(I apologize in advance, this is not a poem. It is however a very important topic that I’m very passionate about.)
I spend a lot of time on the computer and whether you attribute that to laziness is up to you, though, you’d be wrong. As I’m on the internet and several different social media platforms I constantly come across something that really freaks me out: The invalidation of mental illness.
I suffer. You suffer. But we do not suffer and therein lays the problem.
We’ve grown up in a world where we are constantly scolded when we feel certain ways. The statement, “Stop being sad, someone has it worse than you.”, and all it’s variants have created a toxic environment for everyone who suffers from mental illness. It’s like saying, “You see that girl over there? Her hair is a darker brown than yours. I guess, you don’t actually have brown hair,” as if only one person in this world is allowed to have something.
Somewhere along the line we’ve all been taught that if someone has it worse than you, then you don’t actually have that same issue and vice versa. Instead of coming together to support each other, we’ve been pitted against each other in the ultimate battle of invalidation. Whether it’s our own or the invalidation of our peers it doesn’t matter; we’ve all been drafted into a war that has taken far too many lives and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
No matter the severity of your disorder, illness, etc., everyone is deserving of support. If there is a place online for people to get the support they need, I haven’t found it. I’ve been on chat rooms designed to create that sense of community and you can definitely find helpful people but at the same time, it just causes more anxiety and doubt within the user. In those kinds of settings, it’s easy to get bullied into feeling like how you’re handling your personal situation is wrong because you’re bombarded with others opinions. The debate over medication use, for example. Everyone has different opinions and strong ones at that. Those chat rooms quickly become a hostile environment when those debates take place and that discourages those that came looking for support. Putting them, and everyone else back at square one.
I want for people, like myself, to have a place to go online where they can get support and support others without being judged by their decision to use medication and other techniques to help combat what ever they are struggling with. Sometimes texting and being involved in online communities is an easier way for people to discuss their problems. Talking and getting support from the people around us isn’t an option and those people are left with no one to help them, because of this the internet is a bridge that needs to be utilized.
If you have any suggestions as to how I/we can make this happen, please share. If you know of a place where people can get this support, please share. It’ll help so many people.
Hopefully, someday, we can find a way to support each other and so then it won’t be an I, or a you. It’ll be a we, and together we can conquer anything.
Remember: No matter the severity of someones disorder, illness, etc., EVERYONE is deserving of love, respect and support. Your struggles are valid and they do not invalidate others.