Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fake Awareness Month, What colour should I wear today?

Every month it seems there is a cause to be spotlighted for  the social media to take charge and run with. Gimmicks that are supposed to raise awareness for a certain disease or disorder. Things that are eye catching or heart wrenching. Everything from selfies and hashtags to idiotic days like "No Bra Day" When you think about it, is having a disease or a disorder gimmicky? Or the new latest thing?

The answer is no.

The answer is always going to be no. I,once upon a time bought into the whole raise awareness with copious amounts of ribbons and puzzle pieces in a month thing, back when my first
ASD child was diagnosed. But as the years went by, no one seem to care about the struggle I had with getting services, good schooling and medical attention for my child. It didn't matter how many ribbons I wore, people were still and always going to be ignorant to the fact that my child was different. In time I put my puzzle piece decorations and jewelry away and become more of voice for my children, instead of someone that support something only when it is the latest and new thing to get serious about for longer than a hot minute.

I think that is why I have an issue when certain months come around or when it is decided to something gimmicky for a cause. I understand that most organizations are trying to make it fun to raise awareness for their cause, but in reality, living with a disease or a disorder isn't fun. It isn't fun because there is this societal stigma that normally follows you around. October is the prime example of false awareness. You have so many things that October is the cause month for. Breast Cancer, Domestic Abuse, Mental Health just to name a few. Now you could wear the colours of the rainbow in support or participate in something ridiculous like selfie campaigns or not wearing your bra  for a day, but who is that helping? Certainly not the millions of women dying of breast cancer who can't get low cost mammograms because places that provide that have been shut down, or helping the homeless vet who is struggling with PTSD and a host of other mental illness because all those programs to help them be mentally fit have been scrapped thanks to budget cuts.Or how about that child that most will look at through the veil of judgement?  Maybe its the cynic in me, but I don't think any amount false awareness is going to help.

If you want to support something, then support it. Don't slap a puzzle piece in your window or wear a pink tee shirt or take a pic with a hashtag and call it a day. People who depend on the actual support don't need a gimmick. Some need the funding to find a cure. Some need the support of a community and some just need to know that they are not alone when they call for help. So if you want to support Breast Cancer awareness, help out at Women's Health Clinic. If you want to help out Mental illness,be a friend to someone you know is going through a rough patch or even better, support something that helps the homeless, as a good percentage of them are mentally ill. Domestic Abuse, donate to a shelter. Autism Acceptance, Get to know a family who has special needs loved ones. There are so many other, more constructive things you could be doing to help a cause, than to participate in idiotic gimmicks.

In the end, the people who live with a disease or disorder or the ones who are fighting a damn good battle need to know that they are worth more that you simply taking a pic or taking your bra off. Be proactive in your support, that is what is appreciated more than anything else.