A disease by any other name

February 1, 2015

 

I love snow but hate to drive in it. I really hate to run in it so I ran my ten yesterday. It was nice out when I did so I took a different path than I typically do. I ran past Billie’s house; she is 4.5 miles from me. That’s pretty scary I know. Anyway, I thought a lot about my need to have routine and how taking a different path or lack of routine is so hard for me. If you know me very well at all you can appreciate how saying it’s hard for me is quite an understatement. I can get very unnerved and practically paralyzed by it. That got me thinking about those with schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. Any of those brain diseases that are so much worse than depression. I get depressed and many have that far worse than me but those other disorders must be such a nightmare for those affected and those that love them.

 

I can’t imagine losing time only to find out your mind switched to someone else. Doing things you literally have no memory of. How scary is that? Imagine being a parent and having your child diagnosed with this. Feeling helpless and not sure how effective the treatment will be or as they get older not having control over them being compliant with their medicine because the side-effects are so miserable. Imagine the stigma that surrounds this disease. If your child or you were diagnosed with cancer, people would be beating down your door offering help. When it involves mental disease, there isn’t so much as a casserole offered. Isn’t that sad?

 

Are you guilty of that? Have you shied away from a situation that’s uncomfortable because it involves a mental disease? Mental illness is a blameless disease. The person inflicted didn’t ask for it and their personal life choices didn’t bring it about yet we tend to ostracize them. If they had lung cancer from smoking, would you lack empathy? No, you’d support them through their chemo or surgery. Why do we avoid someone whose mind works against them? I know for some it’s hard to imagine but instead of judging or ignoring them, thank God you don’t have a frame of personal reference and educate yourself. Most importantly ask them or their family how you can help. I know it can be uncomfortable but that’s a problem within you. I bet if you learned more about it and listened, you’d feel much more comfortable. We never know when tragedy will strike. Showing love is never the wrong thing to do. Never.

 

I challenged myself this week by taking a path outside my comfort zone so challenge yourself too. Google a mental disease and learn something. Knowledge is power. Use it to build an understanding that can empower you to be a source of comfort to someone you love or even a stranger. How great would that be?

 

Much love,

 

Amanda

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Suicide Prevention Coalition of Logan and Champaign Counties

 

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