Wednesday, August 18, 2010
That evening there was a very strange sunset as a storm moved in. I felt like a parakeet in a cage that gets an aura before an earthquake. There was a weird orange apocalyptic sunset that was weirding me out and I couldn't think straight. I was mean to my kids kind of like George Baily in It's A Wonderful Life, but I was over it the next day. It gave me a scare and made me appreciate how normal I usually feel and made me grateful that I don't have a mental illness (at least officially diagnosed) that causes me to feel that way regularly.
I don't have any immediate family members with mental illness, so I am not very familiar with the many different illnesses that people may suffer from. My grandfather had schizophrenia and was always paranoid that people were messing with his light switches or were plotting against him. It can be hard to have a normal relationship when someone is paranoid and doesn't trust you.
Years ago anyone that struggled in this area was simply labeled as crazy and either locked up or shunned. As a society, we still have a ways to go when it comes to treating and interacting with those who suffer from mental illness. I'm sure many of the homeless people we see are suffering in this way. I don't mean some of the scam artists you see holding cardboard signs, but the people pushing grocery carts full of garbage around town year round.
I know this is a sensitive subject and sometimes hard to approach. If someone has a broken leg, their problem is obvious and you expect them to go to the doctor, but if someone has a mental illness, there is often a stigma attached for using medication, or going to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Watch A Beautiful Mind or The Soloist sometime and they will make you grateful and more aware of this topic. It is also interesting to learn how many great people and achievers in history suffered from mental illness. Sorry, no clever post today, but I thought I'd just express some gratitude and create a little awareness.