Thursday, 26 September 2013

Me, myself and I...

This week the internet was a flurry with the news of Asda & Tesco amongst others selling Halloween costumes depicting a blood spattered, axe wielding, wild haired chap entitled "mental patient", so why the uproar?

Well, if you've ever suffered from any form of mental illness you'll know that in most cases the last thing you've wanted to do is harm anyone, least of all murder. In most cases the person on the receiving end of mental illness is you yourself. The periods of darkness, self loathing, sometimes self harming, tears, anger and despair.

Some folk see it all as a massive overreaction, political correctness gone mad, but what those people have to realise that every day someone, somewhere is experiencing persecution because of their illness. An employer who overlooks the "crazy" one for a promotion, a teenager going through hell and being brushed aside as "hormones", an elderly lady confused and scared by a world she doesn't understand being talked about behind her back on the bus.

By marketing these costumes as "mental patient" Asda et al are upholding the stigma attached to mental health sufferers, portraying us as unhinged, murderous crazies escaped from the asylum. Truth is guys, a "crazy" lurks among us at every turn, your university lecturer, checkout operator, lawyer, receptionist. Living with mental health issues is difficult, scary and sometimes fatal, it shakes your entire world, beliefs and everything you thought you knew and trusted. But with the help of medicine, therapy, exercise, and sometimes, even a chocolate bar and a bath, whatever works for you, elevates your pain, then us crazies are quite capable of waking amongst the "normals" have careers, families and live just like you.

So next time you think a costume is just funny, a joke, think about the person sat next to you, they might not find it so funny...

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5 comments:

  1. Oh yes, very well said. I think most people I know have suffered with mental health issues at one point or another (including myself in this) so I'm with you and so many others in finding Asda's "costume" to be well beyond bad taste.

    I can't believe the costume got as far as being for sale in the shops, surely somebody at Asda must have gone "hang on, this isn't right". Or maybe it was just that whole group-think thing and people didn't speak up for fear of ridicule.

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  2. Very well said. What were they thinking?! That's just it - I don't think they were. Knobs. x x

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