or some form of mental illness, then I commend him for seeking treatment. What Walters said in relation to Bieber is a widely-held misconception.
Talking about mental illness is difficult. I get it. But what is even more difficult is people saying they accept me for who I am and then deserting me. As soon they hear something good has happened to me they're the first people to want to celebrate with me, yet they don't want to hear about the dark side of mental illness.
Mental health is currently on the forefront of two TV shows that I'm keeping an eye on. Half of my friends believe highlighting the struggles of those with mental illness in a fictional manner only furthers the stigma. The other half believes Hollywood has the ability to use its magic to accurately depict the day-to-day life of those with mental illness.
The events in Newtown sparked a lot of discussion on gun control and the media's representation of children following violent events. However, as is the case with most well-covered human tragedies, mental health discourse was decidedly missing from the reporting. "Evil visited this community today," the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said following the shooting. Such words are not uncommon following acts of violence, but their prominence still made me cringe. I have to ask, whose "evil" are we talking about when we classify this tragedy as such?