“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This quote has been used a lot lately, mostly as a clarion’s call for political and social action, and rightfully so. But I want to make a more personal application.
When was the last time you confronted someone who had just made a derogatory, judgmental, erroneous, or even outlandish statement about the mentally or emotionally unwell? What if that person had more credentials, authority, or status than you, or was capable of hurting your reputation or making your life miserable?
Depression can make us so passive if we let it. Even when we feel good we can act like frightened mice, hiding rather than challenging destructive lines of thought, our own as well as those found in others’ words. The sad thing is that passivity creates a sense of helplessness, which in turn creates a sense of hopelessness. Practice being passive often enough and soon you will feel like a victim in a seemingly big and dangerous world.
So stand your ground. Don’t give in to fear when fear leads to an increase of stigma toward the depressed, anxious, and those suffering other types of mental or emotional ill health. Even if you are trembling inside or your assertiveness is tinged with tears demand justice and respect for yourself and for those close to you. In the end, even if the consequences of standing your ground are unpleasant you have mastered yourself. That kind of integrity will make you feel stronger inside. Such strength is another tool in the bag to ward off emotional and mental problems.
Jaguar picture by Cburnett: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. Found on Wikimedia Commons.