Unfortunately for me, I’m an idealist. I believe that there is a lot of goodness in the world, and I naively believe most people are understanding. Why do I believe this? Maybe I have to believe in goodness to make the world seem like a place I want to stay in. The problem with these beliefs are the contradictions I see to them more often than I’d like.
Yesterday I was faced with one such contradiction. Because the situation involves my work place, I cannot go into detail. However, I can say that I sat in front of an individual who told me mental health illnesses are “FAKE” illnesses. Fake. He used that word. This person is not aware of my anxiety disorder, and he never will be. I am very careful who I disclose my mental health issues with for this very reason. Still, I was unable to say nothing. My response to him went something like this: “Whether or not you believe that mental health disorders are real does not matter in this case. The fact is the law views it as an illness, and we have a corporate obligation to accommodate people with this type of disability.” He did seem to understand the word “LEGAL”.
I so badly wanted to debate this issue with him, but I didn’t because he is in a position of authority over me. He would not fire me if I disclosed my own illness, but he would disrespect me and treat me differently. Of course there are legal measures I could take if that were to happen; however, I do not feel that would be in my best interest. The sad fact is, there are way too many people who think this way. Mental illnesses can’t be seen, and if you have never experience one yourself, they are very difficult to understand. But to call them “FAKE”… that is plain ignorance. Is it “fake” when a teenage girl takes her own life because she can’t handle the sadness she feels everyday? Are the millions of people taking anxiety and depression medication “faking” it? What about the strung out homless people we see walking our streets everyday? Are they there because they are mentally healthy? GIVE YOUR FUCKING HEAD A SHAKE PEOPLE. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep your fucking mouth shut.
Mental illnesses are very real, and they affect people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter if a person was abused as a child, or if they came from a loving family. Mental illnesses can and do affect all types of people. I do not feel it’s my calling to change the way people see mental health issues. IF they are too ignorant to accept the things they don’t understand, that is their problem. Instead, I feel it’s my calling to help and encourage those that struggle with these illnesses. I share with them my experiences, and I show my understanding for theirs. I stand up for them to ensure they are treated fairly, and that they are not discriminated against. This is why I chose a career in human resources.
“Ignorance is not bliss for those your ignorance affects.” – Ms. SG41