It is bad enough the subject is still taboo in our day. It is bad enough, so many people suffer in fear, afraid to be real. It is bad enough there are millions. It is so horrible people are dying.
If it were cancer, if it were cardiac, if it were anything physical, there would be a focus, discussion, compassion, a willingness to try to find better treatments, a cure.
My cousin asked a general question on Facebook, “Can a person with schizophrenia be called an individual?” Family, my own family. He knows me. I have corresponded with him. He has read my work and me, his. He came here and spent time with me in person the day of Mom’s memorial service.
Read that again, “Can a person with schizophrenia be called an individual?”
This was my reply: “Yes. Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality Disorder are different things. Do you consider me an individual? I have Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, and the mood disorder, Bipolar combined.
Even MPD, the person, is an individual. Our illnesses do not make us any less worthy of respect and love as individuals.
I wonder where this post came from.”
Punch me in the face and lay me out cold. I could not believe I was reading this.
I should not be surprised. Society wishes to sweep us out with the nasty garbage. Do you know how long it takes to get funding to find those of us suffering new treatments? Do you realize how many people think we are all acting? Do you know how few live to age 56 because they commit suicide?
Sorry, I am angry. It is not so much about me. I know people who could function with meds. I know women who are so down on themselves, their husbands can put fists to skin. I have spoken to a father whose son and his wife were both mentally ill, and that man was in the process of adopting their little girl because neither of them could adequately care for her. He was almost 70.
I am lucky, I get my meds, and though I am sometimes suicidal, I know how to defuse myself with my creativity. Not to say, I have not come very close to success but been saved. My disease is the worst, and I am high functioning. I have an incredible doctor, I was able to get disability, Medicare, and Medicaid by 1997, but I had been living a nightmare since 1981. What I get does not pay all the bills, but I am afraid to lose the insurance by going to work, and I do not do well in public for extended periods. My home is a disaster area. Alex cleared out my Mom’s room. We took three loads in large trucks of clothes to Good Will. I could not do it. I cannot hardly manage any of the house. I have to keep my mind busy, or I destruct. I have to read, write, create, stay mentally engaged, or go to pieces.
Do you realize why so many are in a sorry state? They cannot afford a doctor, and if they could, they could not afford meds. Go price anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, go ahead. I will wait.
This is a crisis, and every day it gets worse. That is not an exaggeration. More and more people are committing suicide.
I am sorry, I try to leave this out of the conversation. I know most do not wish to hear about it. Many think we just lack will power and can pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. My older brother was like that, he looked down on me most of my life. We loved each other, but I failed to meet his expectations. My Mom talked to everybody who knew me trying to find ways to relate to me.
No one knows what having voices that you know are unreal, but you cannot dispel, that tell you that you are damned, stupid, ugly, unwanted, unloved, is like without experiencing it. Also, delusions that make it so you cannot trust anyone and always make you feel inferior, make you wish you were never born or could die right quick. It is so hard to understand, and no one should have to, we should put an end to it with committed research.
People like so many of our stars and veterans who commit suicide because of depression. Most of the people suffering are bright and had potential until the diseases took over their lives.
Maybe you know someone who struggles, perhaps you could give them a hug, tell them how much they mean to you. Offer to visit. Just treat them like they are an individual. Love them even if they are sometimes or often unlovable. If you know someone who needs treatment, maybe you could help them with the process. It is damned hard, and many require advocates.
If this offends you, I am sorry. If you think less of me, I get it. Something needs to be done to wake this country up to this crisis. People are dying, and their blood is on our hands if we do nothing, say nothing, we do not initiate change.
“Can a person with schizophrenia be called an individual?” If we dehumanize those with mental issues, are we not falling back into worst tyrannies than our nation’s and world’s past.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
I usually give you pretty pictures, but I think the stark text will do this time.