Today's challenge was to go to dictionary.com and use their WOTD as an inspiration for today's post.
Insincerely or excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech; marked by a false or smug earnestness or agreeableness.
I sat staring at that word for a few minutes trying to figure out how to use this as a prompt for today's challenge. I was truly stumped (it didn't help that I'm still tired). I then went to see the sample quote that was given and that certainly helped. One of the quotes was this
She recalled being offended by the "phoniness" that stemmed from the contradiction between her mother's charming, even unctuous public manner and her anger in private.
I think many of us living with mental illness either as the patient or as a family member tend to try to live two separate lives in an attempt to hide what is going on at home from the outside world. The reasons are manifold. For many it is the shame created by the stigma surrounding mental illness. For others it is to 'save face' in front of extended family, co-workers, strangers because of cultural or personal reasons.
Mental illness is still something most only whisper about. The crazy aunt or uncle. The only time society talks about it loudly is when it hits the media. Cases like the Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gifford in January when Americans were wondering why family and friends did not realize how 'troubled' the shooter Jared Laughner was. The same happened when Cho Seung Hui shot and killed 32 students at Virginia Tech in 2007. Attempts to understand these and other tragedies led to people throwing around various mental illness diagnoses without a real understanding of the nature of the illnesses they were throwing around.
Is it really surprising in that case that people want to hide their own illness? People with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc are too often seen as violent, unreliable, and a host of other negative associations. The truth is that people with a mental illness are more likely to be the victim then the perpetrator of a violent crime.
The only way to change the public perception is to speak out and to show the real face of mental illness. We can all take a part in that by speaking out and breaking the silence.