I know that I’m gonna get a lot of angry cancer patients on my case, thinking I’m mocking them. However, I am not.
While I’ve had been thinking of it it for quite a while, only until very recently I finally said it to someone other than myself, on a DM.
And I stand by it.
You see, I have an illness. But it’s a mental one. I look good on the outside. I haven’t lost ridiculous amounts of weight. I still have all my hair. I have a good colour. I don’t look like I’m ready to take my boat ride across the River Styx. Only that I am. And I’ve been there several times.
But Mental illnesses don’t get the sympathy or empathy from society that cancer does. Or Cystic Fibrosis. Or Muscular Dystrophy. Or any other of those “legitimate” illnesses.
People like me are mostly regarded as moody individuals. An annoyance, most of the time. Someone normal people need to stay away from because we are Debby Downers. Oh, it’s all in your head, I’ve been told many times. Or, you just have to count your blessings instead of focusing on your limitations. And sure, I’m all for counting my blessings. I’m very grateful that I don’t have to sleep on the street, that I’m not starving. That I am not being gang-raped, or tortured or enslaved. I’m also grateful for friends and the love they give me.
But the truth is that even if I we do the right thing and reach out when we have our lows, it becomes harder and harder to do as time goes by. Sure, friends and loved ones (spouses, children, etc) will try and help the first time they hear about it. And the second time. And the third time. And maybe even the fourth and fifth. But after a while, they do get tired. And that’s normal. They are only human too. And so, we become a burden. Because Mental Illnesses are hard to treat. The prognosis is gloomy for the most part. According to the Royal Mental Hospital Depression Research Centre (depression is what I have but it might as well be schizophrenia or any other mental illness),“Many people diagnosed with a major depression will fail to respond adequately to two medications of different classes and about 60 per cent will have a treatment resistant depression.” 60 PERCENT! And unless we commit suicide (gasp! yeah, I said. Because a lot of us actually do) we live a normally long life just like any other person free of any lethal disease. So we become this pain in the ass, gloomy, cranky, grumpy, sad people that no one likes to be around. Even those who love us, have a hard time 1. dealing with us at a personal level, and 2. dealing with their own coping problems associated with loving a person with a mental illness.
And those are the lucky ones who’s friends and family care enough to help them. But there’s still a lot of stigma associated with mental illnesses. Even as I write this blog post, I can hear a very scared little voice at the back of my mind telling that I’m insane for talking in public about it. What are they gonna thing about you? it says. People don’t like to be friends with crazy people. Also, people DON’T HIRE crazy people. So won’t you keep it quiet? it’s for your own good, you know.
So, I wish I had cancer. At least there wouldn’t any kind of stigma associated with it. And – like I said to my friend, if I’m lucky enough, cancer would kill me really fast so I wouldn’t have to go on living in so much pain.