Mental health & Stigma

tornado

Even though gender nonconforming people often experience something like anxiety, depression, or other type of mental illness, I still find I´m very hesitant to talk about it. I used to talk about it, a lot, on my other blog. Back when I hadn´t figured out why being in a social female role and body made me feel so funny. I still feel poorly understood, when it comes to the bizarre loops my brain has made.

I mean look at gender. It´s everywhere. Thanks to ridiculous bathroom laws, to Caitlin Jenner, and increased overall acceptance, I see transgender news items almost every day. And it´s great! Still, mental injury and gender are in two completely different niches socially. When do people ever talk about homeless people on the street, who are muttering something to themselves, or yelling out loud for no apparent reason?

When you´ve been where they´ve been, you get scared. Scared of being yourself, of being fragmented and messed up. Like the wonky homeless man or woman, inducing fear and loathing in people around them, you start to loathe yourself for not being more rational, for not being balanced, for not “making sense”. You hide yourself from others, pretend that you´re in control.

When I came out as transgender, personally, I lucked out. People were really accepting, and people who weren´t simply kept it to themselves. I realize that not everyone has this privilege, that coming out can still be very overwhelming and potentially ruin relationships that were previously considered good. But I haven´t always received the same kind of accepting attitude when it came to carrying emotional baggage.

There are plenty of people who don´t understand. They see me, and they see  a calm and level headed person. For them, it´s difficult to adjust to the idea that contradictions are the stuff of life. You get tornado, you get eye of the tornado. You get a troubled individual, they´re trying like crazy to box into the opposite direction, in an emotionally draining tug-of-war that can last for years.

If all you can see is the eye of the hurricane, it´s easy to pass judgement, to put a label on someone´s reactions, like “out of bounds” or “out of control“. Maybe their reaction is perfectly proportional to the shitstorm they´re going through. So let´s not do that. Let´s not judge what we don´t know, and let´s not encourage this heavy stigma that still covers mental illnesses, silencing the ones who are suffering.

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