Let me first begin by telling you that I had the intention to post this on the week of July 4th, our national day of celebration of our independence. Yes, I know I’m a bit late. I found myself delayed…..somehow unable to bring myself to fully write what had been swirling in my mind. You see, one of the LABELS I have acquired is that of dissociation. A dissociative state, as categorized by the almighty Holy Grail of mental health the DSM-IV, is partly the reason for my entry today a good two plus weeks later. For any reader that shares this label, you know what I mean. For those of you who don’t, here is a informative link that from the Mayo Clinic that can shed further light. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dissociative-disorders/ds00574/dsection=symptoms
Ah yes, so back to the challenge at hand. I spent time recently during my mindfulness exercises silently pondering the nature of labels as the apply to us in our everyday life. As a society we are compelled to classify differences…..not only differences in objects and experiences, but differences in people, feelings, beliefs, and tendencies. This tool of categorization is immensely helpful to us in many ways. It seems to be an accepted way for us to attempt to simplify a complicated and complex species…..US…..by breaking down our similarities and differences into small neat little pieces. A blog post I read several years ago stated that from our kitchen cabinet to the tv show, everything has labels. The habit we have of labeling people, just like the habit we have of labeling things, is so entrenched into every facet of our society that I doubt it will “go away” anytime soon. What can go away, and the subject of my impassioned and radical plea to all of you, is the process we have of attaching a JUDGEMENT to these labels. Labels in and of themselves are just words…..words like rich, sick, smart. These words in and of themselves do not have any electrical charge if you will…..or emotion associated to them….. until WE give them one. Then suddenly the word “rich” can be associated in our minds and BODIES with a positive feeling or negative feeling depending on our filters and perspectives. The word “slow”…..the word “fat”…..the word “damaged”…..and many more all can have disastrous consequences when placed on a person as a label and associated with a dis-empowering absolute judgement. We have all born witness to the potential consequences of that in our lives….. even if it is only through an account relayed on the evening news of yet another tragic suicide by a person bullied for…..being themselves.
I have many labels attached to my being and the one thing I can truly say is this: Even though many of these labels might be accurate words used to describe something about me……they do not DEFINE me! I am more…..so much more…..than a person with DID, more than a mom, more than a gymnast, more than a blonde chick. And so are all of you! Judging based on a label does all of us a dis-service. So, I challenge you…..declare your freedom from judgments…..of yourself and others. One person, one minute, at a time.