Post Revisited, Reedited, Reworded, Reblogged From Apr 24th 2018
Don’t Talk About It …
……….You’re Kidding Right?
For years l was treated for a concoction of misdiagnosed Mental Health problems and not specifically bipolar or autism. Mental health and autism for some bizarre reason are still steeped in controversy. Society doesn’t like to openly and healthily discuss these issues, preferring to wrap them up in taboo and stigma?
Why is there the hoo ha about mental health in the first place? I mean everyone and literally their dogs have it. We either have good mental health or poor mental health that’s it in a nutshell. Good or bad. Equally, l oft wonder why the hoo ha on autism or autism spectrum disorders? Studies have clearly displayed that more people if not all of society sits on the spectrum and they are able to display traits of autism, but it all comes down to percentages. Some lean closer to autism, whilst others lean away. Of course there are many that full heartedly disbelieve that theory holds water.
Sadly however, whatever science might like us to believe, the truth is still much simpler, society doesn’t like to talk about mental health anymore than it wishes to discuss autism. So in order to avoid these subjects they surround them in taboo and then stigmatise those affected. I don’t agree with that philosophy, l believe that we all have a duty of care to each other as people and that we should all be working together to eliminate taboos and stigmas on not just these two topics but many topics. How can we live in this so called progressive society and still stigmatise people?
Society is notorious for inciting fear and ignorance and of course these lead to hatred. One only has to look at religious, racial or even sexual topics to still see this in action. Mental health and all its’ derivatives alongside the autism spectrum disorders are just grouped together in the main by a society hell bent on pretending that everything slots into their ‘normalcy’ department – but of course we then come to the question of what is a true definition of normal? Your normal may be very different to my normal and my normal will undoubtedly be very different to the next persons’ idea of typical behaviour never mind just normal!
These days l am very content to NOT be the same as everyone else, thank you very much! I am quite happy to be different to the bulk of society and l no longer pretend to fit in to everyone else’s way of thinking. Sod that for a game of soldiers! But also, l am in my mid fifties, and have reached the age in some eyes where l can wear the most awful knitted sweaters and get away with it.
I wasn’t always like this … as in not ‘not’ caring about how l look, but always ensuring that l fitted into the societal slots allocated to me. I was more scared of not looking the same as everyone else, because if l didn’t then l would stick out like the proverbial sore thumb! But also back then l believed there was something wrong with me! I wasn’t like the others, l behaved differently, acted differently and on some occasions spoke differently – but worse yet, was that l didn’t think like the rest of society. I was different to my peers and when young if not being bullied by them for not being the same, l was terrorised at home for not being able to fit in by my father who considered me backward!
There was no winning back then, l assure you! Back then it was not in my better interests to be different and so l had to work very hard to be the same, otherwise l had black eyes and torn clothing from school or was beaten up at home!
However whilst taboo and stigma are still present with some topics, Mental Health and autism seem to be leading the way in this area. Society can talk about many other once considered ‘taboo topics’ freely, but the moment the likes of Mental health is brought up, and people have been known to turn a funny shade of vomit green or just walk away, turn a blind eye or develop selective hearing. Autism especially suddenly becomes one of the biggest elephants going!
Autism has come a long way since say thirty years ago, when whilst it was ‘known’ about, it was not specifically an everyday word in common use. But even back then, it was still spoken about in hushed terms – yesterdays’ society was just as ignorant to its presence, they were just less aware to its significance. Yesterday was still looking at the potentiality that it was present only because of poor parenting or what was still sadly in usage and known as the ‘refrigerator Mothering theory’ , a totally scandalous outlook!
Thirty years on, and STILL autism is spoken about in some quarters by ignorant tongues, a society insistent that the ‘condition’ is brought on by something else, other than the obvious genetical fact. Society like with Mental Health cannot see any positive aspect of autism, and so must continually highlight the negative attributes!
Today we have both pro and anti-cure groups fighting each other, political debates about what should be done about the rising epidemic of autism, not fully comprehensive that there is no sweeping contagion present, but just more and more of ‘society’ becoming aware to the presence of autism. But again, like that of mental health JUST because it is talked of more frequently, that the words are in our diction, this doesn’t make it any easier for many to swallow especially as they have in many cases falsely perceived ideas of what both autism and mental health really mean.
It is easy to hate what you don’t understand or in many cases what you don’t wish to understand – it is easier to be a homophobe, or a racist or an atheist, than to actually readily accept the changing ways of society. It is way more convenient to not go out of ones’ way to take on board the actualities of mental health – because these things happen to other people and not you. The mind draws a blank with these ‘hidden’ disabilities and disorders – only the ‘healthy’ are considered normal and worthy of being talked to and talked of, in comparison to being talked about. People all too easily forget that everyone has mental health!
Society is all too happy to continue along the merry path of oppression, and discriminations, isolations, misconceptions and intolerance on the premise that these issues will simply go away and they will not only have to not talk ‘about it’, but simply not even have to think about it or look upon it. The three monkeys very much come into their own here, see, speak and hear no evil or in this case taboo and stigmas!
But l am NOT like that, l want to raise these issues, talk about these topics, because that is the only way that we can raise awareness, break taboo and end the stigma! I believe with all my heart in active autism awareness, and individual empowerments for those not just on the spectrum, but for everyone.
Mental Health shouldn’t be a political subject, but society makes it this way, it should be about people working together and alongside those who need the help, to crack down and make fantasy reality. We are too long in the tooth for all this bullshit; we don’t need all the crap that travels alongside these subjects – we need to unite as one body for that is the only sure fire way of slamming stigma.
There are way too many untackled labels when it comes to both mental health & autism and they walk happily hand in hand with these two areas – stress, suicidal ideation, isolation, exclusion, self-harm, loneliness and depression, and each of these have their own stigmas attached – and none of these need that. Society needs to wake up and realise that now is the time of awareness – now is the time to stop pretending these issues are not here, but to Act and Talk About It No more, should these be treated like some kind of freak show oddities and kept behind closed doors!