My PSDit Joey

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Using political views to stigmatize others

Driving home today, I saw a large sticker plastered on the back of a truck that read: LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER.
To be fair, I'm not sure if the driver was referring to a mental illness or a developmental disability, so I'll address both... since, of course, I want to be politically correct. Both mental illness and developmental disabilities or delays transcend one's political ideology.
When being treated for mental illness, if you can afford it, you meet people of all walks of life. Every socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and political party is impacted by mental illness. 20% of American adults have a psychiatric disorder, so if you can't think of someone close to you who battles mental illness, then they just aren't telling you. Would you park this truck in a neighborhood that just lost a community member to suicide, or outside a house where a person with anxiety is learning to cope with his mental illness so he can attend college?
As for developmental disabilities, I wonder if the driver would feel proud parking his truck at a treatment center for children and adults with developmental disabilities or in a neighborhood where the community loves and respects their neighbors who have developmental disabilities. For people with a developmental disability or families who are fighting for the rights of their loved ones, seeing a sticker like that is a reminder that people with disabilities should not have a voice or an opinion.
As a woman coping with a mental illness, the daughter of a special education teacher, a family member of people battling mental illness, the friend of a family touched by cerebral palsy, the former babysitter of a child with a disability, and as a future human services worker, I will forever fight for the rights and well-being of the people society says have "A MENTAL DISORDER." Liberal, conservative, in the middle, wherever you stand on the political spectrum: DO NOT LET POLITICS BE YOUR EXCUSE FOR STIGMATIZING PEOPLE UNLIKE YOURSELF.
If you have a "mental disorder" or are the loved one of a person with a "mental disorder," stand up for what's right.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 and Project Semicolon

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, and for so many people around the world, it's a day where they remember a person close to them or their community who lost his or her life to suicide. Some people will reach out with support to someone who has or had suicidal ideation. Some people will reflect back to a time when they were suicidal. All of these scenarios are covered in Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn't Over, described by people who have been touched by suicide. Started by Amy Bleuel, the Semicolon has become a globally recognized symbol for suicide awareness, representing that someone's story could have ended, but he or she decided to keep going.

I was excited for the book to finally be published, as I learned last year that a piece I wrote about my journey with mental illness would be included in the book. I explained how I found hope when I found my psychiatric service dog, Joey. Even though my story wasn't about suicide, I submitted it, hoping that mine and Joey's journey together could inspire people to keep going and show them that things will get better. Maybe people will research how psychiatric service dogs can change their lives too. Joey helped me realize that my hopes and dreams could still come true. He helped me uncover the strength and fight that I still had inside me. I want other people to read this book and understand that their stories or a loved one's story isn't over, and they are not alone ❤️