In episode 8, Reality Check, Elaina, and Tracy discussed the ridicule that many still face whenever they decide to be vulnerable enough to share their mental health issues and experiences.
“Ridicule is a weak weapon when pointed at a strong mind, but common people are cowards and dread an empty laugh”- Martin Farquhar Tupper.
In episode 8, Reality Check, Elaina, and Tracy discussed the ridicule that many still face whenever they decide to be vulnerable enough to share their mental health issues and experiences. Both shared how this is our opportunity to normalize mental health issues and begin the conversations and take action to annihilate the stigma that prevents many of us from seeking the help that we truly need.
Elaina and Tracy discussed how some people have publicly shared their mental health challenges. The discussion explored how sharing personal experiences, storytelling, and collecting views from everyday problems others are about to relate to these stories and realize they are not alone. She further explained how this kind of person is brave, and it takes courage and strength to share these kinds of experiences.
They provided an example of a young performer, Summer Walker, who was bullied on social media after sharing she suffered from social anxiety.
We need to educate people. Many don’t understand or know what social anxiety is, what it looks, or how it feels to be in a constant state of worry and anxiousness. You don’t help by being a bully.
We have to do better as a society. We should be supporting each other, not judging each other and putting each other down. What do you gain from picking on someone you don’t even know? How miserable can your life be to troll and bully someone on the internet?
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Elaina: There’s still the stigma that if you openly admit that you have a mental impairment, there’s something wrong with and you shouldn’t discuss that. I don’t know if it’s a lack of awareness or just a lack of acceptance.
Tracy: Yeah, I struggle with that too. I don’t know where it comes from. I know a lot of times we relate most of those things that we have experience with, and I don’t know if it’s folks don’t have experience with certain mental health issues and it makes them less empathetic to those who do, or maybe it they’ve heard about signs and symptoms of mental illness haphazardly and they really don’t understand it. So when they encounter someone with it or if someone decides to be vulnerable, it makes them a prime target for attack. I think me and you were talking about the couple of weeks ago when I was mentioning to you, I was on Twitter and how there was that whole attack on that young singer, Summer Walker.
Tracy: She came out and said she deals with social anxiety. And just looking at the comments on her twitter feed, where people were like, well, you shouldn’t be an entertainer and why are you wearing a thong if you suffer from a mental illness? And I’m like, are you kidding me? But it’s like people have these preconceived ideas on what a person who struggles with mental illness looks like, what they should act like. And there’s really not that one symptom or this whole framework of a person who has a mental illness. And I think that’s probably one thing that I think society struggles with.
Elaina: As human beings tend to fear what we don’t understand. And we know that fear can lead to some of these hateful behaviors. So to attack someone who says that they have social anxiety and yeah, okay. They’re an entertainer. So if you’re an entertainer, you’re supposed to be immune.
Elaina: I mean, think about what Ariana Grande day went through with that shooting. Was it Vegas? She’s suffered from PTSD. After that so, she’s supposed to just quit. I think the thing that really gets me is it’s not even someone admitting that they have an issue. It’s the reaction that people use today. So it’s when people don’t act and support. So let me ask questions. So you said her name was Summer?
Tracy: Summer Walker.
Elaina: Summer Walker. Okay. Summer Walker says she has social anxiety and she’s been in a thong and she’s been on stage and she’s a performer. Whatever the situation is. How does any of that impact your life for you to comment negatively.
Tracy: Exactly. Exactly. That’s why I try to stay off social media.
Elaina: I kind of want to get you on a couch and ask you a few questions to find out what’s wrong with you.
Elaina: For anyone that attack somebody on social media, it’s like, okay, how does what they’re doing impact your life?
Elaina: That would bring out that much anger?
