I won’t talk about what happened to me, I think I’ve spoken about myself, and other victims of violence across BC enough for right now. It’s time to take a pause from that and focus on how we live with mental health issues – from disorders to panic attacks – deal with our experiences in a way that helps us create positive healthy lives, after the initial shock of realizing that you need help, because of mental health issues.

The Announcement of “I Have Mental Health Issues.”

No matter what your circumstance, and there are many that I could name, there are people out there genuinely suffering from mental health issues. Not so long ago, many famous actors, actresses, and athletes from all walks of the entertainment and sports industry started to come out and talk about their mental health issues.

The Response Is Rarely What Mental Health Patients Need or Expect

When Simone Biles stepped down from what would have been the highlight of her career at that point, the world was completely shocked. “She’s giving up money, fame, respect, the chance to prove she’s the best. How Dare She? Who the FUCK Does She Think She Is?

Each of the people that came out from Simone Biles to Catherine Zeta-Jones, had to deal with people criticizing how they were dealing with their mental health issues. “Why can’t you just get over it and entertain us?” was the reaction from millions of fans around the world. The members of the press and journalism world did not help by reflecting and amplifying this narrative.

You get paid millions of dollars a year, a week, a day, what the fuck do you have to complain about?” Is ALWAYS the response celebrities get.

This is often very loudly echoed by those of us who deal with mental health issues and don’t have access to the kind of care that we THINK and ASSUME celebrities have access to.

No matter who we are, or what our issues are, we always assume people have it better than we do, and then worse, we often ignore their complaints because we THINK and ASSUME we’d love to swap places with them. We’re almost always 100% wrong about that belief.

Famous or Poor, The World Ignores Those Who Need Help The Most

Chris Benoit, according to District Attorney Ballard and the city sheriff, committed suicide by hanging. Benoit used a weight machine cord to hang himself by creating a noose from the end of the cord on a pull-down machine from which the bar had been removed. Benoit released the weights, causing his strangulation.


What that short blurb doesn’t say is that before his death, Benoit also took the lives of his wife, Nancy and young son, Daniel.

Before that Brian Pillman allegedly took his life through the use of a needle, in a hotel room before what certainly would have been, the match of his career, and would have absolutely, cemented his right to be called a WWE Superstar.

Instead, his death was quietly announced on the PPV he was scheduled to attend, and no one who knows the story, or who cried the moment they heard, acknowledges or speaks about that day, or that superstar, or the mental health issues that led him to suicide.

We didn’t take WWE to task back then, because what could we have said? It’s a massive wrestling industry leader with the ability to support its superstars, and yet as much as it pains me to say, often does not. From sexual assault claims made against the former CEO Vince McMahon to stories of WWE Superstars being overly entitled to get away with crimes, the rest of us would have to pay out the nose for, (Lacey Evans,) to accusations of drunk driving by WWE Superstars.

WWE as a single industry (because it is a Western World industry all of itself with very little real competition,) has actually done a lot of harm to the mental health of the superstars and athletes that work for them, but we continue to tune in every single week, ignoring whatever issues our favourites are dealing with, in favour of being entertained by them.

We also don’t talk about Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Chester Bennington, Amy Winehouse, Anthony Bourdain, or the many, many other famous folks who have taken their lives due to mental health issues that they weren’t able to receive help for.

We don’t speak on why the most famous and seemingly powerful people in the world would take their lives at the height of their careers, but we shame regular degular folk, for doing the exact same thing, when they have literally 0.09999% of the support we THINK famous celebrities have.

In short: If a person with $90 million dollars in the bank, or $2 million dollars in the bank can’t get help for their mental health issues, what the fuck hope do the rest of us have?

We Often Feel Completely Alone In Our Struggles, Especially When We’re Not Famous, Rich, and Seemingly Powerful

Especially when we grow up with folks living with their own mental health issues, we are convinced and conditioned to believe that we are “lucky,” to be where we are and that we should accept the bare minimum of support and aid, in favour of not making ourselves the focus of attention when we need it the most.

Isolation allows us to hide our issues, and to pretend that everything is fine, even when we are surrounded by storms that we can’t control, that are literally strips of our lives away from us. We are stuck in a world filled with people who think they understand, repeat the same phrases over and over again until they lose all meaning, and expect that our smile means they can relax.

They no longer need to take care of us, because they said the thing, did the thing, gave us the “here’s some chicken soup for your hurts, and pills for your thoughts,” cure and expect that everything is fine.

Eventually, we just learn to live in our chaos, we learn to deal with it, without actually having the skills and tools to heal, because asking just becomes more work than it is worth.

