Third in a series….
We, as a society, rally around illness and disease. We organize walks and fundraisers for cancer, MS, and aids. We empathize and sympathize. We console and deliver lasagnas.
For those with mental illness, we lock them away or ignore them. We make laws saying it is okay to secure them against their will. In family gatherings, we keep them separated and just say, “they’re struggling.” We look away from them on the street. We let them be abused in secured facilities we put them in.
We don’t know how to react. Some offer condolences. Some chastise. Some wonder what the fuck is wrong with you. Some turn away. Is it fear that causes these reactions? Fear of, “for there but the grace of god go I…..?”
My last blog sparked a shitstorm of response. I’m grateful for the support. I’m curious that so many mentioned courage. It wasn’t, or at least shouldn’t have been, courageous. What is courageous about admitting an illness? If I had said I have cancer, I’d have five pot roasts at my door. No, I have a mental illness. For what it’s like, see the first blog in this series. It isn’t fun. It isn’t made up. The difference between it and a terminal illness is I have to live with the aftermath.
I have the capacity to write lucidly about mental illness. Many don’t. I’m going to keep writing about it for their sake, because I can. I was in a hospital with tragic people who will most likely have tragic outcomes. They will do so because we don’t know or don’t care about what to do with them.
I’m Darren, and I’m mentally ill, and I speak for those who can’t.