Why Victim Blaming Needs to Stop Being a Thing

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Hi.

Hopefully, you clicked on this story because you too are slightly outraged that people still exist who think that people actually choose to be mentally ill.

Or maybe you clicked thinking that you want to prove me wrong. That those of us with mental problems do, in fact, choose them.

Maybe you think things like this:

  • That we choose our anxiety, depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia.
  • That addicts choose to be addicts, or that people who OD (like Demi Lovato) do it by choice.
  • That we ruin our lives on purpose, by design, because our anxiety or depression or attempts of suicide is the result of poor choices.

I have some words for you.

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But first, let me ask you some questions.

Is a family member of yours currently going through some issues you think should be easy to handle, but they’re struggling?

Do you look at mentally ill people and think, “that would never happen to me. I make good choices.”?

Did you grow up with parents (or an entire generation) who told you that people with mental problems are weak–and believe them?

If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, congratulations.

You’re wrong.

I’m not going to beat you over the head with it, but for those of us with anxiety, depression, bipolar, and on down the DSM V list of diagnosable mental disorders, we didn’t choose this.

If I could choose to rid myself of my anxiety, I would.

Did you know high levels of anxiety increase cortisol, the stress hormone? And that high levels of cortisol can lead to an early death?

Fortunately for us, therapists and resources, like the Anxiety Pocket eWorkbook, exist.

If close friends of mine could choose to never be anxious, depressed, or suffer from OCD again, don’t you think they’d do that?

What about the people with Dissociative Identity Disorder, otherwise known as having multiple personalities?

How is any of this a choice?

On July 24th, Demi Lovato overdosed on Oxycodone. It’s extremely unlikely she did it on purpose because they found it was also laced with fentanyl, which is what killed Prince, Tom Petty, and Lil Peep.

She’s self-admitted drug abuse in the past and has even checked herself into rehab.

But addiction is not something that goes away on its own.

Alcoholics Anonymous helps turn alcoholics into “recovered” alcoholics. But nothing is stopping those people from relapsing besides the construction of new habits.

Demi has a long road ahead of her, and she fully acknowledges that.

So if you still think that addiction, anxiety, depression, psychosis, bipolar, and the rest are choices, please consider this:

If you found yourself unable to operate a car after a car accident because of an overwhelming sense of terror when you slide into the driver’s seat, wouldn’t you want someone to help you get past that?

Do you think you’d be able to just choose for that immobilizing fear to go away?

Because we can’t.

We can’t just wish it away.

It takes therapy, maybe medication, coping techniques, and a boatload of support to get through each day.

It’s not a choice, so stop saying it is.

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6 thoughts on “Why Victim Blaming Needs to Stop Being a Thing”

  1. Thank you for this post! I wish people would realize that no one chooses anxiety (or any other mental illness) any more than I choose to have chronic back pain! I have lots of friends who have overcome various addictions and none of them made a choice to become addicted!! It is such an important topic and I appreciate you taking it on.

  2. Such an important and courageous post. Anxiety and depression seem to run in my family. Some members have been diagnosed and prescribed medication; others have been able to treat themselves through natural methods like meditation, exercise, abstinence from drugs/alcohol, lots of sleep and healthy food, etc. Our society needs to stop pointing fingers of blame and start helping people with kindness, patience, and understanding. There just isn’t enough of any of that going around, imo.

  3. I applaud people with mental healthy issues who do go and get help. I don’t know what it is like, but there are people who try to better themselves and people who do not.

  4. I completely agree with you, we need to stop blaming victims and become proactive and help them out. As someone who can fall into depression it is hard when you hear judgment instead of understanding. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liliana

  5. I am a psychologist and i totally agree with you, thank you for expressing this message. Too many fake gurus say you “if you just want it…” blah blah blah.. Of course you need to recognize the problem and to face it, but it won’t go away just with your good will.

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