Tracy: But I think it still comes back to what we were talking about around the whole just mental illness and people having this perception of what they think it is and how they think people should act and if they don’t fit that mold, they feel that they’re entitled to make judgment calls about them. We were talking about just the awareness and how brave people who suffer from mental illnesses, how brave they are just by admitting it and trying to make people aware it and it’s like when you get that kind of backlash from people, it scares away others who want to come out and bring that awareness and share what they’re struggling with. Because if you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, whatever, at the end of the day, do you really want to see a bunch of comments on your Twitter or Facebook feed with people adding to that?
Elaina: Right? Yeah. It just takes me back to why do you feel that passionately about?
Tracy: You know, those internet gangsters.
Elaina: You need to get a coloring book.
Elaina: You need to go get you a eucalyptus candle.
Tracy: Go get you a thong. Since you so worried about her thong, go get you a thong.
Elaina: There goes my Peaches. Only Peaches would tell somebody, to go get them a thong.
Tracy: Here we go. I been trying to keep her contained. Trying to keep her contained.
Elaina: That’s one of the reasons why I have pulled back from, from social media because I don’t want to hear everybody’s opinion. The other day I was having this conversation with my daughter and I said something to her. There’s a saying that says what other people think about you is not your business, and she was like, well, yes it is. I was like, no, actually it’s not because let them think. Whatever it is they’re going to think because you know who you are.
Elaina: But it’s hard to remember that when you’re on a public platform and you have all these people, all these strangers who don’t know you coming at you. And I think maybe that’s the thing that we have to remember.
Elaina: These are, what’s the term trolls. See?
Elaina: I’m not even that down with social media. Like why do I care what a troll thinks like you think what you want to think. Because the better question again is what’s wrong in your life?
Elaina: That you feel that passionate about being negative to me. I’ve done nothing to you. We’ve never even met.
Tracy: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s so funny you mentioned your daughter cause that’s, I think that’s who I worry about, you know, the most just teenagers in general because at that age when you’re a teenager, because you know I have a teenager at home too. That’s their whole life. What your friends think, how people perceive you. I think about the impact that can have on a young person, especially a young person that may be struggling with mental health issues.
Elaina: Yeah. It absolutely breaks my heart when I hear that someone took their life because they were being bullied on the internet.
Tracy: Yes. Oh my God, yes.
Elaina: That to me, that’s just.
Tracy: It’s heartbreaking.
Elaina: Yeah, it is. It truly, truly is. And again, it’s like I just want to get to the other person be like, what is so miserable in your life? When Kaiya younger, we talked about bullies. I said, well, here’s the thing that you have know about bullies. They typically don’t like themselves or they see something in you that they’re envious of. We grew up in a different time, we. We moved a different way.
Tracy: We grew up in a whole different time where we grew up in a time where you were able to defend yourself and sometimes you can actually become friends. I have someone that I think I had a fight with when I was in maybe third grade and as adults, it’s something we you laugh at now, but nowadays people are getting, their feelings hurt and it’s escalating and I don’t know where that stems from.
Elaina: We don’t educate ourselves enough and we don’t educate our children enough to understand different mental illnesses and we need to do better. Because I look at bullies. I’m not just talking about a kid that says something mean one day or I’m not just talking about an office jerk that was in a bad mood that ate the last bagel. What I’m talking about, somebody that picks a target and goes after them, sort of like these trolls, like they picked a target and they went after them and they do repeated it attacks, whether it’s verbal, whether it’s physical, whatever it is I’m talking about that person. I don’t think we do enough as a society in managing those behaviors. I think we ignore them if they were educated to deal with their emotions and their feelings and if I have somebody to talk through with that we would have less bullies.
Tracy: Yeah, I agree. You just brought up a really good point and it had me thinking all that stems from people not really understanding how to process emotions. One, how it’s okay to feel your feelings and talk about negative thoughts and things like that. And I’m wondering if junior high, high school, what about a discussion about mental health and how important that self-care is and it’s okay to feel your emotions instead of taking it out on others or not really understanding mental health and what that looks like. I don’t know. It feels like there needs to be that awareness of the introduction really early on. You mentioned junior high or high school and I think it’s just our earlier, we as adults have to be educated in order to educate kids and there should be some type of curriculum in schools. They have health class.
