The posts you will see on the page and sub-pages here will address Mental Illness.
It is not intended to be a support group or an advocacy site, but a safe place to swap war stories and to hear about others’ experiences, possibly to learn from them, hopefully to grow from them.
If it turns out to be able to offer some people support when they need it, a non-judgmental voice when they need one or some hope for their future, it would be a welcome outcome of it all and it would be a communal effort.
I’m not a mental health professional. I don’t have the education, the experience nor the insight (much less the license) to even pretend to be one.
The closest I ever came to it was in a group therapy session a few years ago when a young lady named Veronica had opened her soul about a crisis surrounding her. After she was done speaking, there was a silence that seemed to go on forever if not longer.
She looked to me with the eyes of a lost child and said “Harris …? Say something.”
I couldn’t be the one to supply her with the answer she was looking for.
That’s something we all have to do for ourselves.
All I can write about is my experiences, my particular wars and the specific battles I faced.
It would be the collection of comments made by those who understand that will raise this beyond the level of some page hidden in the middle of an otherwise rambling and ranting series of diatribes from an aging flower child who has spent this many years getting this damned loopy and isn’t giving it up without a fight.
Today is April 20, 2014.
I have spent the better portion of sixty-two years, seven months, two weeks and four days with mental illness.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. BiPolar Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder. Paranoia. Schizophrenia.
Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Anorexia. Bulimia. ADD. ADHD. Dyslexia.
Take your pick. There are so many more to choose from.
They are not quirks or character flaws.
You do not just “get over them”.
They are illnesses, many based in the same genetics that determine the height that you reach or your color of eyes,
the shape of your nose or the size of your thighs.
Some are biological and physiological in nature, just like allergies, lactose intolerance or zits.
Some are the result of environment or of experiences not of our own choosing.
These labels neither define nor describe us.
These diagnoses are not meant to explain us.
They are merely reference points.
Some things to consider only for those who care to understand us.
If one cares not to understand, or even to make the effort to do so with an open mind,
then the problems are no longer ours but theirs.
Those labels, these illnesses are not part of a grading system.
They do not mean we are weaker, less stable or worthy,
and the lack of them certainly doesn’t qualify someone as any better.
To and for those who don’t understand, who choose not to admit it and insist on belittling those of us honest and courageous enough to acknowledge these illnesses without the stigma you believe should enslave us…
… realize and recognize that any one of you could easily be a single strand of DNA or fifteen seconds of life changing trauma away from Scott Peterson or Casey Anthony.
From Osama bin Laden or Hitler.
From Charlie Manson or Ted Bundy or James Holmes.
Or Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Or that guy you see hanging out in front of the liquor store by the homeless shelter, dressed in rags with towels wrapped around him for warmth, carrying on an incoherent conversation with someone only he can see.
Grin or giggle or smirk at those remarks – but it’s not meant as a joke.
It’s a fact.
Our illnesses, our acknowledgment of them and our daily struggle to manage them can make us stronger than you can ever hope to imagine.
They can lead us to an appreciation of life you others will never understand and an acceptance of and tolerance towards those whose behavior we can’t.