Sorry I have been absent for the past few days. Working 12 hr shifts at a rehabilitation center for the mentally challenged does not really leave a person with a great deal of brain power. I love what I do but it hurts me so to see those stuck in a really pathetic system. Why is it that government cannot see that people with mental illness do not deserve to be just locked away and forgotten about? Why do we deserve less than everybody else? Why can there be funding (as bad as it is) when people have physical ailments but we are just at the bottom of the list.
There are people out there fighting to end the stigma but the big guys, the ones who can make change happen completely ignore us. One gentleman I work with does have his issues. But he wants to get a job and live independently. But who is going to hire him and give him a chance? Who is going to support him and teach him the skills he needs to achieve his goals successfully? No one I know of. It is bad enough having a mental illness but if you throw poverty into the mix…hope is nit the first word that comes to mind.
I know I had a job interview and the lady asked me about my book. I said it was about living with mental illness. Well she messed up right after and asked me if I had a mental illness. My whole book is to help see the reality of mental illness so I was not about to lie. “Yes I have bipolar disorder but that in no way affects my ability to do my job well.” She quickly said she knew I was great and there was no sense in asking me the other 10 questions and I would be called for a second interview. I was then shooed out the door. I never did get that call.
She automatically assumed I was crazy and not fit to do a real job and never even gave me the chance to finish the interview. Yes, this is the crap we deal with. You can be popular but let them get wind of a mental illness and all of a sudden you are a black sheep. How many of us feel we have to hide it so we will not be rejected by others? Are we making changes? Are we moving ahead?
I often deal with it because it is public knowledge that I am writing a book so people want to know what it is about. As soon as I tell them I get “the look.” I have been open about my bipolar disorder and I must say I have faced different reactions. One contract I worked I let it slip about the book so of course there were questions. Not one of them let it have any effect on how they saw me. A group of us became very good friends and I felt loved for who I was. My bipolar disorder does not define the person I am.
It is going to take a great deal more change…and someone to punch Trudeau in the nose…before we feel safe and accepted even though we suffer from a mental illness. We need support, understanding and some compassion. Not to be treated like we are aliens that have descended onto the earth. We are not “bad” or “crazy.” We need to be given a chance before automatically being judged. I know the feeling of people knowing about my disorder and still loving me. But I also know what it is like to be treated as less of a person, someone to keep at a distance. So many times I would love to look at someone right in the eyes and say “f*** off!”