(Lineup of Ellen mugs that tell it like it is.)
We need to spark love kindness and joy for ourselves and others.
Now I think of how Ellen Degeneres “came out” in the 1990s on her TV sitcom.
Since then she’s had a remarkable career. Ellen doesn’t seem unkind or hurtful–she appears to be a genuinely compassionate person.
We need in the mental health community to have our own “Ellen” who can take on the bigotry against people with SZ and BP and other MH conditions.
The more members of our tribe earn our success alongside people without diagnoses we’ll hopefully have the clout to obtain the equality and excellence in relationships that we’ve demanded for years now.
Yet I don’t think only successful people should get this free pass. Those of us who are doing well should fight for the rights, opportunities, and dignity for peers whose faces aren’t in the news or in blogs and who struggle in the shadows.
We’re at a point in the history of the world where speaking out is imperative. We must start telling our stories first to each other and then to the people we meet.
We need to make it known that we’re not going away; we won’t take anyone’s bull crap; we’re here to stay.
This starts when we accept the diagnosis and get comfortable with it–because then we can be casual about it with the people we meet–slip it into dialogue as if it’s a natural thing.
If you ask me we haven’t often gotten anywhere because we’ve been spooked about having a diagnosis and this rubbed off on and spooked other people.
So: Be Kind to Your Mind. Love Yourself. Love-bomb the haters.
I would like to be the Ellen Degeneres of mental health.
That’s a tall order. Yet I’ve been a mental health activist for 15 years now and there’s so much more I want to do.
I want to stomp on stigma with my Missoni Converse.
I want to get people talking about mental health on the front porches of America.
I want to show peers that we have choices and lifestyle options.
No longer do we have to be relegated to collecting SSI forever and living in dangerous low-income housing on the edge of town.
Are you in?