Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stigma, Judgement, Welfare Jokes, and Frustration

I am feeling a certain level of frustration now. It astounds me how judgmental people can be.

I have a friend who was asking people for money for doctor's bills
I have a friend who was asking people for money to get to appointments
I have a friend who was asking people for money to help fix his teeth
I have have many other friends who have asked for money through donation sites.

Now, this is not to say I am against that. I fully support it. However, when I make a Go Fund Me account asking for help because I am in a bad situation then it's seen as, "attention whoring". Never mind the fact that I am doing this so I am able to have gas money to get to job interviews, looking for working every day, and doing other things to make sure I make ends meet.

I feel I deal with double stigma. Stigma from being poor and stigma from being mentally ill. The first comes from the thought process that if you're poor you deserve to be poor, and you only deserve to have misery. You're not allowed nice things (even if those things were gifts or you got them when you had income). People judge everything. For example, I was judged for "all the tattoos I'm getting and shows I'm going too." I got a tattoo about a month ago while I was working full time, and the only show I'm going to is one where the tickets were free and a friend is paying for transportation.

Then there is the mental illness side of stigma. A friend said in a comment, "I think also that a lot of folks don't truly get that someone with BPD should be given criticism in helpful and non-confronting ways," Which is exactly on point. Unfortunately a lot of people believe that mental illness is a excuse or a crutch, that we can simply pull ourselves up by our boot straps or make it go away over night. It's especially hard having a personality disorder because then people think it should be easy to change, they don't realize how hard it is.

People like to judge others and their situations. I've had a few people judge me for "complaining about everything." That's another problem. Unless you're posting 100% happy positive things all the time then you're "complaining." It's like it's not okay to vent anymore. Honestly who has no problems ever? I feel like posting about when things are not going so well makes me human.

Also, even though I vent, I'm still getting things done. I'm job searching, going to therapy, working on getting assistance for the time being, going to interviews, etc. But all people want to focus on is the one "negative" post in a sea of all the positive ones. I've been doing really well not posting negative stuff all the time, but it doesn't matter to some people. Venting is seen as weakness, people do not look past what's in front of their noses.

I'm not sitting around refusing to better myself. This is why one of my 2014 life lessons is, "The only person who has the right to judge my progress is me." Because everyone else can only compare me from the moment they met me. No one knows how far I've come, but me.

I'm also annoyed that people take my welfare jokes so seriously. Honestly, in bleak times I feel it's important to have a sense of humor. I've never bought steak or lobster with food stamps, I don't drink, and I don't plan on buying an Obamacopter or whatever. It's just a bit of harmless joking, and honestly it's poking fun at the people who lack insight and compassion.

I look at where I was in 2008 and where I am now. I've had a lot of ups and downs, losses and gains, but overall I am a much better person and a much stronger person. Unfortunately people are still going to judge.
As far as using my illness as an "excuse": I am going to therapy, job searching, getting things done, improving every day. How is that using my mental illness as an "excuse"? Also, I don't believe mentioned anything about my illness in my gofundme info. But, here's the thing. That's the stigma. If I were to say, "I can't work or need help because I have cancer/a broken leg/the flu" then that would be ok. But, saying you are struggling because of mental illness, it's seen as "an excuse".

Am I sitting around not bothering to send out resumes? Am I not going to interviews? Not trying to get assistance so I'm able to continue to do the former. No. So how is it using it as an excuse? Is it because I understand my disorder, I can recognize the traits, I learn from them. Is it because I go to therapy?

The thing is, I battle against my own head every day and I'm still standing strong. Sorry, but that's no "excuse"

Guess what? I'm so over it.

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