Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Judging

First off – let me deal with some questions that arose from my last post.

Did someone offend me in a comment on one of my posts? No. It wasn’t blogging related.

Was my last post read by the offenders? I doubt it – they don’t even know I blog.

Did my (new) attitude make a difference to said offenders? To those who I interacted with afterwards – yes. Some have yet to make an appearance and might never - which is fine with me. I hate confrontation to the point where I will start shaking and when I get angry enough I will start to cry.

More importantly – it made a huge difference in me. I feel stronger. That being said I also feel that I have built a thicker wall than was there before and in many respects that is sad.

I am a person who puts it all out there for the world to see. I give my heart and soul to any project that I undertake and any friendship I embark on. I believe in honesty and respect. And I believe that we shouldn’t judge.

I’m not going to list all the reasons I’ve been judged but one major one stands out. I HAVE BEEN AND AM MENTALLY ILL. I am on a disability pension because I can no longer function in a working environment let alone a stressful one. I am unable to interact socially in what is termed a ‘normal’ manner because of my illness – I am afraid of new people and of crowds. If poked long enough with a certain stick- I will dissolve into a babbling mess. That being said – the journey from here to the ‘loony bin hallway’ is not that far.

Yet still – if you had never met me and didn’t know of my past – would you know? Could you see? Probably not. Not unless you had that antennae that searches out the vulnerable people in the world.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend in New Orleans. She pointed me to an article Mental Illness Tidal Wave Swamps New Orleans

I read that article with my hand over my mouth and tears in my eyes. Why? Not only for what those people are going through – what they went through – what they have to further endure – but because of the comments. Nearly every single comment poked at the people being mentally ill. They poked at them losing their inner strength because they had 'a flood'. They insisted that we should be able to pull up our socks and get on with it. They thought those people deserved whatever they were going through because they chose to live in the ‘cesspool’ of New Orleans.

Who are they to judge? What gives them the right or authority to give (hateful) judgements about people who are suffering? Did they endure Katrina and its aftermath? Did they watch their loved ones die and float away in front of them? Did they survive something that killed how many?

Were they there when I was beaten – by my father – by my mother – by someone who claimed he ‘loved me’? Did they take those fists to the face? Those kicks to the stomach? That back breaking drop that destroyed the spine? Were they there when I was mentally abused around the clock? Were they the ones who feared for their lives? Were they 15 years old and running through the dark – fear pounding at their heart – fear running down their leg in a yellow stream? Looking over their shoulder to see if they were being chased? Were they afraid to speak and when it came to escape – did their hearts almost collapse out of fright and loss of love? Did they lose their minds somewhere because it was just the safest place to be when there was no more hope?

And yet they judge. How proud they must be.

Some may say I am judging them. That may very well be true. But try to walk one mile in my shoes and one inch in the victims of Katrina – no matter where they lived – in New Orleans or on the Mississippi coast.

Try walking in the shoes of any mentally ill person. The ones raving on the street – the ones lying in the gutters – the ones curled up on the grate for a bit of warmth in the winter.

Try to think what it might be like for any of us. The day does not dawn shiny and new on a daily basis. Life is not a bowl of cherries and we don’t skip merrily down the lane hand in hand with shining children and partners with perfect shiny teeth. We’re more like PigPen - that Charles Shultz character that always had the little black cloud over his head. There are not enough words of angst to describe what our lives are like.

Yet we try. We may fail on a regular basis – but we try. Not one of us chose this path we now walk. And we know you judge us.

Now – don’t get me started on being judged because I am female.

23 comments:

Daryl said...

BRAVA ...

bermudabluez said...

I'm standing right behind you...clapping and saluting you!

Maggie May said...

I should think everyone with a back bone would support you, Aims.
A certain type of person with no empathy at all, who makes fun of mental illness and victims of tragedy.... their turn will come. One in four people suffer from mental illness at some point in their life. That is a lot. The other tragedies can happen to anyone at any time.
I am a great believer in *what goes around, comes around* because no one knows when any of these things will inflict them or their loved ones.
So stand up tall, Aims and be proud of your fight against your problems. it takes guts and the sneering ones are often cowards!

anickdaler said...

Powerful and very well said :)

Leslie: said...

Having suffered abuse in my childhood and in my first marriage, and surviving "his" suicide, and now having a daughter who inherited the mental illness gene, I am standing RIGHT BESIDE YOU in support and friendship.

Leatherdykeuk said...

You will always have my admiration.

dND said...

