Alyssa Tyler copy editor
Growing up, I was surrounded by countless people with undiagnosed psychological disorders. Ranging from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. While growing up, I was able to see the first-hand ebb and flows and the highs and lows of mental illness. From the flashbacks, my mother had from her childhood, caused her to drink, curse, and shout. To the mood swings, my stepfather had, going from depressed to furious in a matter of minutes.
Now, looking back at my childhood, now knowing what I know, their mental health issues are obvious. My mother went through many traumatic events as a child and young adult. This, I can sympathize and empathize with, however where I draw the line is, she never took accountability to work past those issues. Instead of therapy, she used vodka. Instead of talking about her feelings, she shouted. In short, instead of taking accountability for her emotions, mental illness, and the trauma she went through, she hid from it.
By this, I am not saying that people must take the blame for what happened to them. No, what I am saying is that, when people are ready to, they must say to themselves. “Yes, this happened to me, what am I going to do now?“
When I was sexually assaulted, that was the second question I asked myself. The first one was the said-out version of, “WTF?”Next, I asked myself, “My life has been turned upside down, what am I going to do now? How am I going to cope with what I just went through? How will I live my day-to-day life? What am I going to do now?“
Mind you, I was 13, and I didn’t know what the word ‘molested’ meant. But I threw myself into academics, athletics, and working. I did anything I could to distract myself. Because if I was distracted, I wouldn’t think about what had happened, and I was okay then. Also, I am not saying what I did was right or that I’m perfect, what I’m saying, is that at 13 I seemed to understand more than my mother and stepfather did at 35.
I understood that no matter how anxious or depressed I was, I did not have the right to take it out on other people. After growing up in a household where anything and everything was someone else’s fault, I refused to be the victim of my own problems.
Your mental health does not give you the right to take it out on other people. Your diagnosis is a diagnosis, not an excuse. I firsthand can understand the urge to snap or explode at others for little things. They touched your back, right in the area that sends chills down your spine. Or any other example you can think of that you may have dealt with personally.
I empathize with you, I understand, but I need others to understand that you cannot be the victim of your own mental illness. You must accept what you went through, even when it wasn’t your fault. You must accept the fact that your life has been altered, but you have the power and the control to do what you want with your life afterward. You have control over your future, not your past. And although you may have been hurt in your past, it does not give you the right to hurt others.