It seems like every time there is a mass killing (such as the recent tragedy involving 150 people on an airplane) mental illness is to blame. With these tragedies comes both positive and negative attention involving mental illness.
On the positive side, it raises the public’s attention that more should be done for people with mental illness. And I totally agree. There are a lot of resources available to people suffering as well as plenty of information for those who do not understand what a loved one may be going through. But there is also more that can be done.
On the other hand, these tragedies bring a lot of misconceptions about mental illness. After hearing stories about people losing their lives to a gunman in a movie theatre, mall, school, or even an airplane, there is always negative attention involving mental illness awareness. Mental illness is always to blame for these incidents. What bothers me about that is that of course mental illness is to blame but these people are not a very accurate description of people suffering from mental illness.
I also suffer from mental illness. I have depression, OCD tendencies, anxiety, and trichotillomania. I am also a recovering cutter at thirteen weeks clean! But no where in that description is mass murderer! I am not a danger to anyone. The very idea is repulsive to me.
I may have depression and occasionally feel like there is no value to my life but thankfully, I know that God has plans for me and that I need to continue living in order to fulfill those plans. I know that I need to keep living because I have people that care about me. Plus, I do not think I would have the courage to actually take my own life.
The only person I have ever been a danger to is myself in the form of cutting. And I never cut very deep because I knew I would have trouble hiding it. Cutting was just a way for me to deal with life. And I have been working very hard to achieve the thirteen weeks clean that I have reached this week!
I have also had thoughts of suicide in the past. That is a part of depression unfortunately. It is not normal. I know it is not normal and the thoughts always terrify me. That is why twice in the last couple of months, I have emailed the Samaritans (firstname.lastname@example.org) anonymously to talk about my problems. It does help me feel better and they always offer helpful advice. And if the thoughts got even worse, I know that I would have to take more drastic action and get professional help.
I may suffer from mental illness like a large part of the population but like so many of them, we are incapable of the horrific crimes committed by just a small percentage of those suffering. It is unfair to compare people with mental illness to the few people we see on the news.