I bought a magnifying makeup mirror. It would be nice if my friends would tell me I have a mustache. Thanks for nothing. Fixed that right away.
For a woman who recently had a mustache you would think I didn’t have much self pride however I do. A lot of it. I looked at myself in another mirror the other day and, much like today I didn’t like what I saw.
As a friend was talking about somebody with bipolar disorder and comparing them to me I found my inner pride getting all prickly. “BPD people aren’t like me.” And then an ugly thought came squirting out of my brain like toothpaste from an uncapped tube that was stepped on. “They’re not really sick. They just need to control their behavior and their words.” I no sooner could have stopped those thoughts than I could have kept the sun from rising this morning. Why? Because they are embedded bias in my brain.
Who am I to compare one illness or its impact on somebody else? That is like comparing who suffers worse from their cancers! How dare I? I truly believe the more normative it becomes for people to speak of mental illness in polite and respectful conversation the easier it will be for us to manage our own attitudes, bias and judgements.
Think about it. There was a time when we did not talk about learning delays or chromosomal abnormalities with any respect. We called people retarded and slow. Now, with coaching and corrective conversation we don’t do that. I hope that day is coming soon for the conversation on mental illness so I can look in the mirror and see that I have treated other people with mental illness with the same kind of love and respect that I crave and deserve.