Going Public

There are some things that just get to me.

Like when people spell my name wrong after I just got done spelling it for them.

Or when I answer the phone, “Hello, this is Chrisy” and the person on the other end of the line says, “who is this?”

Or when my kids say they are “starving” and clearly they are not. I have tried to explain to them that they can say they are hungry, but they have plenty of food and they are nowhere near death due to a lack of food. Thus they are not starving.

Or when people use descriptors that are not accurate. For example, someone with a mild headache says they have a migraine. As someone who suffers from severe migraines on occasion, and who wouldn’t wish a migraine on anyone, it bothers me when people use that term, which then can get overused and dilute the plight of those who suffer from true migraines.

Another example of this is the lighthearted way that some people refer to various mental illnesses, particularly depression and even sometimes OCD. We have all heard people joking about having OCD as if it were some kind of gift for wanting to have things just a certain way. We have heard people say “I’m depressed,” in a matter-of-fact, due to the current circumstances I’m not very happy, kind of way. And this bothers me. When these terms get used in offhand remarks and less than serious ways, it can further demoralize those who truly do suffer from mental illness. And in most cases, those who are suffering aren’t going around telling everyone about their issues. They are likely trying to do just the opposite. Hide them. Lead everyone to believe that everything is ok. Attempt to hold up the image of having it all together. And I think the way people offhandedly refer to mental illness can sometimes be the reason why.

I read an article today from CNN and it really made me think about how those with mental illness tend to hide. And as someone who suffers from depression, I know that has been true for me as well. I didn’t want anyone to know for a very long time just how bad it was. But we can’t suffer alone. And we need to be keeping an eye out for those around us who may be suffering silently. Because they are probably not the ones talking about it.

Read the article and let me know what you think.

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