HELP ME!

I need your help! I’m performing a piece of theatre based around mental health and I want YOU to help me! My piece is called ‘Labels’ and it’s about breaking down the shame and stigma surrounding mental illness.

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My piece involves me (and hopefully some other people if I can rope them in) walking through my local town centre on a busy day, stopping, putting down my bag and taking off my coat to reveal the fact that my clothes have words like ‘mentally ill’ ‘depressed’ ‘psychotic’ ‘cutter’ etc written on them. I’ll be slowly taking off my clothes to reveal words like ‘happy’ ‘loving’ ‘daughter’ ‘funny’ ‘good job’ successful’ etc written on my skin. I’ll then put my clothes back on, walk to a different part of the town and repeat and repeat- also I’ll hopefully have other people doing the same thing in all different areas of my home town.

The point of the piece is to raise awareness and challenge stigma. I’m (once I get my arse in gear and sort it out) going to be doing workshops with mentally ill adolescents in my local area to raise ideas and develop the piece further, but I thought it would be great to get some thoughts from you guys!

What I want from you is for you to tell me: what do you think people think about people who are mentally ill? Weak? Weird? Dangerous? Whatever it is just drop me a comment below- also, feel free to add anything you might be thinking or whatever comes to mind. This is a piece to help challenge stigma and I want your ideas.

Obviously anything you use could be used in the piece, so by leaving a comment you’re kind of consenting although I will contact you if I really want to directly use something you say- so don’t worry about your words ending up somewhere else, I will talk to you before doing anything!

Thanks in advance,

Wren x

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6 thoughts on “HELP ME!

  1. Some people who live with chronic mental illness take a proactive, positive stance. I like to think of myself as one of those people – someone who believes that despite long-term depression and anxiety, I can construct a life for myself which is workable.
    I feel sad for others who seem to have given in. I feel like giving in too, some days, but I know some people who haven’t yet made the breakthrough to choosing more constructive life choices, e.g. no longer drinking or doing drugs.

  2. Especially in the younger generation, I think mental illness is both not understood properly and sometimes laughed at and found humorous. I’ve seen friends do horrific things to people I know deserved more respect and care than they were being shown. I think it’s good you’re trying to raise awareness! Good luck

  3. I think at least half of my friends, family, and people I interact with regularly have some kind of mental illness or disability, from depression to anxiety issues to Autism to schizophrenia. “Stuff” runs in my family and somehow my friends and I have somehow found each other, so I pretty much expect that EVERYONE has “something” different in the brain.

    Sometimes we have difficulties from misconceptions about our mental illnesses or disabilities, but in my corner of society people are generally pretty accepting because we realize that everyone’s got crap to deal with. People I know generally try to be supportive and understanding of various people’s issues–I guess if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be talking to me!

  4. I work at a convenience store. We used to have a group home nearby and some of our regular customers were “unusual”. One was a heavyset woman who yelled out loud to people who were not present. I’ll admit it was a bit un nerving but most people, bless them, were not unkind to her. Some wanted to laugh when she came in with a lipstick mouth that reached to her forehead but kept their comments to themselves until she left. Most felt sorry for her. One day came when she arrived wearing a wraparound skirt. that left her hindside totally bare. I mean no underwear………..nothing! I expected an uproar but no one said a word that was unkind. I was especially proud of one man who stood behind her in line. When she bent over to get a candy bar from the bottom shelf, he shifted his position so his body “covered” her nakedness. Comments when she left were sighs of relief because none of us knew what to do. Three or four of us talked it over and I called the Sherrif’s Dept. I explained (they knew exactly who I was talking about) and asked if they could get her back to the group home safely. We feared that someone unscrupulous would take advantage of her and that her nude backside would invite unwanted attention or even rape. Bless our Sherrifs. They came quickly and got her a ride with kindness. It’s hard to know the right thing to do. It’s shameful that so many people with severe problems just walk around on the streets with no one to look out for them.

  5. In early 2004 I was diagnosed as major depressive, chronic depressive, borderline personality disorder, and type 2 bipolar not otherwise specified. The largest obstacle I faced in work and social settings is that other people considered me unreliable or unstable to the point that they didn’t want to include me in their activities and didn’t want to help me develop in a professional sense. It was a difficult thing to overcome. Part of it was that, in a way, they were right: I struggled with a variety of challenges in social settings. But then, part of it is that it was a circle: I struggled to fit in, so they didn’t include me, so I didn’t get past my challenges, and I struggled to fit in. Strangely, what mostly helped me the most were changes to my diet, a regular sleeping schedule, rigorous exercise, and a spiritual practice. Managing stress and anxiety helped me a lot, but yeah – my largest challenge was being treated like I wasn’t as capable as other people.

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