The last week, with all the news covering the three mass shootings in America, has been difficult for those of us who experience mental health problems.
As we all know, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violent crime than commit it. But all over the news currently, we are hearing about how dangerous we are. Republicans left right and centre are blaming the increase in mental health problems for the rise in mass shootings. We are being made to feel even more marginalised.
The commonality between the perpetrators of these crimes isn’t that they all have a mental health problem, it’s that they are all white men. Many of whom are misogynistic and racist.
This morning I was fed up. I spent years feeling ashamed of myself for having difficulties with my mental health, and it is only over the last 3 years or so that I’ve felt able to speak up and be proud of who I am. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide again, or worry that people are afraid of me. And I don’t want anyone else to feel that way either – in fact that’s the very reason I do what I do. So that people don’t have to feel that way.
So I did what I do when I’m annoyed at things – I wrote a tweet, using the hashtag #IAmNotDangerous. I didn’t really think anything of it, I rarely use hashtags on twitter.
Now, I’ve had to be pretty liberal with the block button today. Strangely there are lots of white men offended by my tweet (and the occasional white woman), but that’s what that feature is for I guess!
I’ve been sat at home today watching more and more people use this hashtag and been amazed at the bravery of this community. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and standing up against this stigma that we work tirelessly to fight. I considered deleting it after some of the hate but seeing you all get behind it makes the backlash worth it.
The people I have met over the course of my life with mental health problems through volunteering, studying and working, are hands down the most compassionate, kind and brave people I have ever met.