I’m mentally ill and I will not be your mass shooting scapegoat.

In the wake of yet another act of domestic terrorism, Donald Trump’s proposed solution was not gun control, but “tackling the difficult issue of mental health.”

He tweeted, “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior.”

I am not quoting this out of context. That was the clear angle of his comments on the matter — that this was an issue of one mentally ill individual, not cause for large-scale gun reform. It was a marked difference from his reactions to acts of terrorism committed by a brown Muslim man, wherein he called for immediate legislative action.

But that’s what mental illness is: the ultimate conversation killer.

Nothing makes people uncomfortable like the idea that the human brain is as vulnerable and fallible an organ as any other.

That’s why we like to make it sound like an anomaly — one that makes you immediately, inherently bad. We are attached to the idea that to have a flawed brain is to have a flawed character, mostly because it takes the work out of examining and interrogating our bad behavior. People who do bad things do them because they are crazy, we reason, not because they are people. The adversary is not our own flawed norms, but rather an individual outsider whose crimes are of an external origin.

According to Trump, the Parkland shooting didn’t happen because it’s ridiculously easy to obtain an unconscionable range of lethal weaponry in this country. It’s not because we’ve fostered a culture where men feel powerful and entitled enough to exact violent revenge on others who have “wronged” them.

No, it’s because the dude was “crazy.” Nothing to see here! Just another “deranged individual” who couldn’t possibly have been acting with a shred of his reality intact. We don’t share our reality with people like that, and theirs has nothing to do with ours — so the only problem, really, is that those kinds of people exist in the first place.

Society clings to the delusional idea that there is evil lurking in a brain merely because it is a brain that is different.

We’ve been vilifying mental illness for as long as we’ve been telling stories with villains in them. Where do all the bad guys in “Batman” go when they’re caught? An asylum. The Joker was deemed insane, and poor Two Face was the smart and sensible Harvey Dent before injury and trauma rendered him “deranged.”

Some of the villains of “Harry Potter” are the Dementors, aka physical embodiments of depression. Of course, Voldemort himself was a bad apple from the start, the nonconsensual product of a love potion — never mind that more complicated bit about his being aided and abetted by the wizarding media and government. (Sound familiar?)

While it’s certainly true that there are mentally ill people who do bad things, we are also the heroes, the bystanders, the victims — the human beings who make up every part of every story.

1 in 25 adults lives with a serious mental illness (I’m one of them!), and 1 in 5 experience some form of mental illness like anxiety or depression in any given year. Only 3–5% of violent acts can be attributed to this huge portion of the U.S. population, yet neurodiverse people are 10 times more likely than their neurotypical counterparts to be victims of violence.

Anyone with a modicum of sense could tell you that the stereotype simply doesn’t add up.

The issue here has far less to do with mental illness than it has to do with the very human proclivity for violence, hate, and destruction.

Mentally ill people are certainly capable of such things, seeing as we are just as human as anyone else. But we’re also capable of the equally human virtues of compassion, empathy, and creation — often in ways that are informed by our experiences living with and being marginalized because of mental illness.

And if we dig a little deeper than the “crazed” antagonists of popular culture, we can find mental illness woven between the lines of our heroes and saviors and all the normal people that fill up the gaps, no matter how convinced we may be that mental illness is monstrously abnormal.

We don’t talk about how Harry Potter’s PTSD made him a resilient and passionate agent for change. We forget Batman’s phobic origins and his many parallels to the Joker. Hannibal Lecter is what a certain beloved band might call a “psycho killer,” but Clarice and Will both serve as protagonists with far-from-typical neurologies of their own.

We struggle to see the diverse and deeply relatable experiences of mentally ill people already imprinted onto our stories because we only ever look for them when we’re trying to find someone to blame.

Mentally ill people are not separate from us — they are part of us.

1 in 25 people is about eight people in every full movie theater, three in every church congregation, and two in the average college classroom. Rarely are we the armed and murderous person who walks in and massacres all of those people. We are far more likely to kill ourselves than we are to kill another person. If there’s any mental health problem in this country, it’s a severe lack of accessible and affordable mental healthcare, which — last I checked — the Trump administration is actively seeking to make even more inaccessible.

