Speaking out on mental illness is tricky business, I’ve come to realize, and my experiences with each passing day only seem to reiterate the notion. To be clear, I am an individual who lives with and struggles to manage what has been deemed a “serious mental illness”. As such, I use my own personal experiences to help highlight issues in the system which either have in the past, or still now do, pose harm to my efforts in learning how to effectively deal with and manage my life around this illness.
I realize that my own personal experiences cannot completely be generalized, and I know there are always exceptions to every rule as well. However, the issues I speak to are ones that seem to keep coming up over and over again, in my conversations with others and their experiences as well. As such, although my experiences are my own in that they are a part of my life; much more importantly, I hope others realize that many, many other people have and are facing these same struggles too. And, in that sense then, I hope others realize my experiences are not just personal to me, but rather, reflect as a microcosm the issues going on in our communities relating to mental health today.
On a semi-related note then, I want to apologize ahead of time for pissing people off in the process of advocating for the mentally ill. I do not mean to cause harm, but I am a human being with all my imperfections and as such, I am necessarily going to end up making mistakes in trying to maneuver around these sticky issue landmines where others’ interests become involved. There’s just no getting around that. The best I can hope for is to learn quickly, and never let another’s blow keep me down for too long. There are just too many people out there struggling alone in the darkness with mental illness. And for that reason, while I may not always speak perfectly, I no longer find lacking perfection a reason not to speak out. There are just too many people in need of help…