Tuesday, May 14, 2013

3 Ways I've Been Touched By Mental Illness Just This Weekend

Act #134:  Understand mental illness and how it impacts you and/or those around you.

1.  Friday:  The blog that changed my life
This intentionally crude web comic is one of the most brilliant and eye-opening descriptions of depression that I've ever come across:  http://www.hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/.  For years I've had two people very, very close to me who have struggled with bouts of minor depression and for years I thought that the only way to help was to offer hope and constant positive affirmations, blindly assuming that they were even capable of desiring hope and affirmation.  In 2011 author Allie Brosh chronicled her journey with depression, then stopped blogging for 6 months.  This past week she resurfaced with this blog entry.  Do yourself a favor, read it.  Even if you think this has nothing to do with you, you might be surprised.

2.  Saturday:  The "crazy" lady at Target
While shopping at Target this weekend, I accidentally walked into a shopping cart.  I apologized to the lady (even though her cart was blocking the entire aisle) and told her she was fine.  She then proceeded to declare loudly so that all patrons could hear.  I know I'm fine, you're the one walking into carts!  My immediate reaction was anger and I thought to myself, How rude! But upon further reflection, it occurred to me that something just wasn't quite right, so I instead nicely told the lady to have a nice day.  She put her hand up to my face, turned her face the other way and said, Too much conversation happening here, and walked away.  I just stood there in the aisle smiling sadly because 1.) I was a bit embarrassed that I was just publicly told off; and 2.) For some reason, all I could think, was that she was once someone's baby girl a long, long time ago.

3.  Sunday:  The client who is mad at me
While I can't really provide many details about this for obvious reasons, anyone working in social services/mental health can probably relate to a client whose mental health state challenges you to critically assess the manner in which you are able to provide them with the services they need.  Sadly, in the field of sexual violence advocacy/services, mentally disabled individuals are among the most vulnerable.  A 2012 World Health Organization study revealed that disabled adults are 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than those without a disability, while those with mental health conditions are at nearly four times the risk of experiencing violence. 

If you think that this is an issue that has nothing to do with you, think again.  Statistically speaking, if you are not personally inflicted with mental illness, chances are you have multiple friends, family, or loved ones who are.  May is mental health awareness month.  For more information on how you can become more aware or get involved, please visit:



  1. Wow, thanks for sharing that blog link. Incredible

    1. I know, right? It literally changed my life overnight.

  2. Some mighty fine words from you and from Allie Brosh.