Suicide and Homicide, the Role Models for Mentally Ill

One of the inspirations for this entry was an article from another blogger living with schizophrenia. I recommend you to read it: This Has Been Heavily Edited to Suit All Audiences.

 

Role models. Those are people who inspire us in some way, we want to achieve what they did, look like they do or something like that. We try to imitate them, behave like them, dress like them, talk like them, so we can have something they have. It might be a successful person in bussiness, it might be our parents, it might be a fictional character and so on. The “fun” starts, when you have some mental illness. Oh yes, looking for someone to inspire you is…well, bitter to say the least.

I tried to think about some famous people in my country with mental illness. I came up with few, one died of heart attack at pretty early age, one combined alcohol and pills and the combination was lethal, one died in mental hospital, because his illness got worse, the other two comitted suicide… When it comes to famous people abroad, some singer, actor, politician, just someone, I can’t come up with anyone. Well, I can, but Robin Williams also comitted suicide, so…

And that’s the “fun”! Think about representation of mental illnesses in media. How many fictional characters can you come up with that are mentally ill, but have normal happy life? How many of these stories are in news? Honestly, I can’t think of even one… But how many fictional villains are mentally ill? They are depressed, schizofrenic, just twisted personalities… Yeah, maaany… And news representation? Oh yes, stories of a mentally ill murderers are common, just think about the last one, which inspired me to write this blog.

The German pilot crashed a plane in Alps and killed 149 people and himself. That itself is terrible, but at least for a week media was full of him being depressed as the reason for this act. I stopped reading articles about this right after this discovery, it was too much. Unfortunatelly, I wasn’t spared the “depressed people are crazy” sort of comment and it actually came from my partner… He read some article and then said something like “it turns out that the pilot was crazy, he was depressed”. I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember the feeling. He sat with his back to me, so he couldn’t see my face, but I felt like I froze in place. And then I got really angry, thinking if this is what people think about me behind my back, that I’m crazy. Then I got bitter, wondering if I can actually be angry about that, considering what is the media representation of mentally ill people. And then I just got really tired of this situation…

We are portrayed as crazy people who cannot control themselves, who are just incapable of living normal life. Which is harmful in so many ways. First of all, think about the people who just realized they might have some mental problems, but are afraid to see a doctor and get treatment, because they are afraid of being labeled as “crazy”. Second, think of the people who are living with some mental problems, what are the messages they get, there are no role models for us, who would give us hope that we can live pretty normal life despite our problems. Yeah, our self-esteem might get really low because of this at times… Third, think about our families and friends, how are they to cope with our problems, when the messages they get are again that we are crazy, unable to control ourselves, our lives are doomed. Fourth, what about the strangers we meet, for example when we apply for a job, should we tell them, will it influence their opinion about us, will they think us uncapable of performing the job? And so on…

As I was looking up some mentally ill famous people, I made a mistake and read some comments under the articles about their deaths. And there is was, some people writing that people just need to work more, that they make this up to feel important or different, that they are just weak, because nobody strong would ever fall for such a nonsense. Oh and one saying that living with such a person (meaning mentally ill person) is something nobody could ever stand for more than few days. It felt really “great”, but it didn’t really surprised me…

It makes me frustrated and tired. I would really love to see someone out there, who I can relate to, who has mental problems and is happy and living normal life. May be even famous and successful. I’m tired of media emphasizing the fact that some murderer was mentally ill in a way to say “you see, normal person would never do that, this is just a crazy person”. Or in the case of the pilot, it is “you don’t have to be afraid of flying, this is just an isolated case of crazy person, nobody normal would ever do such a thing”. Which feels very “supportive”. I’m tired of questions popping up in my head, wondering if I actually have a chance for normal happy life, wondering if this is not exactly the reality that awaits me, ending up as another one commiting suicide, because they can’t take it anymore. I’m just tired of all this. And fed up of dealing with this everyday.

11 thoughts on “Suicide and Homicide, the Role Models for Mentally Ill

  1. Actually, I don’t think this is true. From what I’ve read, there’s many, many celebrities who are living with a mental illness. Actually, there’s a lot of people around you living with mental illness as well, that you might not even know of. On one hand, I’m very happy you’re so open about your problems, it’s great you’re brave enough to come up and talk about them, but you need to stop this overly victimized attitude. You’d be surprised how many people need medicine, psychiatric help and are also open about their troubles, but they’re not announcing it right away when you meet them. Many of us have been bullied and it’s more than ok to share, but imagine it’s cancer you have instead. Imagine that you expected to be pitied and treated differently because of this, that you tell everyone right away, that you announce in multiple facebook posts.

