Life is not easy. Especially when you are in a family of invisible illnesses and disabilities. It can be serious, funny and downright hard! But we make it. Just like everyone else. We just do it in a different style.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We Are One People

A friend of mine today was worried and sad. She had to go through a physical exam and a mental illness exam. She was so afraid that she would be labeled "mentally ill." Once she wrote this, I began to realize that she was reacting to a quiet discrimination leveled at people who suffer with mental challenges.

How many people hide their co-morbid emotional and mental challenges as they deal with more visible physical challenges? How many people don't seek out care and support because they need a physician of the mind?

Part of the disability movement that I am so excited about is the attack against accepting the labels, the pity, and prejudice leveled at persons with disabilities. Here was a person dealing with fatigue, skeletal issues, governmental programs for the poor and she was afraid to be labeled "mentally ill."

It is my hope that the community of persons with disability will continue to break down barriers, especially the ones that exist within our own ranks.

Below is a portion of my reply to my friend. Her user-name has been changed to protect her privacy.


I just want to say a word or two about mental illness. Please bear with me.

Many people are discriminated against in our "health care" system because they need physicians of the mind. It is okay to miss a whole limb, but don't be anxious or depressed. There is a stigma attached to mental needs that I am making part of my mission to attack. My husband has depression, general anxiety and dissociative identity disorder. He suffers with mood swings (for which he takes medicine) and with his epilepsy, may deal with mild short-term memory loss. He lives in mortal fear that someone will discover all this and fire him or not want to be friends with the family. His own family verbally abuses him by calling him names (coo-coo, nuts, idiot, etc.) He lived a miserable life until I came along. We are not perfect, but I love him and have tried to help him in every way I can.

There is no shame in needing mental health support while you try to build up your physical health. I credit the short-term support I received in giving me the mind-set I have now. Don't allow anyone to judge who Blakely is by what mentally or physically challenges you.

You are a wonderful soul, and need support. Period.


This goes for everyone. We are all wonderful souls. We need support, whether we have a physical, mental or invisible disability. We are one people and cap(able).