Elaina: When you talk about hygiene and you talk about puberty and I think they do talk somewhat about emotions as far as what they’re feeling and going through puberty. But I don’t think it’s enough. I don’t think that we’re having enough of the right conversations at the right stage of life.
Tracy: I’m pretty sure it’s evolved since I was in school cause we didn’t talk about any of that. It was the basics, I won’t tell you how long ago that was.
Elaina: Wait did you get the menstrual cycle video the little girl that played Annie, cause that’s what we got.
Tracy: I missed out with that, thank God.
Elaina: We got that video. It was like, Oh yeah, you know Annie got her period.
Tracy: Oh my God. Now you’re telling your age. People are like, who’s Annie?
Elaina: Not talking about the movie with Jamie Fox.
Tracy: The original Annie.
Elaina: Girl, I’ll never forget that video. I think we saw that video like the fifth grade.
Tracy: Oh my God.
Elaina: I know that. We’re just two people having a conversation. Maybe 20 other people will listen to. And I just hope that if we all have the conversation with somebody that it, the conversation just spreads. Like you have to start somewhere. And we know that as a society and as a culture, when you think about African American communities, we have to do better.
New Speaker: We have to do better. Depression is not just sadness. Depression is not just being bitter or unhappy. So we have to do better as a culture. We have to do better as a society. We have to have the conversations earlier.
Tracy: Absolutely. And we have to let go the whole image of what we think we should be. That strong black woman or that strong black man. I think we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and just be open. I think that comes into play with it, but I think it’s a conversation we need to start having.
Elaina: Yeah, and the unfortunate thing, I don’t think that many of us will be open unless we started seeing a trend towards more of us being accepted. We have to annihilate the stigma and we have to start caring about each other.
Tracy: I think that’s a great point. The caring about each other.
Elaina: I don’t see what the point is of going on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and attacking somebody that I don’t know.
Elaina: Like where do people find time?
Tracy: I was just going to say that.
Elaina: Cause obviously I’m doing something wrong cause I don’t have the time nor the energy. Do you all work? You guys got jobs.
Elaina: I’m going to go back to the issue that you were talking about earlier because when we first talked about it, you mentioned a lot of adult women that were attacking her.
Tracy: Yeah. I believe when Summer did respond back to them and in her response, can’t remember exactly what she said. I’m not that hip to be following her, but I did kind of skim it. But she mentioned that some of you guys are mom and when she made that comment I’m saying to myself, yeah, that’s scary because if you’re a mother that’s attacking a young woman about her mental health issues, how are you reacting to your own kids when they come to you? Because they’re struggling with mental health issues.
Elaina: But the thing is that we don’t acknowledge it as mental health issues. We just say, Oh baby, you’re just having a bad day. Go take a nap. But to those that do feel the need to troll.
Tracy: Read a book, go color.
Elaina: Right, go color.
Elaina: Get you a glass of wine and chill out somewhere. Cause that’s really all the energy that I have for it is to have my glass of wine. And color. I don’t have time for anything else outside of work. Raising a child, going to school, doing this podcast, find a hobby. That’s what you get.
Elaina: I just said we have to do better. So consider this our reality check where starting a conversation is just a start, but we can’t let the conversation in here. We have to continue the conversation and we have to figure out how to take action. We have to change that. The stigma, it’s time to annihilate it. It’s time to be done with it. If someone you know or someone comes to you, them having difficulties balancing out their emotions or their feelings does not make them crazy, get them support. Stop judging people. We have to do better.
Elaina: So if you have any suggestions on how we can start doing better, please reach out to us. You can find us on Twitter. You can find us on Facebook. Find us on Instagram or you can visit copequeens.com. Take care everybody.