Oi!!! What a subject.
This morning on Facebook, on my Community Page, there was a post with a video of someone breaking into a woman’s house and threatening to rape her. I couldn’t see the video, for whatever reason it was unavailable to me. Which if okey dokey. I got the gist of it from the comments. This conversation split into two directions as is going to happen in South Carolina; Mental Health and Gun Rights.
The Gun Rights conversation went like this: Everyone should have one. YAY ‘MERICA!
The Mental Health conversation didn’t have much more nuance than the Gun Rights one. Two women who had relatives with Bipolar and Schizophrenia discussed the frustration of the ill relatives not staying medicated and the desire to institutionalize them.
In South Carolina I am not naïve enough to think the Gun Rights conversation would be any different. It rarely is. And to be honest, with the world being the way it is, I’ve considered getting one. However with my mental health the way it is, I know that’s a bad idea. If we had a gun, I suspect my last attempt at suicide would have succeeded.
I’m not sure why I expected the Mental Health conversation to be any better. The stigma runs free and unchecked here in the Bible Belt. I would imagine that part of the reason is how shitty we are here at dealing with the Mentally Ill population. We rank 35th for Mental Healthcare. Now that’s significantly better than our 48th ranking for Education, but still. We also rank 35th for prevalence of Mental Illness with respect to treatment options. So we suck. Not as much as some, but still.
And Mental Health Institutions, or insane asylums, tended to be horrible places. But, some sort of updated, not horrible alternative needs to replace them. To leave communities with virtually nothing was not a good plan either. Thanks Reagan.
Don’t misunderstand me. I understand that these women were frustrated. But, I seriously believe that these sorts of conversations need to take place off Facebook. Send a private message to each other. Meet for coffee. Attend a support meeting. DO ANYTHING ELSE!
I want to send them a message telling them who I am and offering to meet them if they want to talk. I want to let them know the perspective of the Mentally Ill person and how they are creating and spreading stigma by having this conversation in the open. And I don’t want to because it sounds like it will take a lot of energy. I think it’s very sad that the people who have the least ability to tolerate this sort of thing are the folks who have to stand against it.