Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Stigma on my mind

I'm not sure what to say. I was going to update you regarding the jerk who is still copying every word of my blog, but in light of the recent events, I'm not sure that's worthy of complaint. Las Vegas. I'm at a loss for words. There is no way to explain or excuse one person savagely mowing down hundreds of innocent people with an automatic weapon. No way.

Unfortunately, the spotlight has turned to the he-must-have-been-crazy argument. I cringed when I listened to the radio on my way to work yesterday morning, as they discussed the "likelihood" that this individual was mentally ill. So far there is no evidence he was, but mental illness is easily speculated and blamed. It makes me uncomfortable. The reality is the vast majority of people with mental illness are not at all violent. That's a fact, but that fact seems to get lost after tragic, senseless, otherwise inexplicable events.

I understand the need to explain the unexplainable. Perhaps this person did have an undiagnosed mental illness, but the spite and venom with which mental illness is discussed disturbs me. Rather than spurring on a call to action, such as better, more accessible treatment for people with mental illness, these events seem to further the stigmatization instead. That sucks.

Having said all of that, I admit, I don't have any answers to this dilemma. None of us can control what others do. I'm glad I'm open about my own battle with mental illness. I believe my coworkers, running buddies, and friends now have a better picture of what a person with mental illness looks like. And maybe that changes the conversations in their homes and offices just a bit. I don't know. What I do know is in instances such as this, my behavior is the only thing I can control.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.


Anonymous said...

I saw a telling comment about this very thing on another site. It said that women tend to have a much higher rate of mental illness than men do, yet women are nearly never the mass shooters: men are. Senseless violence isn't about mental illness. It's about machoism and guns.

ashleyleia said...

I think it's unfortunate that there isn't a greater societal (and media, for that matter) understanding of the difference between psychopathy and mental illness. In violent incidents, the he-must-have-been-crazy argument is answered far better by the perpetrator being a psychopath rather than being mentally ill. It's sad to see how much further we have to go in the fight against stigma.