“Words can really hurt you when you internalize what you see written about you online”, I said to one of my fellow Mental health peers this past week. I am a Mental Health Advocate that lives with Bipolar Disorder and I share my journey online with my social media followers.
When Singer Kehlani attempted suicide and then posted about it on Instagram I received 10 text messages instantly about it. I was tagged in many posts about it online and the responses I saw about it overwhelmed me. I am familiar with Kehlani’s music and I feel like she has a beautiful soul that has cried out for help in her music before. One of my favorite songs by her is called, “ALIVE”. Just google the lyrics and you can see why I love that song. Celebrities are humans just like us. When a celebrity shares something like this it isn’t for entertainment purposes. I couldn’t believe how many people questioned her and this attempt to take her own life. I counted how many times someone called her weak and she even called herself selfish in her post about the suicide attempt. The events that led up to this suicide attempt ignited a personal reaction that Kehlani had and how she was not prepared for her fan base/cyber-bullies to attack her the way they did. In a moment like that her team, friends and family should have shielded her from this and prepared her to weather the storm. Many times my followers ask why I claim my Mental Illness and why I am so transparent about my journey. This is WHY!
A Face on My Disorder.
I put a face on my disorder so that you can understand that there is someone around you suffering silently yet boldly while they live their lives. Many people with Mental Illnesses cannot do that so imagine a celebrity who is loved by many, but then has to face the other side of not being loved anymore for their personal mistakes. This is life. Mentally it is easy to internalize what others think about you and for those of us who live with Mental Illnesses this is a constant struggle we fight within ourselves. People use social media to attack others and to make fun of their lives when there is someone close to them suffering. I feel as if people who do this suffer the most because they don’t know how to make sense of what is happening in their own lives.
I Share My Episodes.
I know why it bothers people that I share my Mental Health journey because they don’t understand how I am able to live the way I do while suffering. I share my episodes, my mood swings, my manic moments and even my good days. Trust me I don’t act like it’s always good because then I would be faking it on social media. Celebrities who experience real life moments like these share this with their following to show they are human and to connect with you. They don’t do this for your judgment and for your entertainment. If this was for entertainment purposes or to promote a new song or album then she has to deal with the karma that comes from abusing real issues like suicide. Celebrities have a platform that can help others and their influence is major when they share real life moments like this.
The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” no longer applies in the world of social media. You have to work on your mental strength as much as you work on your physical strength. I share with my followers what you read online, what you post about online and what you like/view on social media pages are things you internalize every day mentally and emotionally. Detox your timeline! If you see that someone makes fun of moments like this then press UNFOLLOW. If you see something you don’t like then press UNFOLLOW. If you frown up at something that takes you to a bad place mentally then UNFOLLOW. You control your own reactions to what you see online and I hope that Kehlani learns how to deal with this as she continues her music career. Be mindful of those who suffer in silence, because you don’t know or understand what they are battling physically, mentally and emotionally. This applies to your favorite celebrity who life you judge daily while dealing with your own issues. We are all human and I ask that you try to understand Mental Health issues that affect us all. Understanding helps fight against Mental Health stigma and that’s why I share my journey.
I am ALIVE on purpose with a purpose and so is Kehlani!