Mental illnesses and their many symptoms are like an STD. Think about it. We may hear some statistics periodically. Or we see it on the news as a political talking point. But we rarely see an honest view on the topic; much less in depth conversations. We are ashamed of it. We all know someone that struggles. Someone that’s just a little quirky. The crazy uncle. The odd cousin that sends you those blueprints so you can help him build his bunker. That neighbor that washes her car in the rain (maybe it’s just mine). Point is, it’s all around us. There are so many people- over 320 million in the U.S. alone and diversity and variety being what they are, that’s a lot of folks that are ill. In fact, around 20 percent of all adults and children- approximately 50 million. More than diabetics. The difference is that diabetics don’t get stigmatized, they get bitching shoes.
All kidding aside, this is my first ramble on this blog, and coincidentally, it aligns with the beginning of the month of May. It felt disingenuous to write about something other than real facts regarding mental health. So next time your crazy uncle grinds on your wife while singing “Get Low”, or your cousin shows up to the family reunion wearing a tin foil hat to block the thought-reading waves, remember they can’t help it. Show them some kindness (well, maybe cut in on your uncle). Just like you’re sweet towards your diabetic grandma with the awesome shoes. And if your neighbor wants to wash her car in the rain, who cares? It’s the fact that she could catch a cold that should worry you! Be nice, and get her a raincoat.
By the way (I’m way too old for BTDUBS), the percentage of those mentally ill that have received treatment in the last year? Between 45 and 65, depending of the severity of their illness. We don’t talk about that do we? We’re too busy screaming at each other over politics and watching Honey Boo-Boo or whatever the hell else to concern ourselves with 25 million people we don’t know.
Remember, while there is a ton of diversity in people, we are very much the same. I leave you with the words of the great and wise Michael Scott:
“We’re all homos. Homo…Sapiens.”