I’ve been struggling to find what to write about lately. My anxiety seems to be stable and in general control with the odd challenge here and there, so each post would be about the same thing. However, recently I’ve been struggling to comprehend something, and that’s acceptance.
I don’t often discuss, tweet or write about anything too political because that’s not the aim of these accounts. The intention has and will always be to raise awareness of anxiety and stigma – which brings me to this post.
There have been a lot of events within the last year that relate to stigma. This can be from an anxiety perspective, where my own abilities and personality have been questioned because I dare to have a mental illness, or this can be from a lifestyle perspective where someone’s sexuality, gender or nationality cause people to recoil in disgust because it’s not something they’re used to hearing or seeing.
I’ll openly admit, I grew up in a community that wasn’t very accepting. Gay people weren’t allowed to be themselves, other communities would struggle to fit in and live a normal life without prejudice and should someone have the guts to be open as transgender they’d be dragged over the coals. I’ve never joined the hate, but I never stood up for it either and it’s something I deeply wish I had done.
Fast forward about 15 years to a time when my own life has been filled with judgement and prejudice because I live a life where *SOMETIMES* I can’t go to Morrison’s for fear of enduring crippling panic, or not being able to have my hair cut for 3 years because I’m afraid of feeling trapped in the chair and looking an idiot if I have to leave. These all seem trivial, but to baring the brunt of the judgement finger, it teaches me to show compassion to people rather than judge yourself simply because I know how that feels.
In recent news we’ve seen men transition to become women they always thought they were, we’ve seen protests in the US because of racial discrimination, we’ve seen protests from a “Church group” who dish out nothing but hate towards the gay community because they fear they’re evil and most recently we’ve seen a large group of people trying to escape a war-torn country in search for a better life which in many cases has resulted in the tragic deaths of men, women and even young children.
Until you’ve been judged you perhaps can’t understand what it must feel like to be on the other end. You can’t imagine what it feels like to be a gay man petrified to speak openly about the fact you want to marry the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, or what it feels like to be someone overweight who daren’t go to a park and train because they don’t want to be laughed at or jeered. You can’t imagine how it feels to be the single mum in the queue at a shop who’s desperately trying to figure out if she’s got enough money to pay for the shopping she desperately needs and panics as she starts to remove things she can’t afford.
You don’t have to agree with any of this – and why would you? I’m not saying I’m correct. But before you do judge anyone, give them 30 seconds to convince you that they’re living whatever life they live for a reason. It may just open your eyes and offer them a much happier existence.