In honor of Memorial Day, I would like to recognize the men and women who died in the United States Armed Services. I know that is the reason we stop and pause this time of year.
I would like to pause for other service members this year too.
I would like to recognize all the members of the military who were injured during active duty.
Another group I would like to mention and give recognition to are the men and woman who serve their country and come home with PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression. We have lost way too many lives to suicide, more casualties of war.
Lastly, I would like to include the young men and women who were first diagnosed with a mental illness while serving their country. Many young people sign up at 18 or 19 and there are times when symptoms don’t show up until people are in their 20’s. So, this is also for those who became disabled by a mental illness while serving.
Now, what would most of these people be called who served their country, and possibly put their lives at risk to protect and defend others? What word best describes them? Veteran? And in some cases, hero?
Why then, when we have so many people who wore the uniform who are battling with mental health issues do we easily, carelessly, insensitively and recklessly throw around the words, crazy, insane, lunatic, bipolar, schizo, manic, depressed, batty, nut job, etc.?
Every time I log on to social media, I see these words used by people who are educated. I see them used by people who care about justice and equality. The mentally ill are truly the last group of people where it is socially acceptable to use derogatory language about their condition. I have seen social media wars over race, and issues involving LGBT rights, but not once have I seen someone even stand up to the jokes that fill social media about mental illness.
The mentally ill are the most marginalized group in the county. No one deserves to be stereotyped, stigmatized, bullied, or have their life threatening condition made into a joke or saying on social media. But when those jokes are made knowing that so many veterans suffer from these illnesses, we should know, it is way past the time for compassion and change.
Back to the fallen, we remember and honor you. RIP.