“Stop being so negative!” “You choose to be sad” “You don’t even have anything to be sad about” “There are millions worse off than you, just get a grip!”
People struggling with self-harm:
“You’re just doing it for attention!” “Those cuts aren’t even that bad” “You don’t even have a reason to cut/burn yourself” “You freak! Hide your scars, no one wants to see those disgusting things”
People that attempt suicide/are suicidal:
“You’re so sefish!” “You don’t care about anyone but yourself” “Don’t you realize what this would do to your Mum/Dad/Family/Friends. You need to think about other people and not just yourself” “Just get over it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and just get on with life”
People suffering from Anorexia Nervosa:
“JUST EAT!” “You’re just doing this to hurt others” “There are children dying of starvation and you’re just choosing not to eat, that’s so selfish” “If you don’t start eating you won’t —- (stay over at your friends this weekend, get your allowance, etc)
People suffering from Bulimia Nervosa:
“Ew! That is so gross!” “Just stop eating too much!” “I’ll take all your money off you so you can’t buy binge food” “I’ll lock the bathroom door to stop you purging”
SURVIVORS of Rape, Sexual Abuse, Molestation and Incest:
“You probably asked for it/insinuated it/gave permission” “You’re lying/I don’t believe you/(s)he wouldn’t do that” “Just get over it already! It’s in the past!” “That is so disgusting. Aren’t you ashamed? I wouldn’t tell anyone if I were you…”
Victims of Bullying
“Just stick it out. They’ll give up soon enough” “Well maybe you’ve pushed them to it” “Don’t stick up for yourself or tell anyone ‘cause it’ll make it worse” “Who cares? They’re not even being that harsh… You’re lucky compared to some people!”
Victims of Domestic Abuse
“Maybe you did something to provoke them?” “Just fight/argue back” “Get out of there! You’re doing this to yourself the longer you stay there” “A lot of people have it worse than you…”
Victims of emotional trauma/abuse
“Maybe you should just do as they ask, then they won’t get angry” “Just ignore them” “What they’re saying doesn’t matter. Stop letting it affect you” “You’re just too sensitive”
People struggling with general/social anxiety
“You’re just socially awkward” “Why would anyone be afraid of that?” “If you don’t want to hang out with me anymore, just tell me straight! Don’t make up all this crap about being anxious” “Just get over it!”
Most common ‘insult’ that is misunderstood:
“Attention-seeker” - Ever been called that? When you’re struggling with any of those things above, or similar things and someone calls you an “attention seeker”, it can be like being stabbed in the stomach and feeling the knife twisting.
After years of people calling me an attention seeker, I will admit that just this week, I was called it and it hurt… But here’s the thing: We are ALL attention-seekers. Attention is a human NEED. So why do people insist on making us feel guilty about that? Why do people insist on making it out to be a bad thing, that only selfish people seek? Each and every one of us seek, or at least long for, attention.
But when you’re struggling with depression, self-injury, an eating disorder, or any mental health illness, “attention seeker” seems to pop up again and again. Why does this hurt those people more than it would hurt someone else, if we all seek attention? Because when you have a mental illness, there’s an underlying issue(s) that made it develop. It could be a whole bunch of contributing factors, or just one thing so huge, that they have to reach out for it, in any way they can, in order to survive.
I need you to just stop for a moment, and think about those times when you’ve needed attention. The times you’ve been angry and needed someone to rant to. The times you’ve been sad and needed someone to tell you it’ll all be okay. The times you’ve felt alone and desperately needed someone to spend time with you. What if, in the very midst of those strong feelings, someone called you an “attention seeker” and told you to just get over it? What if you’d spent years upon years dealing with things on your own, and the moment you broke the silence and had the courage to speak out about your suffering, someone told you to “sit down and shut up, and stop seeking attention”. Can you just imagine what that would do? Now imagine that happening to someone who has already been starved of love, doesn’t know acceptance, has never heard encouragement, never experienced trust, or is just in so much inner turmoil that they feel they need someone to listen and notice they’re struggling, and someone tells them to keep their mouth shut because no one cares.