Mentally ill people aren’t the problem. The people in power are — from Trump to the NRA to the “lone wolf” white male terrorists our sensationalist media encourages and excuses.

They’re just pointing at us so that people will stop looking at them.

This article by Jenni Berrett originally appeared on Ravishly and has been republished with permission. More from Ravishly:

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/i-m-mentally-ill-i-will-not-be-your-mass-shooting-scapegoat

The outrage over Jim Carrey’s tweet is sparking a debate about body-shaming.

Jim Carrey, a blockbuster actor known for being both hilariously weird and emotionally effective on-screen, doesn’t make many movies anymore. These days, he’s more interested in making art.

And he hasn’t exactly been quiet about politics, either. On March 17, 2018, Carrey posted a controversial tweet with a grotesque drawing of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, accompanied by the word “monstrous.”

“This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked. Monstrous!” Carrey wrote to his nearly 18 million Twitter followers.

In response, Fox News and several other conservative media outlets are framing Carrey’s comments and portrait of Sanders as “disgraceful” and “terrifying.” They’ve also called the tweet “body-shaming” and “bullying.”

Body-shaming and bullying are serious issues. But is that really what’s going on here?

Chances are, you’ve seen a number of stories about bullying and body-shaming in recent years — and probably several of them came from us.

The reality is, we’re all insecure about our appearances to varying degrees and unrealistic expectations from the media, sexism, and bullying have all contributed to a very real problem that’s worth calling out when it happens.

After all, recent studies have shown that fat-shaming isn’t just mean, it can involve serious health risks for those who experience it. And one recent study claims that an overwhelming 94% of teenage girls experience fat-shaming at some point in their formative years.

But this simply isn’t one of those cases. While Carrey’s portrait of Sanders certainly isn’t flattering, it’s clearly more a political critique or a critique of the job she does than a personal insult about her physical appearance. There’s a long history of using unflattering portraits of political figures to make a point that has nothing to do with their real-world body shape, size, or appearance.

Trying to frame political criticism of the White House press secretary as body-shaming only distracts from the real problem, one that these same media outlets rarely seemed concerned about when the alleged target isn’t one of their political allies.

Carrey himself has addressed the supposed backlash, tweeting out a satirical painting he did of Trump to make his point. But that hasn’t stopped a number of people from calling him out.

Liberals and progressives alike should be called out when they’re hypocritical on such a significant issue.

Body-shaming and bullying aren’t limited to one side of the political spectrum.

In politics, many on the left have fallen into attacking Donald Trump for his appearance. As we’ve written before, there is no shortage of things to criticize Trump for — and going after his weight isn’t necessary or productive.

More recently, The New Yorker was criticized by Fox News and others for its cover depicting a nude Trump. That seems more fair, even though many find it hard to defend the most powerful man in the world who himself has a long history of body-shaming vulnerable women.

If Carrey was doing that here with Sanders, we’d be first in line to criticize him for that.

Political figures are fair game for criticism. Treating any attack as personal is a distraction from the real issues.

It’s not always easy to draw the line on acceptable criticism of public figures.

Making direct threats against their safety is a clear red line no one should cross. However, it’s clear here that a number of people are using the shield of “body-shaming” and “bullying” as a way to distract from valid criticism of Sanders and her boss.

We’re not saying Carrey’s commentary was kind, but it’s well within the bounds of political criticism. And that’s something everyone should defend, even when it’s their team that’s being targeted.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/the-outrage-over-jim-carrey-s-tweet-is-sparking-a-debate-about-body-shaming

A fiery rant about workplace etiquette during flu season is going … viral.

Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett has a problem with how we handle flu season in the U.S.

During a recent taping of his podcast, “Lovett or Leave It,” Lovett touched on a topic we’re not actually hearing a whole lot about: the current flu epidemic. The flu — which experts say is the worst in nearly a decade and has already racked up a modest body count — is an issue that’s not getting much attention.

Enter Crooked Media co-founder Lovett. He’s fired up about this year’s flu, and we should all should hear him out. (Just a warning: some NSFW language.)

