Discussion

{DISCUSSION} Mental Health = Weak

Does having a mental health disorder make you weak?

******TRIGGERS******

Back in June, a reader made a comment about one of my novels that left me wanting to rip that person to shreds.

Now, I should preface with stating that I take criticism pretty well. I have been destroyed. I have been demolished. And I have learned. I have grown a tough skin and I respect everyone’s decision to love or hate my stories, but what I cannot stand is someone having backwards ideals and having very strict, very narrow images of what a person should be like, of what makes a person ‘strong.’

What am I talking about?

This person commented that they didn’t like my main character (which a dozen other people have also stated. My main character wasn’t supposed to be likeable. Fine), but this person stated they didn’t like my main character because she wasn’t strong. Because my main character had anxiety attacks she is weak and this reader doesn’t like to read about weak women. And then they had the audacity to call themselves a feminist.

STFU

First off, feminism is about promoting women as they are. It is about embracing everything it means to be a woman – the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful – and GUESS WHAT!! That includes having weak moments. (Which men are allowed too.) Masculinity is not just strength and femininity is not just weak. Feminism isn’t JUST about promoting female strength and equity. It’s also about promoting femininity, about sexuality, about EVERYTHING IT MEANS TO BE A WOMAN! Feminism is about allowing women to be WHOMEVER they want just as men are able to do. It’s about promoting the equity of humanity.

We are human.
We are compassionate.
We are strong.
We are fighters.

BUT

We are also fragile.
We are breakable.
We can be pushed beyond our limits,
and a lot of people have been pushed too far.

A LOT of people – men and women both – suffer from mental health disorders. And they are shamed for them. They are scoffed at and told their disorder isn’t real. They are rejected by friends and family. They have a hard time seeking help either because it doesn’t exist or because they are told not to, and it is because of the cruelty of society treating them this way that many of them end up taking their own lives.

The people who don’t take their own lives, those who manage to skirt that edge, spend their every waking moment fighting. You can’t see their struggles. You can’t hear the negative voices. You can’t even imagine the difficulties they go through – often because you don’t want to – but those people fight demons all the damn time and most people can never even fathom that.

Most people have no idea what it is like to struggle and to fight something inside one’s own head, to fight something for the rest of their lives because those mental health disorders that you sneer at never go away. They can be managed, but they do not vanish. They leave a scar. And that scar can be ripped open because of your insensitivity and your inability to be a decent fucking human being.

So for you to call those people WEAK is the dumbest, most ignorant, most privileged thing I have ever heard in my life.

Fuck. You.


And check out my discussion from last week:
Prophecies

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20 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Mental Health = Weak”

  1. This is such a beautiful post Melanie. I admire your strength for taking a stand and opening up the issue of what defines femininity and separating it from weakness which is what people often think about when they think of women.
    As you say, being a woman is not all about being tough and standing for what you believe in but also means embracing sexuality and moments of grief and sadness, so I’m really glad to see that here. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my post, Delphine, and I thank you for taking the time comment. I believe we have problems with this both for women and men in that we don’t believe anyone should have or show emotions or be fragile. We expect it more from women than we do men and it’s accepted more, but women are still ridiculed just as much for it as men. We need to stop this mindset. It does nothing but cause more pain and more trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d like to just add that feminism isn’t solely about uplifting women as many men and non binary folks also benefit from feminism and are a part of the feminist movement.

    As for this person: that is the dumbest fucking thing I have ever heard. Literally every single person on this planet has faced even a tiny amount of anxiety, whether they recognize it as anxiety or not. Also, your character (if I am correct in guessing which one) went through A LOT of shit. No one is strong enough to go through all of that and be perfectly okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, feminism is a huge movement that often gets shoved into a box. I don’t fully understand all aspects of it myself, which is why I only focused on part of it.

      Hahaha! I do put my characters through a lot of shit and I’m not going to make them perfect rays of sunshine when they come out because that’s not realistic. Honestly, when I meet perfect rays of sunshine IRL, I usually think they’re fake because I can’t imagine anyone being like that. We just expect everyone to be happy and cheerful and strong all the time and that is a VERY toxic mindset. It does way more damage on the psyche than people realize.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree.

    I don’t know your book, but if someone has issues, say anxiety attacks, and yet wins in the end, doesn’t that make them even stronger than a superman/woman who is perfect? Only those who are frightened show true bravery…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not about winning. I am kind of annoyed with the American culture of winning or losing because that doesn’t matter. What matters is the journey. My character doesn’t win anything. She loses in the end of the book, but it’s the obstacles she overcomes along the way that matter and how her personality and her struggles define her story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems every time I open my virtual mouth on your blog, I stick my virtual foot in it 😉 A lot of stories do have a “win” at the end, but you are right, the journey is often more important.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, you are right, it would get boring. Damn, I’m agreeing again. Maybe I should have gone with my first response idea –

            What! In life there are winners and losers and if you’re not a winner you’re a loser. You can’t be weak or show weakness in any way shape or form or you’re a loser. Never admit that you are wrong because only losers are wrong. Apologize? Nope, only losers do that. I’m a winner and… Oh, sorry, I was channeling a certain public figure here…

            Like

            1. Ah. You are channeling what it means to be American nowadays. America is a winner and has been since forever. We won our independence. We won the civil war (yeah, I know you can’t win a war against yourself, but trust me. People believe we did). We won against the communists. We won against the Germans. We WON and we’ll KEEP WINNING!

              …because the entire world is about winning and that’s soooo not the epitome of our problems in the united states. >.> God, I really do hate the culture of this country.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Now you are channeling Bob Dylan’s song “God on Our Side”…. Winning has always been a part of the American psyche, just watch athletic shoe commercials over the last several decades, yet I’ve never seen it as bad as it is now. “American Exceptionalism” is one of the worst diseases known to man, but it has gone from the fringe to mainstream. One of the worst parts of it all is the idea if anybody else in the world gets ahead, that means we Americans are getting behind, so we need to keep everyone in their places, no matter how awful it is.

                I think the winning thing is just a symptom of how selfish Americans are. We are the most self-centered people on Earth. We are using resources at an unsustainable rate, yet people don’t care. If you tell someone that they maybe should not leave lights on in rooms when they aren’t in them, you will have people scream at how un-American you are. You might even get death threats. Anyway, I’ll get off of my soapbox before I really get into it…

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I think you bring up a very good point here. We have privilege combined with ‘unlimited’ resources and a mentality of being the BEST in everything (except saying the environment, education, work-life balance, happiness, mental health awareness, freedoms, etc, etc, etc.) We like to be the BEST, but only when it benefits our outward appearance to the rest of the world. We will be the best in engineering… but we’ll work every employee to death to get there. We waste water, electricity, gas. We pollute. We fight for lives, but only some of them. Everything has a caveat and it will be the downfall of this country unless we can make change and fast because it will take decades to recover…

                  Liked by 1 person

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