Well said - I'm with you all the way.
Deborah x

Valleys Mam said...

Wow Aims that should be published wider. That was powerful and spoken with the voice experience and knowledge

grandmamargie said...

Aims, I agree with Valley Mom. That needs to be published wider. Maybe some of your readers can comment on their blogs and link to you so more people can read it. I would but I don't have a blog. Also, about those people who live on the streets, I've always said to myself, "Except for the Grace of God, there go I." And as far as people saying things about "choosing to live in New Orleans", what about California, with fires and earthquakes. Or the flooding in the northern states. Or tornado valley. Sometimes, it just doesn't matter where you choose to live, there can and will be times of peril. Take care. Much love to you.

The Green Stone Woman said...

We live in a world in which there is much injustice and there are people suffering who deserve all the help they can get, except that there are very selfish people in the world who think we just need to get over it. I'm with the people of New Orleans. I'll go hold their hand any time.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

The best tool you have is your anger. It is a great emotion that propels us forward when we use it correctly. The sheer injustice of those ignorant and nasty people who judge others leaves many people hurt by their inability to empathise and understand. I am often shocked by the horrid comments made on teh daily mail web pages by jealous, ignorant and intellectually challenged eejits that read the paper.

You are and always will be stronger than the numpty's that are vile. Yup, what goeas around comes around! Hugs hen!

San said...

The Pigpen analogy is brilliant. I believe we all walk with that little dirty cloud over our heads. For some of us, it's bigger and more constant. Others choose to pretend it's not there. They're too busy pointing at others' clouds.

Dr.John said...

I think one of the reasons God directed Christians to refrain from judging is to protect people who were hurting. Now you need to remember the good feelings of New Orleans. You need to think of the wonder of rafting. You need to think of those who support you. You need to know that there are those of us you will never meet who pray for you.
Sometimes if we shift our focus the feelings will follow,

Polergirl said...

Hear hear!

(Polergirl punches fist into the air and marches forward with Aims, heads held high against all those judgemental, mollycoddled idiots who hide behind their own insecurities by having a go at others.)

Melanie said...

There's that saying about not judging a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. It sounds like there are still people out there who can't sympathise with others less fortunate. They aren't the sort of person to bother about.

doctorj2u said...

Please,please,please, don't let these idiots get you down. Actually most of their comments don't have ANYTHING to do with mental health or New Orleans. It has to do with defending their political position. It has to do with them defending their political point of view. Is it disgusting? Sure. I have been listening to it for 4 years as they do everything in their power to belittle my world. But, truthfully, Aims, it has nothing to do with you or me or any other human being with a living breathing soul. They are hard selfish people trying the best they can to make a excuse for their own selfishness. They are trying to make the victims worthy of their misery. I am so sorry to upset you. I guess I live with this ugliness so much I did not realize the effect on you. My reaction is is attack, to hit them where it hurts (their future politically). I am past the deep pain. I never wanted to bring you pain and it is a wonderful series about a very real problem in the city. If you want to truly know New Orleans, you have to understand the total experience. It is the best of the best and the worst of the worst. It is HARD with benefits. It is at the edge where you are most alive. Again, I am so sorry if this brought you pain.

rosiero said...

You are an exceptional woman. You have my respect wholeheartedly. You should hold your head high and be proud.

travelling, but not in love said...

Aims, I know it's an overused addage and all, but there but by the grace of god and all.

My family has first hand experience of self-harming, schizophrenia, OCD, anorexia, bulimia, PTSD, suicide attempts....and on the surface we look like every other family out there.

It's a fine line that we all walk. Well done for speaking out.

Now, go get that book deal - people need to read this stuff!

travelling, but not in love said...

Alas, I just read the comment that 'god directed Christians to refrain from judging'....did the Christians just choose to forget this then?

In my experience, the most judgemental people on this planet claim Christianity as their reason for being so.

NEO-CONDUIT said...

As my computer broke down I have found it hard keeping up with peoples posts. I missed this one totally. Wow a really well written post. Go for gold and put it out there, you shoudnt be judged because you had a breakdown. Many people hide behind other things and judge others because they dont understand, nor do they want to.
Keep your head up high, you are human not a diagnosis. :)
Kind Regards
Kirst

BT said...

As you know aims, I suffer from depression too, though I was loved as a child and there was no abuse there. I'm with you, girl. xxx

Junebug said...

Great post! We should all remember except for the grace of God there go I.

TSannie said...

Well said, my friend.