More Fun With Mental Illness: Trigger Warning

Hello dear reader(s)!

You have no doubt heard by now about the guy who crashed the plane in Germany.  You have also no doubt heard the comments from people who still stigmatize mental illness saying that those of us suffering from mental illness should just kill ourselves.  If you haven’t, then I’m sorry to bring it up.  If you have, then I’m not sorry to bring it up.  If you wanted to, I am also not sorry to bring it up.  If you didn’t, then once again, I am sorry to bring it up.  I could go on.

Suffering from not 1, but 2 different mental illnesses makes this pretty easy for me to say:  I am less crazy than the people who do not believe that mental illness is a genuine illness and should be treated as such.

There is a very real difference between sick and evil.  Can being sick give someone evil thoughts?  Rarely, but certainly.  Can being healthy give someone evil thoughts?  Certainly.  Is it the responsibility to seek help if anyone, healthy or ill starts to have those evil thoughts (and thinks that it might be okay to act on them)?  Absolutely.  Is that help always available?

That is a big, fat, no.

Does that alleviate the responsibility of someone who commits a terrible act initiated by their illness?

No.

We have to attempt to be responsible for our actions.  But, is it easy to see why these things seem to be happening more and more frequently, as more and more people are denied access to proper care?  As therapy and monitoring are replaced exclusively with medications?  It should be.

If you vote for people who cut services for the mentally ill, you are bringing their, our, problems to your doorstep.  Why else are you tripping over more and more sick people on your way to work?  How is it that I, with my mental illnesses, have an easier time following this logic than you, the supposedly healthy?

Fortunately, the mental illnesses I have do not lead me to want to hurt anyone, including myself.  I am lucky.  The worst I get is flashbacks when I see an ambulance or fire engine, and panic attacks at anything that may or may not be stressful.  Occasionally, when driving, I over-see some idiotic move as a threat and will yell mean words, but I’m even getting better at that.

It is called treatment.  I have illnesses, and as such, I am looking for and getting treatment.  Just like I did when I had cancer.  Just like I am for the complications of it; two of which, are my mental illnesses.  Most illnesses are treatable, some aren’t.  It is really that simple.  Every time you vote for someone who cuts mental health funding, you vote to allow the people suffering from untreatable illnesses or difficult to treat illnesses onto your streets.

That said, if you don’t want me behind the controls of your airplane, I don’t blame you.  I don’t want anyone but the most alert, fittest, focused pilot in the world flying my plane.  I want that Scully guy who pulled off the skilled (not miraculous) water landing in the Hudson after the bird-strikes.  This opinion I have may be unpopular with some of my mentally ill friends, but I think sometimes there is no reasonable accommodation that can be made in certain jobs.  But if we are doing well in our treatment, and if our doctors think we aren’t a danger to ourselves or others, then we can do just fine working in the office next to you, serving your food, doing your books, discovering new particles, curing diseases, etc, etc…  We are not going to go postal, (no offense, wonderful USPS employees) any more than the deluded zealot, or just plain evil people will.

Some of the biggest contributions to society have been from the mentally ill.  You would not be where you are today without the help of someone suffering from a mental illness.  You would not have the luxury of posting your shitty comments without the mentally ill coders, inventors, professors, telecom workers, etc, etc…

There really is nothing else I have to say on this matter.  Disagree with me, but this is where I stand.  As such, comments are disabled.  This one is a post, not an opportunity for debate or discussion.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.