So tonight, my husband and I were talking about what was going on in presidential politics (don’t worry, I won’t endorse or slam anyone, this blog is not meant to be political) when my husband said:
“If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be thinking of voting for (insert candidate name here) I would’ve checked myself in to a mental institution.”
My husband, who loves me more than I can say, obviously meant nothing by it, but this casual joke was not lost on me.
After all, I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital less than five months ago.
I’m not upset with my husband, truly, but I challenged his words right away. You see, I consider him one of my greatest allies, but someone who does not know him the way I do might hear those words and think that being a patient in a psychiatric facility is shameful.
(It is not.)
I’m even more conscious of the fact that our children might one day need to check themselves in somewhere (damn genetics) and I don’t want them to live in a world where jokes about a place that can be life-changing, if not life-saving are commonplace.
So tonight, friends, a plea.
Challenge stigmatizing speech when you hear it.
Even if the person didn’t mean anything by it.
Even if it’s a joke.
Even if it’s in passing.
Even if you’re tired of having the argument.
We need to end the stigma that surrounds mental health issues.
*Dearest bunny, I know you didn’t mean anything by it, but I was inspired after our exchange. I love you and I know you’d never want to stigmatize anyone. Please don’t beat yourself up tonight.