“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Krishnamurti
Short list of the ways mentally ill people are stigmatized:
This is a common one. Being a clean freak is having OCD, and not (since it’s one of the anxiety disorders) someone who goes absolutely bonkers when seeing something dirty or out of place. OCD is a cutesy joke or exaggerating personality quirks when you don’t feel special snowflake-y enough. It’s trivializing and wrongfully appropriating.
This goes along with…Self-diagnosis
This is dicey. You may be accurate or in the ballpark, or you could just be an attention seeker. Please see a professional for an accurate diagnosis, if you care.
Another common one, whether in reference to someone you don’t agree with or mass shooters. Suddenly everyone is a psychologist. Mass shootings must be one-off instances of male violence and not actually influenced by our societal and masculine norms. To think otherwise is thought crime.
And referring to someone you don’t agree with as mentally ill is not original, because it is very easy to assume that an irrational belief or practice by someone is demonstrative of their whole personality or being as a person. It puts the focus on the allegedly mentally ill person as a way to distract from the argument at hand, or discussion based on its own merit. On the contrary, many people have irrational beliefs without being mentally ill, much less clinically insane. Including people who believe that someone who disagrees with them is mentally ill.
Stigma that they are violent when in fact they are more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators
See above, Armchair diagnosis.
Blaming the mother/parents
I’m not sure how people can blame the mother/parents while not also blaming society for not helping – especially to help stop a vicious cycle of abuse down the line – but there you have it. We expect mothers to do all the caretaking if they want children, and sacrifice their jobs (instead of wanting things like daycare and maternity leave), and then condemn them when their children turn out less than perfect. But don’t their children have friends and peers and other role models who influence them, too? We can’t keep hounding parents forever; after the child becomes an adult, their issues become their own. It would be really weird to expect the mother to nurture and take care of their adult child, or even just help them (especially if they are dysfunctional themselves), however immature or unhealthy they may be psychologically.
Conspicuously absent is any talk of blaming the father’s role in parenting, especially the lack thereof, which matters just as much as their presence.
Let’s not foget the fact that abused kids can’t really sue their parents. It’s okay to blame the parents, but not to avoid condemning their children to a lifetime of emotional anguish. What is irony?
Blaming a history of being abused, sexually or otherwise
This is problematic, because many women have been sexually assaulted once in their lifetime. If a woman is a lesbian and just happened to have been raped by a man, she “hates men” or “has Daddy issues” and “just needs a good dicking,” suggesting corrective rape; but nobody asks straight people if the events in their lives made them straight. When discussing the prevalence of harmful practices among sexually abused women (including self-harming or BDSM) it is used to say that such practices are cathartic and therapeutic to work through their issues. The solution to abuse is more abuse.
But really, the underlying theme to traumatized people is the feeling of shame. Women are shamed for desiring sex, and then we wonder why they have rape fantasies. People on the verge of suicide feel they are bad people. The conditioning into shameful feelings is a huge theme in our Western, Judeo-Christian culture, and it could be argued that even if a child raised in a “good Christian home” didn’t experience any physical or sexual abuse, that the fear-conditioning and shame-conditioning constitutes as emotional abuse and traumatizing, depriving them of enjoying their childhood and the natural exploration of life.
Women (including black and Latina women)
Discussion of “hysterical” women and “schizophrenic” blacks is beyond the scope of this post. In summary: they have been forcibly interned, lobotomized, and (women) sterilized and given clitoridectomies. They women have also been forcibly used to breed or in lieu of prostitutes (who were said to spread STDs) or indigenous women, to ‘keep the race pure.’
Overmedication in America starting in childhood/psychiatry’s monopoly on treatment
Are Americans more mentally ill? One could argue they are certainly more stressed and overworked. Puritan ethics are strange. But then again, Americans also like to say that obesity is genetic. I have to wonder how being born here predisposes me to obesity and not, you know, all the fast/junk food and sedentary living.
Therapy is expensive and a luxury
Fun fact: Telling someone to get help, whether as a cruel joke or in seriousness, is much easier said than done. Do you know what happens at low-income clinics? Patients get medicated and sent on their way. Even if therapy were affordable, there’s another caveat: going through one therapist after another to find the right one. Either they don’t know what they’re doing when applying theory to practice, create codependency, or treat patients as guinea pigs with New Age and Christian stuff, which results in the same thing anyway.
Really, I think we would be much better off if marijuana were legalized, or at least decriminalized. It is so much more affordable than therapy; plus it’s been said to replace multiple medications at once.
If mentally ill people get anywhere good in life, they must be faking it
This is meant to keep them down. The message is: mentally ill people don’t deserve anything good or to be in the same spaces as other people. They are losers who didn’t do enough positive thinking. And losers should be forever cleaning toilets, flipping burgers, and huffing dong. There’s another aspect here: the demeaning of blue-collar and pink-collar (“feminized”) jobs, because those jobs are for losers – not important, valuable work like being a doctor or lawyer.
I’m including the “welfare queen” stereotype here, because welfare is a minimum safety net for poor people, who overlap with mentally ill people (poverty increases things like depression and anxiety). It is a term given to women, especially black and Latina women. However, the largest percentage of recipients are white people: lying about working under the table and collecting disability while living in an upper middle-class house, apparently, is more deserving of welfare than actually struggling to survive and get enough to eat on a day-to-day basis. This is the wolf in sheep’s clothing and I don’t buy it one bit.
Forgetting that our greatest thinks, inventors, poets, musicians, and artists were mentally ill
And if you have a problem with that or the fact that many of them also used drugs (self-medicating), maybe you should throw away your music collection.