I am not a label.
I am so much more than the labels I have been given…
My list of labels are:
- Severe bipolar 1 disorder with rapid cycling and mixed episodes
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Personality Disorder
- Mentally Ill
- White, Non-Hispanic
- Employed part-time
- Low credit score
None of my labels tell anyone who I really am, except that I am a mom, white and female, but that still doesn’t describe the details of the kind of person I truly am.
People who judge me by my labels do not know my history or my story or who I am . My labels do not tell anyone that I am a good and kind person with a beautiful heart living my life for Christ and that I would do anything to help anyone I meet.
My credit score is low now due to the fact that I am on Social Security Disability and I barely make enough money to pay all of my bills and make it pay check to pay check each month.
My labels do not tell anyone that before I was diagnosed with bipolar, I graduated with a BS degree from Minnesota State University with honors and was given the Who’s Who Award For Students From American Colleges and Universities. I also earned some graduate credits in Special Education.
My labels do not tell people that I used to teach Special Education for over ten years and that is still my passion and where my heart truly is, but I am not allowed to teach anymore.
I used to be able to get any job I ever wanted to and now I have trouble even finding a part-time job in the type of employment where college is not required at all.
A few years later, I went back to college to get a degree in graphic design but my bipolar symptoms became too severe and I was three classes short of finishing the program and getting my Associates degree in Graphic Design.
Illustration by Susan Walz (me) – copyright ©Susan Walz (used water color pencils and graphite pencils).
Because there is such a negative stigma for people with mental illness, especially bipolar disorder, people on disability, people with low credit scores and people who are obese I am judged by many ignorant people. Many people make assumptions about who I am before they even meet me, talk to me or get to know me.
My labels do not tell anyone that I am a very loving and kind-hearted person and have good morals, a great character and that I would never hurt anyone and I never have.
Labels should not be given to people.
Labels do not help people.
Labels stigmatize people by making inaccurate assumptions and generalizations about who people are.
Labels are only helpful when describing objects. For example it is very helpful to know the truthful make and year of a vehicle you are interested in purchasing or what is the brand name, color and type of wood of a kitchen table you would like to purchase.
Objects should be labelled as it is the only way we can learn any information about them. Of course, objects are not human or alive, so they cannot communicate or feel any emotions. Objects can never be hurt negatively by their labels or stigma.
Objects are disposable and replaceable. People never are.
People should never be judged or labelled.
Labeling and judging people does not help anyone, but only hurts people causing people to be stigmatized and discriminated against cruelly and wrongly.
Stigma and discrimination can hurt people and can cause lifelong wounds of their heart and soul leaving permanent scars.
Do not label people.
Do not judge and define people by labels,
but get to know people with patience, education and communication.
Throw away people’s labels into a bonfire and…
Have a celebration.
Learn about people’s lives.
and love everyone.