    See, I really do agree with you that mental illness needs to be treated differently. I just don’t think this is the way. By digging so deep into it you’re only making yourself seem vulnerable, stop complaining and be strong, prove people that we are just regular humans with a chemical inbalance in the brain. Stop whining. It sucks beyond imagination to be in this condition, as a person suffering from severe anxiety and mild depression, as a person trying to battle bulimia, alcoholism and low self esteem, I know what I’m talking about.

    So please, try and change your attitude. I keep seeing these on my feed and I kind of snapped.

    There’s a couple of names I dug up not sure if all are relevant, I just want to prove you wrong. We’re not that special. We’re not that unique. Instead of singling yourself out, just work with what you have.

    John Nash (mathematician) – paranoid schizophrenia
    Emma Thompson (actress) – depression
    Elton John – substance abuse and bulimia
    Sinnead O’Connor – bipolar
    Buzz Aldrin (who landed on the fuckin moon!) – depressed alcoholic
    Marlon Brando – Depression
    Jim Carrey – Depression
    Sheryl Crow – depression
    Princess Diana – well known for being bullimic and depressed
    Billy Joel – depression and even a suicide attempt
    Catherine Zeta Jones – bipolar
    Abraham Lincoln, depression apparently

    and I could go on and on. The truth is I think many of the people in the artistic world have problems, therefore many celebrities, so would you just please PLEASE stop this bullshit.

    I’m hoping to see more constructive articles that I can relate to in the future! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment and for the list of the famous people living with mental illness, I appreciatte it.

      As for the rest, I’m not trying to whine or make people feel sorry for me. Your comment is actuall a pretty good example of what is making me angry, telling be I’m whining and playing victim, that I should be strong and so on. I’m sorry if my post made you feel like this, it was not intented that way. As much as I live my normal life, there are moments when I get angry about many things connected with my depression. This blog is my personal experience and my opinion, it is not universal truth for everyone and I have never claimed that it is. I don’t pressure you to relate to it, what you relate to is absolutely your decision and I respect that.

      Anyway, thank you for you opiniona dn for the list :-).

      Like

      • I’m sorry for being overly critical and harsh, I might have misunderstood you a bit. However, despite our minor difference in opinion, I respect yours and am always happy to read your blog. Keep the faith, we’re gonna get through.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kind words, although you have nothing to appologize for, everyone is different and everyone views their problems differently. I’m in a time of life when lot of things are changing, I have lot of worries about future and my illness and all that (future job, marriage, children…), also my brain works overtime when it comes to thinking, so I use my blog to relieve all that and I guess at times, it really gets a bit much… I respect your opinion and I’m really grateful for the list you gave me, I didn’t know there were so many famous people, with mental health issues and also being great and successful and happy! And honestly, even if you hadn’t done that, I would respect your opinion, I’m sure not everyone sees their problems as I do and may be some years from now, I will be different, it’s just that this is really confusing time for me and I guess I get lost sometimes :-). Anyway, thank your, honestly. And good luck with your problems, it will get better!

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    • Thank you for your reply. I know there are people and I know there are many of them, the problem is they are invisible. And when all people here are “horror stories”, it’s really hard for me to feel at least a bit normal at times…

      Like

    • Thank you for your comment. Well, I know there are people like me out there, I even know some of them, personally or via the internet. It’s just that I feel the need for someone to relate to, with similar experience, with hope that it will get better, but I struggle to find a person like that, because often all I see around my are the “horror stories”…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand. Just remember that those you CANNOT detect are invisible for a reason. You too, can fit in equally smoothly. Never forget just how many millions of people manage mental illnesses so well others can’t tell. Can’t!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am living pretty normal life, although I suffer from a serious mental illness 😉

    If you need to talk or just need a hug, let me know. I love you and am here for you :-*

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love you too and it’s amazing to have you in my life :-*.
      Sometimes I just feel tired with all the worries about future, how I will cope with all that, if I’m able to cope with that, and I’m angry, because I know that I refused to accept any help for long time, because I didn’t want to be “that crazy girl”, because that’s what I thought mental illness was about and it worries me that this perception is still going on out there without almost any positive example for people :/

      Like

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