I just want you to know that “attention seeker” needs to stop being an insult. We ALL need attention: it’s just a basic human need, and right, that we receive it - in a positive way, of course. I need you to realize that by using that as an insult, you’re stripping the already-vulnerable and hurting of their courage and strength to speak out and receive help. You’re pushing them into their silent suffering even further. Those two simple words could result in another scar on someone’s skin, another day without food, or another life lost.
Don’t ever, ever underestimate the power of your words. Words are more powerful than any of us will ever be able to comprehend. So today, I’m asking that you use your powerful words to spread love, encouragement and hope instead of encouraging self-hate.
FUCKING YES. Someone had to say it. And you know what? Whether or not you know for sure that someone else if suffering from one of these, or anything else, think before you speak. There is always a reason why someone is acting the way they are. Do not take people at face value. People have more depth than one action. I’ve seen way too many of my dearest friends (not to mention myself) just take these phrases and do nothing to stand up for themselves.
Anyone who knows me knows that it is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. And most people who know me know that it is something I’ve kind of embraced in that last day or two. I’ve been wearing a patch that says “I’m Sexy and I Know it” in honor of this week. My wonderful roommate and I have put posters on our mirrors in our room that say “You are beautiful” for “Mirrorless Monday” not to mention our friends’ mirrors and mirrors across campus. I am trying to wear purple to show my support, as well.
Also, most people who know me well know that I love Demi Lovato. I know she has been through a lot, including an eating disorder. I know that she has gone through a lot of the same things that someone I love with all of my heart is also going through currently. They went to the same treatment center, not at the same time, but they are very similar. So I find Demi’s story to be very personal. Demi is having a special on MTV tomorrow that I plan to watch along with my friends Alexis and Karl.
I understand how it is that I can tell someone about this special and they make fun of me because she was on Disney Channel. I can understand how someone may make fun of me because of a celebrity girl crush. I can definitely understand someone making fun of me for being such a fan girl.
I do not, however, understand how someone can make fun of her for going through what she went through. I do not understand how someone can laugh and say “Why would you do that? Is she psychotic?” I do not understand how, when I am clearly offended, someone continues to laugh to me about how it’s ridiculous.
I understand not liking Demi Lovato, and I understand not being as gung-ho about this week and psychology as I am. That I can understand and respect. I cannot respect being cruel.
This person did apologize. He said he meant no harm, that he was joking, and I don’t hold it against him. We are still friends and I know it’s not really something he may have ever dealt with. But I just want to tell all of you, my whopping 38 followers, that this is not okay.
It takes me back to high school, when I told an adult who was very close to me that I wanted to cut myself very badly. She had been telling a friend of mine and me about her battle with bulimia, and then my friend let slip that I was having trouble and I told her because I trusted her. She proceeded to make fun of me. “Why would anyone do that? That’s idiotic. ‘Oh I’m sad, so I’m gonna make it worse by slitting my wrists.’” That’s not an okay thing to say. Why would you mock the problems of someone who looks up to you? Why would you clearly destroy the trust between yourself and someone who wants to come to you for help? Is that supposed to make someone feel like they should look for help? To talk about these thoughts rather than acting upon them? My relationship with her has never been the same. I still respect her, and I still somehow wanted her approval, but I lost all desire to ask for her help. I didn’t think she would ever understand. I didn’t want to talk to my therapist about these things. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. That’s a pretty hard thing to come back from.
I just think it’s ridiculous that people feel it is okay to make fun of the hardships of others. Not just normal, typical hardships, like a breakup or a failed test, but real, deep, personal inner-struggle. You should never, ever hate on people for their struggles. As Demi said in a tweet about National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, “Everybody knows somebody.” Whether it is an eating disorder, depression, self-mutilation, or something else, these people need support, not ridicule. They need help, not harm.
As someone who has watched several people I know and adore with all my soul suffer through this incredibly overpowering disease I honestly can agree with everything said above. No one should ever feel disgusting in their own skin. I pray for my loved ones every night in the hopes that they will feel the viel over their eyes lifted and see themselves as the beautiful people I see every time I look at them. This disease is a pariah that sucks upon their souls and it is incredibly hard to understand and watch. But I will still try to understand and be there for them. ALWAYS.
Because that is what real love is, through good times and bad, through sickness and through health, no matter what kind of relationship.