So I Asked Myself

The more I read other people’s stories about their mental health battles, the more I am struck by the number of people who are dealing with serious mental health illnesses.  As a result of my reading, I have also realized that the people who are waging battles against mental health diseases are a very diverse group.  The disease knows no boundaries based on education, race, age, national origin, financial circumstances, personal interests, personality, level of personal success, or professional choices.  We can easily produce a list of people that would include military personnel, politicians (including presidents and prime ministers), children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, the elderly, artists, the woman down the block, musicians, teachers, journalists, the man around the corner, firemen, policemen, doctors, lawyers, etc., etc.  Most of the writers try to end on a positive note of “keeping on keeping on,” or “fighting the good fight,” or “ taking it one day at a time.”  But sadly, some of the stories are not written by the sufferer, but rather by a close friend or family member because the person with the illness is no longer here to tell us his or her story.  The pain of their illness became intolerable for them.  Some choose pills. Some choose a gun.  Some choose wrist slashing.  Some choose hanging.  Some choose asphyxiation by monoxide poisoning.  Some choose a car crash.  Some choose jumping off a bridge.  And again, I say, etc., etc. Suicide is never pretty.  Occasionally, a person is discovered before succeeding in ending his or her life. Sometimes that person is grateful for the second chance, and sometimes not.

So I asked myself,  “With so many people, from so many backgrounds, suffering from and battling with mental health illnesses, why are there so many other people who still think it’s just a matter of dealing with a hang nail and not a real illness?”  Why do so many of those other people say,  “Just get on with it, you’ll be fine?”  Why do so many of those other people think that we imagine our symptoms, and that we make ourselves into victims? Honestly, I don’t know.  All I do know is that the naysayers are plentiful, and so are the sufferers of these diseases.


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