If you are sick, do not go to work. This is how you spread germs.

“You show up at work and you’re sick — fuck you, ok?” he says, bluntly. “If you have a job with paid sick leave and you can work at home, you work at home. If you wake up achy and with a fever, don’t go to the office and see how it goes. You’re going to give people the fucking flu.”

He’s totally right. Staying home from work (or from school) when you’re sick is actually the first thing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. In fact, they take it a step further, suggesting you stay home even if you’re not yet sick, but someone else in your household is.

Other important reminders include covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, and wearing a mask if you’re out in public. (Yes, I know it can look goofy as hell, but it’s for the greater good, people.)

Americans are weird when it comes to work. We’ve been taught to tough it out and that showing up when we’re sick is part of being a team player.

It needs to change, and we can start with how we praise kids for perfect attendance at school. Going to school or work when you’re sick is actually a profoundly selfish thing to do. Unless you’re Michael Jordan hopping in a time machine to drop 38 points on the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals, you need to stay in bed. As only he can, Lovett explains:

“You going is about proving you’re the kind of person who powers through. It’s not about being a team player, it’s about you, and it’s a weird performance, and people shouldn’t go to work sick. It’s bullshit. It’s treated like, ‘Oh yeah, what a tough person.’ Fuck you. Go home. You are a contagious thing. Your mucous membranes don’t know how much you care about your work. They don’t give a shit.”

It’s time we got with the rest of the world and implemented mandatory paid sick leave.

Many people living paycheck-to-paycheck or working an hourly, low-wage job often don’t have the ability to call in sick. Many countries — the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, and many, many more — mandate that employers offer their workers paid time off for sickness, but not here in the U.S.

The CDC (funded by the federal government) recommends that individuals do something that the federal government won’t act on. If the government saw public health issues as a true priority, they’d enact policies that would allow people — especially hourly workers, some of whom might be handling your food — to take time off when they need it. A few states have taken it upon themselves to require companies to offer paid time off, and several companies have decided it’s a benefit worth offering all employees, but Congress should pass a bill making it a requirement nationwide.

“We never cover cause and effect,” Lovett says, referring to why a wealthy country like the U.S. gets hammered by diseases year after year. “We never talk about the system.”

Watch Lovett’s inspired, fiery rant below.

For more information on what you can do to help prevent the spread of the flu, visit the CDC’s website (and, seriously, get a flu shot).

Don’t show up for work sick. It’s bullshit.

“Showing up to work sick is not about being a team player, it’s about you, and it’s a weird performance… Fuck you, go home”

http://go.crooked.com/mVWX8K

Posted by Lovett or Leave It on Friday, January 26, 2018

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-fiery-rant-about-workplace-etiquette-during-flu-season-is-going-viral

A mom told her OB she might have postpartum depression. Then they called the cops.

Jessica Porten recently visited her doctor four months after giving birth to her daughter, Kira. She wasn’t feeling quite like herself.

She had been dealing with overwhelming sadness and fits of anger, which she knew was likely stemming from a case of postpartum depression.

In a Facebook post, Porten recounts the story of that appointment.

“I tell them I have a very strong support system at home, so although I would never hurt myself or my baby,” she writes. “I’m having violent thoughts and I need medication and therapy to get through this.”

In other words, she went to her doctor to ask for help for an extremely normal and treatable issue that affects an estimated 1 million women in the U.S. each year in one form or another.

But instead of getting help, as Porten tells it, the office did something pretty unexpected: They called the police.

Because of her admission to “violent thoughts,” staff wanted the police to escort Porten to the ER for evaluation.

The cops, according to Porten, were skeptical of the need for their presence when they arrived and allowed her to drive herself to the hospital.

But the ordeal continued.

“We arrive at the ER and I’m checked in, triaged, blood drawn. I am assigned a security guard to babysit me,” she writes.

She says she waited for over an hour to get a room, all while wrangling her months-old baby. After some brief tests, a lot of waiting, and a super-short interview with a social worker, she was deemed mentally fit enough to be discharged.

Porten and her 4-month-old didn’t leave the hospital until after midnight.

The worst part? Porten never got the help she asked for.

