"Mental health is not just the absence of a diagnosis of mental illness," I read once. And totally agree.
There is a joke about the paranoid schizophrenic who goes to the hospital for his problem. The new medication works so well he cannot wait to go home and tell his roommate about it. But when he gets home the "roommate," has moved out...
I find it hard to make real friends and for the record, do not have any "roommates," of any kind.
On a good day everyone nods, smiles, and agrees that no human alive is immune to dis-ease, and that includes mental and emotional un-health. Then if I dared disagree with someone, the question comes; “Are you off your meds?" I gave it right back: “Oh- so when you don't like what I say or do it has to be MY issue - are YOU off YOUR meds?" Good grief!
This ‘friend,’ had also tried immensely hard to set me up with her male cohort, someone who creeped me out. Pass!
Another mentally ill ex-chum even used my mental health against me when I got really stressed about a real life event: "Please take your medication!" (I was). I still feel what every average human does; I get stressed out over family conflict, more bills than income, thick traffic, social injustice, and so on. Whenever I resolve a problem I also feel relieved and happy.
Anytime anyone uses mental illness and medication against me, I move on. I am no less of a person because of a diagnosis and I don't tolerate being treated as if I am. No one would consider asking someone: “Are you acting that way because of your lung cancer?" No one would point and laugh at a diabetic and taunt:”Haha! You have the sugar sickness!" We have a way to go however, when it comes to removing the great stigma around mental illness.
On a brighter note, I have the goal of speaking out against mental health shaming and helping to educate people. There is also a first aid course focused on mental health emergencies that I want to take so that I can be better prepared and possibly come to someone's aid one day.
One of my favourite quotes puts it best: If they treat you like a joke- leave'em like it's funny!