Blog: Is terrorism a “mental illness” issue?

I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t. Why? Because I don’t have a degree in Psychology. I am not a doctor. So I cannot, and will not, make a claim that the reason for this is lack of mental illness resources, or that it’s not.

This, of course being, the fact that nearly thirty people lost their lives this weekend to two mass shootings: one in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio.

All weekend, I watched people close to me and people who I don’t know claim that this is a mental illness issue. This may be on its own or in addition to that it’s a gun issue (some people believe it is many, many issues).

I shared the following photo when I heard about Dayton (I had heard about El Paso but didn’t say anything; I didn’t say anything about Gilroy either – what am I supposed to say?).

And I really don’t want to get into it from a political standpoint; I don’t know what type of issue it is and I’m not mentally well enough to go there right now. I wasn’t even really trying to get into a political conversation with the post. It was very simply a schizophrenia conversation. Because I’m so used to people throwing schizophrenia out there as a reason for terrorism without having any basis or education to go there.

Soon after, people were commenting. And most of them are my friends so I’ll admit a lot of them were just gifs of hugs. But then I got people who were like this is a gun issue and this is NOT a mental illness issue and this is a racism issue, and I didn’t want to disagree – I mean I don’t disagree that this is a racism issue, like at all, these people are terrorists – but I felt the need to point out, like, I’m not saying it’s not, with this type of post. I’m saying it scares me. It scares me when people start saying that this is a mental illness issue because I have schizophrenia, and the first mental illness people point to when there is a mass shooting that has been identified as a mental illness issue is schizophrenia. And yes I am aware that schizophrenia should not be classified as a mental illness and should be classified as a neurological disorder, because it is not behavioral like other mental illnesses, but right now it is classified that way, so I just need to say this.

I really just want to take a moment to clarify that I don’t know if it is mental illness issue and ask my readers and friends to stop saying it is, or it’s not, if you do not have the education and background to do so. It is absolutely okay to tell these people, who are not educated or qualified, that they are not educated or qualified, and have zero basis for for their claims, and campaign for doctors to tell us. Are these people who are terrorizing and murdering others mentally ill? Not the media, not the advocates, not some guy on Twitter who wants to save his guns, but people with PhDs in Psychology. As far as I am concerned those are the only people who have any qualification to make that call. I would not go searching for a diagnosis on the Internet. I would go see a doctor. And if it is in fact a mental illness issue, then everyone is included. It can’t be a mental illness issue, like, only for the white people, okay? Mental illness does not discriminate and everyone will need access to care.

That’s really all I have right now. I am terrified of people claiming to know schizophrenia who do not. People who don’t understand the stigma, the illness, the brain function, the symptoms, this life. No idea. No idea, like, at all. Please just stop, because I need to be able to leave my house tomorrow morning to go to work.