I am grateful to see that there are now many conversations about mental illness. In a recent talk I watched the speaker wondered, as I have many times, why when one has a health problem that involves any other part of the body there is much sympathy and support. But if it's one's mind that isn't all that, society backs off rapidly.
It's not contagious, guys. It's just hard.
It's hard for the family, friends and employers. No one really knows what to say or what to do with anyone behaving in ways that words can't correct or even comfort.
"Perk up." and "Pull yourself together." are the favourite lines. As one speaker said: "Like I hadn't thought of that?" I used to want to hit something at the latter instruction. Do you see my parts lying about? Am I not in one piece?
It's hard for the struggling individual who knows something isn't right, but telling anyone is too risky. It's hard when you need to pour three times the energy into typing a stupid memo than anyone else because your fingers don't listen to your mind and your mind itself speaks gobbledy-gook.
It's hard when you are so exhausted you can't remember why you filed the document under M. when clearly it should have gone to P. You can't spell sincerely, which you type at least fifty times a day, without checking, again, just to be sure.
We, the crazies, have long tried to hide our afflictions, our fears and phobias because it's hard enough without judgement. Many of us have contemplated suicide seriously and many of us have followed through.
A young man talking about his suicide attempt said his perception was contracted at the time. I would have said mine expands. We all seem to experience our little bit of madness differently, which is not helpful to significant others, I will concede, but as one speaker said: [Paraphrasing]
At the moment it is one in four that suffer with mental illness, but there is a danger that we will arrive at 4 in 4 if we are not careful.Personally I think it might be 4 in 4 already. We just don't know it.
I also fancy that all humans are gifted differently and that those of us who particularly struggle are meant for different things. In the sixties we were called "the beautiful people" but we were really struggling to hold onto our beautiful minds without knowing we were. How else can we explain the flowers and the psychedelic pictures that emerged? Paintings that appear on an art site I follow often have portraits with blurred faces. Artists are the canaries. One should pay attention to art and artists.
Perhaps we are not designed for war, open plan offices and less for little nooks that isolate us. Repetitive work might be damaging to some of us and helpful to others. Routines are good for some of us and terrible for others. Not all of us are designed to perform the work others do effortlessly. No one can do what we do effortlessly, and sadly we don't do it because we demean what comes easily and besides no one will pay us for it.
Without our special gifts, our empathy, our lack of judgement, our humanity and kindness where would the world be? One in four, I remind you, is the number offered. One in four people have more empathy than the three others put together.
None of us want pity. We are masters of deception. We are innovative and will continue to fight the good fight as long as we live. A little less judgement might go a long way.
We take our pills if we can afford them. The medical aid doesn't pay for madness. We may lose our creativity for a while, our ability to discern danger and head off into toxic relationships with love, that other thing Freud talks about, but we always stabilise and eventually get out in some fashion.
Depending on the biology of the day everything is work. Achieving the goals we set accordingly is a happy thing. And, in case you are wondering how you could possibly love this bedraggled hair person who struggles out of bed, has nothing to say, sits endlessly in front of the television and can't tell you anything about the programs, or the child who just won't do the thing, the expected thing like all other children do, let me enlighten you.
We don't need you to love us. We need to love you.
Blessings my lovelies.