It’s anime day!!
Today we were watching an anime called Radiant and it brought to mind something that I and others that have a mental illness, alternate gender identity, certain race or nationality, sexual preferences, and/or so many more issues dealt with on an everyday basis, stigma. aka. why I am not quite loud & proud yet.
In the world of Radiant large monsters called Nemesis drop to the ground and destroy all they see, anytime, anywhere. The touch of one brings death to nearly all humans. The few who survive gain the ability to absorb and use magical powers. They are the only ones who can defeat the Nemesis, and they are despised; called infected and cursed’. The theme of this is pervasive throughout the show. An example is shown with a young sorcerer boy who looks to be about 4 getting beaten up because it’s the ‘right thing to do’ by other kids. Dang it’s hard to avoid spoilers… Ahem let’s continue
Of course, it’s the right thing to do. It’s right to be assaulting, insulting, shunning, and fearing their saviors. It’s what the government teaches and society follows, that the unknown is to be feared. A variety of reasons are said: that they’ll infect you by touching you; they bring bad luck, they’re cursed, etc. etc. etc. Sound familiar?
There are going to be many posts on this topic in the future, I actually have 3 in mind already, including historical & current treatment of the mentally ill and the effects of stigma, on the individual & the community. However, this one is going to remain somewhat personal.
I am afraid of coming out at someone with a severe mental illness. I am afraid of people dismissing my intelligence & contributions because I’m crazy. I’m afraid of being pitied and left aside. I’m afraid of being judged by someone before they even know me. I’m afraid of losing friends, I’ve only told a select few, the ones that I know don’t have saneitis(1).
On the highly negative side: Bipolar people are: violent, manipulative, self-centered, abusive, etc. etc. etc. These statements come from fear and judgment and it spreads frequently. Then there are the myths that make us dismissible: we can control our moods if we try, we are attention seekers who manipulate, we shouldn’t be in marriages, all of our moods are bipolar, there’s no hope for us. These aren’t major headlines, or obviously spoken of all the time, it’s insidious. People hate us before they even know who we are. The looks, the treatment, the assumptions, they’re all in our culture. A woman I’ve known for years saying “thank God she was not bipolar.”
Then the silly things, like bipolar t-shirts, cards, and minimizing language throughout. “I was unhappy today, but then I was happy, LOL So Bipolar!”
This fear might be overkill for bipolar, it might not, I am not sure. My fear of stigma came from when I was misdiagnosed with quiet Borderline Personality Disorder. A search on the Mighty shows so many titles of how people are hurt by the stigma. Pete Davidson, from SNL, recently did an Instagram post about this topic. Even some of the book titles made the topic instantly negative. I will forever hate the term ‘Stop Walking on Eggshells”.
Bipolar is more understood and less feared than 1, 5, 10, 30 years ago, but coming out is a bell that cannot be unrung. I hope to one day be more like Seth. Like most Shonen Jump type anime, he is confident & determined. He knows what he is and wants. He doesn’t want to hide, he wants to fight to save the world that shuns him. While I’d love to save the world from the beasts of stigma, I’ll have to start with confidence & determination first.