We see it everywhere in the headlines. When a murder or serial killings are released, the media tend to release the mental illness diagnosis with the article/story they are writing. It may seem harmless to the 'normal' people out there, but I must write to everyone to rethink how they read these certain articles. These articles can influence how society approaches people who have a mental illness attached to them. What many people dont seem to understand is labels shouldn't define us. Unfortunately, a lot of people need labels to be able to 'understand' things better, instead of having open mindedness (see blog post before as I dive into that topic a lot).
2017 will see the Tribeca Film Festival introduce the movie 'My Friend Dahmer'. Although the movie is more focused on the graphic novel written by John Backderf, Jeff Dahmer is indeed a infamous Serial Killer who has a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Jeff's crimes are gruesome, cruel and morally obliging acts. He committed rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between the years of 1978 and 1991. He was found to be legally sane in his trial. He was beaten to death in his prison cell by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
What troubles me about when these type of films get released, is the uneducated, close minded masses further stigmatising the mental illness that I live and sturggle with. I will most certainly be intrigued to watch the film. In saying this, we can create a lot of damage when we attach mental illness labels to articles with out explaining the diagnosis. I also extend that people who are on the spectrum of really being closed minded will think that EVERY single person who has BPD will be a mass murderer. This can then immerse people into being one track minded. You voice up to be shut down by these people because media has empowerment. Media can create all kinds of articles to change people's perception and point of views.
What we need to start doing as a small community is start validating and believing in people's lived experience with BPD. Not everyones experience is going to be the same. As I have said in past posts, we all have different mental makeup. Same diagnosis and symptoms, yes. But no one is you. You are an individual who experiences their mental illness different to everyone else who may have a mental illness diagnosis. Once people start understanding that, discrimination and stigma can be removed from situations. I know so many gentle, safe and loving souls. These people I know who have them also suffer the most.
I know some people who do kill have an internalised mental illness. I wont deny people those facts. But to relay us back to those killers, the people who try seek help and want to do the right thing by others, is something I struggle to accept. I have over heard people in conversations say such things as 'oh yeah did you hear about that psycho serial killer? Omg they had BPD'. Its language barriers and terminology like this that hinders education and understanding from society. As soon as you are in a conversation like this, people will receive this information and think the person saying this is 'right' about how everyone behaves who has a diagnosis of Borderline. If you say this in a group of uneducated masses, they will follow each other around like lost sheep. Its the blind leading the blind.
Then you have people like myself who raise awareness and educate the masses on the actually impact Borderline has on our lives daily. i in no way agree with what serial killers do. They are vile and cruel acts. But not all killings are motivated by the hate and pain the ones Jeff Dahmer produced. Sometimes you can have a mentally ill person enter psychosis and a killing may occur due to the mental impaired person hallucinating, not having control over their own mind ect. Each killing is different and everyones battle experience is different, even if it morally isn't justified.
At the end of the day, everyones mental makeup, nurture up bringing and experiences with mental illness are differently. I thoroughly believe that removing labels when discussing violence will be a foot step in the right direction when educating people on the reality of mental illness. Attaching labels and diagnosis when discussing and reporting violent and inhumane acts only further stigmatise mental illness on a whole. Not everyone who is suffering is out to get you. If you look deeper and dont believe everything you read, you will find they are the ones who can love the most as they know what it feels like not to be loved in this bizarre thing with call life.