Mentally ill people are special. Whatever it is that you’re fighting, do remember, you’re among the 1% of the earth, the ones who are always in tune with their brains, the ones whose minds are more powerful than their body, and it makes you a warrior, every, flipping, day.
Each day you wake up, from the first breathe you take at sunrise, you fight sicknesses that many people can’t even begin to understand. You deal with thoughts that almost, and sometimes consume you. If you had cancer, pneumonia, elephantiasis, if you were crippled, or deaf and dumb, you’ll get a parking spot. You’ll have all the sympathy and disability benefits. You have a diagnosis, from a doctor who went to university to get their degree, there is no cure for what it is that you have, but we live in a world that constantly looks down on you for things you have no control over. You have to deal with the shame and constantly apologise, on top of everything. You fidget with your anxieties while it cripples you. You struggle with depression while it buries you. You deal with schizophrenia while it screams at you, you go through PTSD while it darkens your doorway. You don’t get the looks. Not the look of, “oh I’m so sorry this is happening to you, you don’t deserve this, there must be no God”. Nope. You get “who’s this crazy ass dude always acting like a prick with his whatever mood swings”.
What of love? What of when you struggle to find someone to love you? What about the need for acceptance that you’ve spent your whole life craving? What about all the times you swallow pills in silence with no one to fetch you some water. If you can move your hands and feet you don’t need any pampering, you have no physical symptoms, so what are you down about. What about friends you really love who start avoiding you? What about relationships you’ve lost because the crazy got the best of you.
It’s not fair, it never is.
But you do know I’m not writing this for you to nod along and burst into tears? Because, in all the injustice, in all the unfairness, stands our strength. Because together we are one, and we are strong. Together we can battle the stigma, the oppression, the misinterpretation, the disgust on world’s face. Once upon a time autistic kids were called “abirun”, “dadindato”, sluggish, slow, stupid, retarded. But hey, HUGEE PROGRESS!! And while the Mental Health Advocacy community keeps making its mark, you are also making yours. You’re not weird, you’re just YOU. With every battle you conquer and ever stripe you share, you remind more people that strength exists outside this perceived weakness. With every book you read, every hard therapy session and each changes you make, you’re more emotionally aware. And never forget to appreciate that journey. If it seems like there’s nothing to clap about in the month, then try the year. Try the decade. Look at your life as a bigger picture and you’ll see a clearer one too.
In this community we’re all gifted, and even while you’re on the struggle to recognise your gifts and see that mark you’re leaving on the world, don’t forget, YOU are gifted.
No great genius has ever existed without a streak of madness – Aristotle.
If you’re not part of a mental health community today, join one. There’s always strength in numbers, in knowledge, and in love.