Today, November 28, 2012, is both Thanksgiving and Hanukah and as always, holidays bring me to the subject of all the people who have mental illnesses, other serious brain illnesses as well as developmentally disabled people. Let’s stop trying to ignore them. Let’s think about the way they must be feeling while the rest of the world goes by doing their shopping, celebrating, yet seldom giving a thought to anyone less fortunate than themselves. I know how my son felt when he suffered from schizophrenia. Seeing this occur to someone so dear to me, left an indelible mark on my attitude to life.
It’s time to give time and thought to the less fortunate people around us.
Chances are that you might know someone who is developmentally disabled, or suffers from a brain illness or one of the mental health illnesses. Disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, dementia, bipolar illness or schizophrenia can affect anyone from any walk of life and cause more suffering than many physical health problems.
A lot of individuals are ignored or feared. People behave in a hostile and disaproving manner rather than show compassion, support and understanding. These reactions cause isolation and unhappiness. It must be terrible to be confronted by stigma and discrimination especially when using public transport or even when out shopping.
Critical or derogatory attitudes are damaging to anyone, especially to someone with a brain illness. No matter how hard he/she tries, being accepted is difficult. Because he/she is unable to shake off the stigma, that person loses confidence in himself and in time, might come to believe that he is not even a worthy citizen as he is unable to find a niche in our society.