In addition to the undue stress and wasted time, Porten left the hospital without having received any medical help whatsoever.

“Not once during all of this has a doctor laid eyes on me,” she writes. “Not once. Not even before they decided to call the cops on me.”

Porten says that, for all her time and effort, she received some papers and pamphlets and was sent on her way.

“I’m still processing all of the emotions that are coming with being treated this way. I’m not exactly sure what to do here. I will say I am deeply hurt and upset, and above all angry and disgusted and disappointed by how this whole thing went down.”

She also points out that if she had been a woman of color, her ordeal probably would have been even more drawn out and traumatic.

You can read her full story in the now-viral Facebook post below:

#Action4Jessica #4Bills4CAMoms
Please read the latest updates 🤗

I had a really hard time deciding whether I should post…

Posted by Jessica Porten on Friday, January 19, 2018

Postpartum depression is a serious issue — as is the stigma it carries.

Postpartum depression is common. The condition, and even the scary violent thoughts that sometimes accompany it, may even have an important evolutionary purpose. Some argue that new moms are on high alert for danger and that stress can sometimes visually manifest itself in their thoughts.

But, as with most mental health issues, postpartum depression can carry a lot of shame, embarrassment, and guilt for the women affected by it — leading them to ignore their symptoms instead of seeking help. One study even found that countries that don’t recognize postpartum depression by name actually see women more likely to come forward with their symptoms.

Stories like Porten’s show exactly why many women would rather suffer in silence than be poked, prodded, and treated inhumanely. And of course, not getting proper treatment will only make things wore.

It’s time for a different approach.

It may be a common policy to call the police in the interest of the child’s safety. But a policy that better addresses the mother’s concerns and gets her the help she needs, without being shamed, is definitely a better way to go.

To get there, we need to help more honest and brave women feel comfortable coming forward about the aspects of postpartum depression that are hard to talk about. And we all need to better educate ourselves on the complexities of mental health issues and, more importantly, the human beings behind them.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-mom-told-her-ob-she-might-have-postpartum-depression-then-they-called-the-cops

Saying depression is a ‘choice’ only makes things worse. Allow Andy Richter to explain.

Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SiriusXM.

Depression is not a choice, and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong.

After reading a tweet that simply said, “Depression is a choice,” actor, writer, and comedian Andy Richter was so angry that he “pulled over after school drop-off” to vent on Twitter about what it’s like to live with depression and be constantly bombarded with unhelpful “advice” that so often amounts to little more than blame for those living with it.

“[Depression] varies in strength from a casual unresolvable suspicion that I will never find the joy that others do in a sunset, to the feeling that being dead might be a respite and a kindness,” he tweeted, highlighting how difficult the hazy experience of living with depression can be to describe.

He also draws an important distinction between having good things in one’s life — such as a great family and successful career — and being dealt a bad hand when it came to the genetic lottery of depression, a feeling he describes as “an ever-present amorphous sadness.”

“My life is full. I am lucky,” he tweeted. “And I will still reach the end of my life having walked through most of it with an emotional limp. I do not wallow in self-pity. No one did this to me. It is just how it is. I am just unlucky.”

Saying things like “depression is a choice” is not only wrong, it also keeps people from seeking the help they need.

Depression is really common. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.1 million U.S. adults 18 or older experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2015, accounting for 6.7% of all adults in the country.

Left untreated, depression can lead to all matters of problems, ranging from an inability to focus on work, all the way up to suicide — making the stigma surrounding treatment that much more frustrating.

Sadly, studies have shown that there are still significant segments of the population that view depression and mental illness as a form of weakness. In turn, that attitude reflects on back the person dealing with depression, making them feel embarrassed to seek treatment.

“If you are unburdened by depression, real true depression, count yourself lucky,” Richter wrote.

“Keep your quick fixes to yourself. This is the kind of bullshit that kills people. Learn, then speak. Or just be lucky and quiet,” he wrapped his thoughts.

The way we fight stigma is by using our voices to let the world know we exist. Today, Andy Richter did just that.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit their website for more information.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/saying-depression-is-a-choice-only-makes-things-worse-allow-andy-richter-to-explain