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A Facebook post got me ranting—how millennial of me

Yesterday on my social media, I wrote about what motivates me as a writer.

If you didn't catch that, just so you know—I am motivated by the fact that I want to shed light on topics that are/have been misrepresented, stigmatized and/or silenced.

I think that the entertainment industry has a responsibility to make sure it is helping break down barriers that people are up against.

The group that I am referring to specifically in my series (though I hope to write or help publish other groups in the future as well) is those with mental health disorders.

Mental health is stigmatized. It seems we have moved a little on the scale, enough that mental illness isn't just represented as outright "crazy" and shown as violent psychopaths'. But it hasn't moved enough to where we are prioritizing the care, or really recognizing the full extent of who it affects and how wide spread it really is.

This was made apparent to me by a Facebook post that I saw last week (it was in no way shocking to me, I am aware what people think, but it did spark a rant to my husband that we haven't moved far as a society). Anyway, the post talked about how mental illness is a growing thing in the up and coming generations BECAUSE (and this is where I face palmed myself) PARENTS SPEND TO MUCH TIME ON THEIR CELLPHONES.

Okay, breath Jennifer—sorry, I get worked up when people say stupid things.

Listen, I'm not saying we don't spend a lot of time on our phones. I definitely struggle with time management because of that device that keeps me connected to everything and everyone. BUT, it is not the cause of mental illness in our generations. Well, at least not because of its what the parents are doing instead (but that is for another time).

I'm not sure if the older generations (Boomers and Gen X realize) but millennials are riddled with mental illness, and our parents didn't have cell phones (at least not in a way that they could be on them all the time). And I hate to break it to anyone that came before the millennial generation, but a large portion of you had mental illnesses too. You were shamed into making it "go away".

Just because statistics show that mental illness was lower before doesn't mean it didn't exist, it just means people weren't reporting it (for many reasons)!

My grandpa had a mental illness (I have no idea what it was as he has since passed, so has my dad, my uncle—and I have never been close with that side of the family). Anyway, my grandpa had a mental illness that greatly affected his life. It even left him homeless for YEARS on the streets of Milwaukee, WI. When he was on his meds he was fine, but off them, not so much.

My uncle suffered from the same mental illness. My dad didn't, however, the trauma he suffered from his childhood (not at the hands of my grandpa or uncle) left him with many demons to fight as well.

I always wonder how much better my dad's life would have been if he could have admitted he had trauma and dealt with it in a healthy manner. I often wonder how much different our relationship would have been and what mental health issues I wouldn't be dealing with because of the ways he chose to cope.

My dad was not around for me to start my journey of working through my mental illnesses and traumas. I wish he was (for many reasons) but a big one is because I wish he could see the strength it takes to do so and be inspired by it. I wish he was around so I could tell I don't blame him for the bitter parts of my childhood. My dad was always being the best dad he knew how to be.

All of this was to say that we need to stop doing (well a lot of things) but for the point of this blog two fundamentals things. One, stop shaming parents who are on their phone. You have no idea what they are going through or what they are doing on. Maybe they are doing homework for classes they are taking online. Maybe they are reading a parenting blog on how to be more present with their kids. Maybe they are watching TikTok because the funny shit people do bring them joy and they just need a short distraction because they have been with their child for hours on end.

The second thing is we need to stop acting like mental illness is new. It is. And in doing that, we can all start to accept that it is something that needs to be talked about, that needs to be addressed, and I'll say it loudly for the people in the back NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING WE ARE PROACTIVE ABOUT INSTEAD OF REACTIVE.

Getting someone help AFTER they have had a mental breakdown, or after they have started self medicating doesn't need to be the first step. We NEED to teach self-care, self-love, self-acceptance. We need to teach kids healthy coping skills. We need to talk about the fact that talking about your feelings is important.

Things can get better the more proactive we become. I see a change. I see the conversations starting. So keep pushing for that. Keep talking about self-care. Keep reassuring not only your loved ones, but also yourself, that you are important enough to be put first in your life.

***If the person on my Facebook who shared that post reads this blog, please know this was not in an attack at you. You are an amazing person, with an incredibly kind heart. I know you had no ill intention by your post and I hope that my blog post changed your mind:)***

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