I am sick – but you have been sick for 15 years! I hear you say. You are right, I have been mentally ill for 15 years but today I am sick. Normal sick, the acceptable kind. The one society cares about. So that means I get sympathy and understanding all day.
See when people tell other people they are mentally ill, it is usually greeted with a backward step. This is whilst also scrambling for emergency speed dial on their smartphone. When you tell people you have the flu, they get closer, they cook you meals, wash up for you, do your ironing and buy you two donuts*.
So why didn’t this reaction transfer over to mental health, at which point do the sympathies run out for mental health? And most importantly where are the donuts? I mean, maths was never my strong point but I seem to be down approximately 10,950 donuts*.
There are not many perks to being sick but that is definitely one, not to mention my first day off work in 4 weeks. But there are no perks to being sick mentally. When you’re sick mentally you not only have to deal with that pain, do your washing up, cook, eat, clean and work, but then you have to deal with the rejection from the people around you. They think you need space, or time, or to just ‘pull yourself together’. They never think donuts. I want donuts.
So nothing has happened today, just like yesterday. My mind is clear, it is avoiding me, it clearly doesn’t want to deal with me when I am sick, but I am used to that reaction.
*Which my marvellous girlfriend did today.
*15 years of mental health issues x 365 days a year illness x 2 donuts to cheer me up.