Thursday, October 23, 2014

I sometimes hear others putting labels on you. How does that make you feel?

  This is a series of post answering questions posed by Kevin's daughter.  I asked permission to answer each of these questions as if I was answering my adult children.  I will also include a link to Kevin's answer. (I don't read his blog until after I write mine.)

20.  I sometimes hear others putting labels on you. How does that make you feel?

For me, having a label or a name for my shadow warrior that could destroy me at will, it was a relief.  I had something I could research.  I could find suggestions that apply to my life and improve my living conditions.  However, there is a part two to this issue that blasted on the news this week.  A horrible shooting by a man that killed out of his own choices and headlines are screaming....."He must be mentally ill."  NOT every crook, criminal, cruel abuser, or jerk is mentally ill.  Or push the issue the other way and almost every person will fit a mental illness.  The issue I see with this question is the lumping everyone together.  I would not intentionally hurt another person - ever.  From these shooting sprees come a knee jerk out cry to track "all mentally ill people" so we know where the crazies are.  Mentally ill people have enough problems without using labels to ostracize, blame, or prejudice against individuals that already been through too much.  It also gets more confusing when they use PTSD label to mean I get one certain treatment because it works for someone else with PTSD.  Medical doctors don't treat all sick people with the same treatment.  Mentally ill shouldn't have all the same treatment either.  The danger of labels is how they are used and by whom.  I still remember the day a neighbor found out I was in counseling.  She made the comment, "Well, at least you are not one of those weird multiples."  The stunned look on her face after I said, "Actually, I am," was comical.  Only I didn't feel like laughing.  Labels used to hurt have a negative impact if it is about my race, religion, body, or mental health.  Derogatory names, belittling, and other ways to isolate and exclude a person hurt.  Knowing that I have PTSD and there is something I can do to help relieve many of the symptoms is wonderful to know.  Being told I need to be tracked because I have mental illness and I am treated like a criminal but I've done nothing wrong sucks.  It is all how the label is used. 

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