It’s a common occurrence – a person with depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia or eating disorders are treated with disrespect. I see it almost every day, in many different ways.
Hurtful words such as “just snap out of it,” “just get over it,” “you’ve got nothing to be depressed about,” “buck up,” just to name a few, that I personally have received, and some even in recent days.
I wish I could explain to you why people have a mental illness, I wish there was a cure, and what I most wish for is people suffering – many in silence – would be treated with respect, acceptance and given kindness, love and gratitude.
For the past week I’ve been in a deep depression, anxiety attacks and agitation have kept me awake at night. I even had suicidal ideation two days ago. Me, the one who speaks up about reaching out and asking for help, and there is always hope – Why? Well first of all, yet again – silly me – I forgot to take my meds, this is what happens to me when I do: Why You Should NEVER Take Yourself Off Antidepressants, secondly I have fallen into old habits again. Without the structure and routine of kids being in school – I tend to lose control a bit, well okay, a lot. Trying to be all things to everyone, while trying to build a non-profit foundation. The only person responsible for this is me, not taking care of myself.
I’ve thought deeply about what I am about to share next, going over and over again in my head and heart, journalling and speaking to some trusted friends. I had to be sure that this was humility vs pride talking. I also had to look within at what I value, and walk my talk: Stand UP for myself, Show UP with kindness, love and gratitude, and Speak UP and ask for help. So I’m not only going to stand up for myself, what I am about to share stands up for others as well, silent voices of suffering.
When Organizations treat People with Mental Illness with little Respect
It’s one thing to be treated by individuals with disrespect. For the most part, this is due to the lack of education and the stigma that surrounds mental illness. When an organization that advocates for mental illness treats people with little respect, that’s a whole different ball game.
Months ago, I received a private twitter message from a woman in Edmonton, letting me know she was nominating me for an award. I was so grateful, and still am for this act of recognition for the support I have given her and others on twitter. As there was a big responsibility in this nomination if I was chosen, I needed to agree to the nomination.
A month later I received an email from an organization stating I was one of the ten people shortlisted across Canada. An interview was scheduled the next day. This was August 2, 2012, in the interview I was told that I would find out by the end of the next week, as they respected people needed to book flights to Ottawa on August 20, 2012.
Friday August 10th rolled around, an email was sent late in the day that they had not made a decision yet, and the announcement would be on Monday August 13th. Monday rolled around, and nothing – an email, two phone calls, all of which were not responded to. On top of this I had received a private twitter message from one of the “successful” Faces, saying she had found out.
At 7.05am on Tuesday August 14th I received a “sorry better luck next time” email. This is what I replied with the next day, as I don’t respond to something when I’m angry. No surprise the email has not been answered.
What I do know is a couple of the “unsuccessful” Faces are having a tough time, including me. And that’s okay. Moving forward, I know this – I don’t need any award, or “title” to know that I am a proud advocate for mental illness awareness. I walk my talk and support, empower and advocate for a cause I am very passionate about. To be honest, I truly felt in my being, that I would be a 2012 Face of Mental illness – for the reason of advocating for Distress Centre, 24 hour crisis lines, garnering visibility for Going Blue 4 U, and bringing much need awareness to advocacy in Western Canada.
I for one believe, what is right is to treat people – with love, kindness, gratitude and respect.
I wish all the “successful” Faces of Mental Illness the best, they truly are amazing advocates.