Yesterday TMZ reported that former Strikeforce and UFC fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller was arrested for breaking into a church, stripping naked and spraying a fire extinguisher all over the place. Anyone that follows MMA closely knows that Miller has very candidly discussed his struggles with mental illness. While I can’t be sure what his mental state was at the time of the incident, I am positive that mental illness is something that never goes away. Those that are suffering are always struggling. Depression, Anxiety and other illnesses cannot be cured.
I know this from personal experience. As some of you know, I was recently diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Im autistic. But what I havent shared through this blog is that I was also diagnosed with ADD, Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia and Dysthymic Disorder (I’m all fucked up). So while Twitter and the blogosphere competed for the “wittiest” Mayhem joke, I sat here thinking about how I could capitalize on this opportunity. How can we turn this negative into a positive? The answer is by removing the stigma attached to mental illness. We have to stop pretending Mayhem is just some quirky guy looking for attention. He’s ill, and despite his talent in the octagon and his experience fighting, this is an opponent he wont beat without help. Mental illness doesn’t go away, you just learn to cope with it. What Mayhem needs from the MMA community is understanding. Fighters are people, they don’t exist solely to entertain us. Its time we started treating them like people instead of toys.
I want Mayhem to know that I’m rooting for him, most people that struggle with depression don’t accomplish even half of what he has in his life.
If any of you are interested in keeping up with my struggles, I started a blog that I try to update somewhat regularly. Please stop by!