We Are Vulnerable To Abuse

Every single person dealing with mental health issues is more vulnerable to abuse than those who do not live with mental health issues.

For context, it took more than 20 years for people to focus on the mental health issues that Britany Spears was forced to live with, against her will in every way that matters, and 13 of those 20 years, for people to stand up and fight for her, to get her life back.

A life that was spent making all the people around her hundreds of millions of dollars, while those same people, brainwashed Britney Spears – one of the most famous women in the world – to be everything they wanted her to be while ignoring the person that Britney was born to be.

Each of us – especially when we are poor, when we have a variety of cultural backgrounds, and little access to services that can really and truly help us stand on solid ground again, are at risk of being taken advantage of.

From drugs and sexual abuse to verbal and physical abuse, we experience it all. Often because we’re looking for a stable situation, and what we’re offered seems stable and secure at the time, but often deteriorates quickly due to the people in our lives, choosing deliberately, to take advantage of our situation.

It is terrifyingly easy for someone to have everything figured out one day, and to realize the next day that 20 years have gone by and you can no longer live like a healthy functioning person because you have forgotten how.

We With Mental Health Issues Are In More Danger Than You, But That Doesn’t Stop You From Seeing Us As A Threat

The moment that you say you have mental health issues – especially when you are not famous and celebrated by millions, people assume you are a danger to them.

The moment they hear the words “I have mental health issues,” many folks very first thought is “am I now in danger because you have mental health issues?” they may not say it, but it’s in their sudden change in vocal tone, their body movements, and in the way, the way they look at you suddenly changes.

Last year we were living in the 2nd year of a global pandemic. That same year, the United States of America saw the worst amount of violence directed at Washington since 9/11, at the hands of white American citizens.

It’s easy to say that “these people” who cause chaos and violence are crazy. It’s super easy to chalk it up to mental health issues, but if we don’t acknowledge what “mental health issues,” mean, then we’re literally just setting people up to fail, to die, and deliberately choosing to ignore the result of what those deaths mean for our world and our communities.

I often scream. Out loud. Not by choice, and it scares my neighbours, but I have panic attacks even when I’m home alone – especially when I’m at home alone – and it’s very rare for me to lose control when my mom is around or when I’m around other people, but this blog started, because of the fact that I got arrested while having a panic attack.

If I had had that same panic attack on a plane in the USA, there’s a very real chance that I, a woman of colour in the USA may have been shot to death.

Now I am terrified of flying, and certainly travelling outside of Canada. Because of how they reacted, I learned that when I’m in the middle of a mental health breakdown, rather than be taken care of, it’s my responsibility to take care of everyone around me, and to explain that I am not a danger, so that they don’t hurt me or worse.

I won’t even go to Vancouver from Surrey BC alone, because if we go anywhere not near clear and quick access to escape back to my home, I might have another panic attack and end up in another hospital.

In the USA it wouldn’t matter how much I say “I’m not a danger,” if the cops show up, I’m not making it out alive. Unless I am a white man. The last five years have shown us that time and time again.

The statistics on active shooter experiences around the world tell us only one thing: If you have mental health issues, you better keep that shit under wraps because you could very much end up dead. Unless you’re a white guy.

There Are Few Places To Turn For Help

Services are outnumbered. The number of employees that it would take to supply Surrey, British Columbia, alone, to support people who are marginalized by houselessness, hunger, poverty, a variety of disabilities, and mental health issues, is so astronomical, that it would destroy the yearly budget it takes to run this city. That’s a fact.

The foundations that we are born with as children may be completely and beautifully stable, or utterly and totally insanely chaotic.

Maybe we joined the armed services, maybe we saw shit overseas, maybe we saw shit walking down the streets, or in our homes or offices.

Mental Health issues come with a variety of reasons for existing, and each and every one of them makes it difficult for a doctor, psych nurse, or counsellor, to be able to offer the same solution to every individual.

But that also means that at a certain point there’s just nothing a doctor, a psych nurse, or a counsellor can do. You can talk about your mental health issues to death, and you can try and take medication, but sometimes none of the solutions work, for a ton of different reasons.

There is only 1 organization across all of British Columbia, that deals with survivors of torture, and while they do a lot of great work, they only work with immigrants. This is not at all the fault of the organization, but because of their government-based funding, their mandate states you have to be born outside the country to access their services.

The message that sends? Only Immigrants have been tortured by sexual violence or other kinds of physical, mental, and spiritual violence.

The Reality? Not true, many people across Canada have been actually tortured, and many many of them, were born here.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to help folks who announce they live with mental health issues, and what you can do to educate yourself if you do or do not live with mH issues.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.