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Mental Health Awareness Ribbon Tattoo

Mental Health Awareness TattooA few weeks ago, I went and got myself a new tattoo. I had wanted to get a new one for the last few years, but I either did not have the money, the time or could not settle on what I wanted. As each of my tattoo’s has a very special and important meaning to me, trying to decide what to get is sometimes a very difficult and lengthy process.

Then the other day it came to me. I knew I had to get something for mental health. Mental health awareness and ending stigma is very important to me. Mental health problems have touched my life directly and indirectly for many years and as you can imagine caused me much difficulty at times.

I have seen the havoc it has caused so many people. I have seen the lack of understanding, about mental illness, from others around me. It is a frustrating thing to see so many people who do not understand mental illnesses and how they affect people’s lives. The people I am talking about are good and intelligent people, they just do not understand.

The information that is out there is not always the best information and the good information is hard to find.

A perfect example of the kind of bad and harmful information that is out there is the eBook by Joe Navarro, ‘How to Spot a Borderline Personality.’ This book by this so-called ‘expert’ is offensive and does nothing but promote stigma. At one point in the book he goes so far as to suggest that when possible people should avoid people with borderline personalities. When I first read that I almost went through the roof.

The entertainment industry do not help either. They often portray people who have mental illnesses as ‘bad people’, often times as criminals or as mean, hurtful people. A lot of people unfortunately see this and think that we are all like that.


Most of us are law-abiding, good, kind people. We just have challenges that others don’t. We have feelings, at times just more intense than other people.

I realize it is hard to understand this for a person who has never been around someone with a mental health issue or who does not have one themselves. Even the people closest to us, our families, lovers and best friends do not always understand.

Another common misunderstanding is that a lot of people do not understand that not everyone with mental health problems needs to be institutionalized or even shows visible signs. Just like with any other health problem, our problems cover a range of severity from mild to moderate to extreme. We can be ‘highly functional’, which I am most of the time, to almost ‘non-functional’ and any where in between.

I have had a number of people over the years not believe me when I told them about being diagnosed with mental illnesses, but they only really see the ‘public’ me. The part the gets up in the morning, puts on his game face and goes out to face the world, even if I spent the night hurting myself, screaming, crying and feeling like the world would be better off without me. They do not see or feel the turmoil, rage and pain that consumes me during those times. They just the public me.

Why don’t they see it?

They don’t want to see it. The world does not want to hear about our problems. It wants to go on believing that everything is rosy and that we are just being dramatic. It is easier for people to believe that we are being dramatic then to admit that there are problems.

I have had friends that when we were walking and talking, I would sometimes talk about my problems and my diagnoses and they would ask me not to talk about it. I told them I did not care who heard me because I wasn’t ashamed of my challenges. They however, did not want other people to hear what I was saying because of how THEY might be perceived.

So, when we go out, we try our best to hide our pain and our hurt and try to blend in and ‘fit in’ with everyone else.

Posted: April 1st, 2012 under Mental Health Awareness, News, Thoughts on Mental Health.


Comment from John Carter - 2012/04/01 at 21:46

My thoughts exactly. Thanks for sharing.

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