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As a writer, I was told I don’t have to read the comments posted in response to the Internet news articles I’m quoted in. If you want to be a writer or are a writer, I can tell you this: don’t read the comments section below an Internet article you’ve written or were quoted in.

Eva Chen, the editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine, talked about these “tip-tap” judgments other people make online because it’s easy to attack a person because you’re anonymous.

Any writer has to develop a thick skin to withstand this barrage of vitriol. I recommend you do not read the comments section of any Internet news article.

Recovery is often a via dolorosa taken as we move towards having hope and health. It doesn’t help that this journey is often distressing and painful because other people stigmatize us. We don’t need the added burden of having others inflict their tip-tap hate onto us.

No elevator to success exists. And if you speak out, you’ll be attacked because you’re successful. You’ll be attacked because you challenge the status quo.

In the comments section, I was accused of being a liberal when I’m not. Simply by speaking my mind, a guy or was it a gal insinuated that I was anti-conservative. Yet by doing that this person is besmirching themselves, because I wasn’t attacking conservatives. Small minds are always on guard against anyone or anything that disrupts their ego.

Attacking “liberals” has become a knee-jerk reaction for people who live in fear of other people. It’s almost humorous to read these comments nowadays.

One guy–and it was a guy–stated he didn’t want to date women with mental illnesses long before he became a psychiatric worker. This is interesting to me: that another person has a stereotype of what a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia would act like. We don’t need those kinds of “providers” acting like we need their help because we’re defective.

The point of the Yahoo Health dating article was to dispel the ignorance about dating a partner with a mental condition. Yet even though I spoke clearly and passionately, most of the people who commented below the news article offered the usual ho-hum stigmatizing attacks.

That’s OK. I’ll speak out again. In my memoir I wrote in one scene that “I want to see justice served for the last forsaken lot of misunderstood crazy people.” That’s an actual comment I made in 1998 when my first psychiatrist died. Seventeen years later I refuse to be silenced.

I’m doing my part to fight the stigma because I have nothing to lose. I wish more people diagnosed with mental illnesses would lift their cloak of secrecy and speak out. Like Tim Cook of Apple admitting he’s gay. The other woman interviewed in the Yahoo article used a fake name.

It’s scary that by speaking out against stigma I incurred the wrath of people who stigmatize us. As if society is their dominion and how dare I or anyone else with a mental illness try to infiltrate their fortress of hate.

I wish more people who have a mental health diagnosis would’ve posted comments in response to my quotes. I can only hope that someone diagnosed with a mental illness who read the Yahoo article was cheered on and feels better now about their prospects in the dating world.

Tip-tap indeed.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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