If I stick a needle in your arm, who would feel it? Me? Or you? The answer to this obvious question is a tough truth to swallow. You. Only you would feel the prick of the needle. From the prick to the pain, I would feel nothing. I can poke you as many times as I want without feeling a thing. This brings to light an interesting topic…empathy.
Empathy is the greatest form of coping for me. Once I learn how something feels to another, I am better equipped to stop myself from being angry at the actions of said person. Let’s use an example to make my point:
My friend and I conducted a lame experiment one day to test my theory. We got together with a few people we knew and did some test questions to find out their “empathy level” we gave each person (about ten) a nasty poke with a sharp needle. After their reaction, we gave them the same type of needle and our arm. If they poked us (without being told), we knew they had little empathy and if they did not poke us unless told, they were empathetic. Proving my point that people who are lacking in empathy, even if they understand the pain, are still willing to cause it.
But what I observed is sometimes even though they know how it feels, it’s the understanding that makes them want to do it. Yeah, I know how this feels and you deserve it. For some, it’s just a general, “it’s not hurting me so why should I care?” which is exactly why you should care.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t let you poke me with a needle unless you’re a lab tech at a hospital and it’s necessary. That is the choice I have as a fellow human. But that doesn’t change the fact that you feel nothing. If I let you, you could stab me as many times as you wanted without single scratch on yourself or pain to follow. The sickening thought is that this goes double for emotions. If you say something hurtful, it only hurts me, not you. And vice versa.
I hate to say it, but some people count on this knowledge. Some people, like some medical professionals, succeed on the knowledge that only their patients can feel this pain and not them. They only get paid to treat the pain. Since they don’t feel it and can only examine it from an objective point of view, it leaves no room for empathy. This, I believe, is how mental illness stigma was founded.
“I can’t see it, so you must be crazy”
Just because you don’t believe something is real doesn’t mean it is not real. But…what is real? Take this mindblower for example…
A lamp. No one knew what a lamp was until someone imagined it. Then that person among many others, worked together to turn an imaginary item into something “real”. But before it was real, it was imagined. Boom. This concept got me to thinking how to rid this world of the ridiculous stigma of Mental Illness.
What if I could turn every thought I ever have and every experience I endured and every perspective I’ve seen, into reality? Would people start to understand how it works? Would people from the other side of mental illness finally, really, see it from our perspective?
Some people with a MI (mental illness) are either ashamed to talk about it, don’t need to talk about it, can’t talk about it, or wont, are too scared because of stigma, or are successful and want to put that behind them. Then there are those that like to talk about it, a lot, and have every problem you could imagine but it’s difficult to listen to someone who always sounds like they are complaining. But they are not. They are telling you what’s happening to them but in their own way.
You see a person talking about how depressed they are or killing themselves or just generally talking about depressing things. To others, they seem annoying and a bother. A whiner complaining about their issues when they have it all. But this, I assure you, is not the case.
It’s incredible to me when someone is able to express, so freely, thier feelings. I have a hard time with that. Hence this blog. I commend those that can reach out and tell everyone they are hurting and need help.
We should be praising those brave enough to speak out and helping others to speak as well. Let’s create an emotional connection to all life, in that you wish them no harm, on the simple basis that you can understand their pain. I wouldn’t poke you with a sharp needle because I know exactly how it feels to be poked or stabbed with a sharp object. It hurts. Empathy causes me to not only understand that pain but learn from it. Learning from a past suffering is a key to the survival of a mental illness.
For those with out a MI, well, read this blog. I only write my experiences and battles. If you see something familiar or something you relate to give me a shout, I might have some insight on where you can go for help. Until next time my lovely readers.
This is Moonlyte signing off:
Make it a great day.