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Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

celebrates Mother’s Day as you might. Not every woman is a mother. Not every woman has a good relationship with her mother.

Some women have been abandoned by their mothers; yes, even if it happens as a grown up, it stings.

Some women have lost children, and may feel the sting of grief.

Every woman can celebrate the day as they choose. Some just may not be as excited by it as you. And that’s ok. Celebrate. Enjoy. And respect the other woman’s choice not to.

Be well.

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I met this elephant trainer not too long ago. Only spoke with him for a brief time, but he was very polite and we shared an intense series of sentences about mental health (illness, disease) and stigma. He said I should be proud of what I live with, not ashamed. I think generally I am proud of balancing my existence with a mental illness. But yes, there are times I am ashamed, afraid, to mention it because of the stigma attached to it.

So many people live with a mental illness and the weight of the stigma is overwhelming. The weight of keeping up appearances is daunting. Think of any other illness. Really, right now, think of any other illness. Now imagine a person saying, “I just can’t do stuff today because of the ____________. ” Every single person would give that person a pass and probably some sympathy, maybe offer some help. Make a meal and drop it off.

Now fill in that blank with a mental illness.

Oh, chin up, it’s just work. You can get through it. Cheer up, it can’t be that bad. Oh, I didn’t know, sorry. Well, the weekend is coming.

Or nothing at all.

Not everyone will respond this way. The folks who respond with the same compassion as the “any other illness” scenario probably know or live with someone who has a mental illness.

The ones who respond any other way don’t know what it’s like to live with it and don’t know much about it. Why would they? It’s easy and acceptable to not know about mental illness because of the stigma. Because of the outlandish Hollywood portrayals that make a mockery of the day to day life with mental illness. Those portrayals set things back every time. You want to see a good portrayal, a understated, realistic one? Watch Love and Mercy.

Back to the example above. “I just can’t do stuff today.” But instead the person living with a mental illness will pick themselves, put on the socially acceptable happy face, the persona we assume each day to hide what makes others uncomfortable. Well, we get tired. Some get really tired. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being ashamed. I’m tired of keeping it out of the way because folks would either have to educate themselves a bit or simply be sympathetic on faith, even if they don’t understand it.

I’ve written it before. Everyone knows someone who is living with mental illness, you just might not know it. But if you know me, in real life or just because you miraculously stumbled onto my humble blog, you know someone who lives (and quite well, thank you very much) with schizophrenia every freakin’ day. Ask me questions if you don’t understand something. Educate yourself and spread it around. Help to get rid of the shame, the stigma, the misconceptions. Read a pamphlet. Read a website (vett your sources, please!).

Remember, you know someone.

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