Easter and Passover come in April and as always, I think about people with mental illnesses who should not be ignored. Nor should the developmentally disabled. Imagine how they must feel while the rest of the world goes shopping and celebrating, seldom giving a thought to anyone less fortunate than themselves. I know how my son felt when he suffered from schizophrenia. Seeing the pain caused by holidays to someone so dear to me, left an indelible mark on my attitude to life.
It really is time to give time and thought to the less fortunate people amongst us and around us. Chances are that you might know someone who is disabled or suffers from a brain illness or a mental illness. Disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and/or alcohol abuse, dementia, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can affect anyone from any walk of life and cause more suffering than many physical health problems. Why? Because people understand physical illnesses and probably do not feel threatened by them.
So many individuals are feared and thus ignored. People often behave in a hostile and disapproving manner rather than show compassion, support and the minimum understanding. These reactions cause isolation and unhappiness. Imagine how terrible it must be to be confronted by stigma and discrimination especially when using public transport or even when out shopping.
Critical or derogatory attitudes are damaging to everyone, especially to a person with a brain illness. No matter how hard a person tries, being accepted is difficult. Because he/she is unable to shake off the stigma, that person loses confidence and in time, might come to believe that he/she is not even a worthy citizen unable to find a niche in the community.
Let’s open our hearts on holidays and if each of us befriends one person, we can change the world we live in.