I know I rabbit on and on…and on about mental health but it’s an area of health care that’s a bug bear for me.
I’ve tried explaining my concerns in the past, but, today I received two emails, from two different women, on two different sides of the Atlantic, and I think the contrast between these emails explains the pitfalls better than anything I can type up.
”On my darkest days I struggle. Sometimes it’s just in my head and no one knows. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed. I suffer with anxiety and paranoia. I can tell you this in an email but I’d never tell you in person. I take medication and it does help as does meditation. I miss my husband. He left five years ago when my drinking was out of control. I don’t drink any more. I lost my job recently and it’s been a big set back for me. I struggle with simple things like just picking up groceries. Sometimes I just don’t eat because then I don’t have to leave my apartment. I try to read but I find it hard to concentrate. I blame the medication but I know the problem is more me. I read No Kiss Goodbye in a day. That’s a record for me. I also read some of the reviews. Someone said ‘what a strange topic to write about’ then I read that person’s other reviews, books about kidnapping, human trafficking, domestic violence. So those topics are OK but us weirdos with mental health issues are too strange to write about. Well thank you very much! Janelle, keep writing. Even us strange and weird people need something to read.”
The second email…
”I’m so disappointed and enraged that you dared to write a book about a subject that you obviously don’t understand and are too ignorant to research. I work/study this area and a lot of times it’s simple attention seeking or lack of education, especially PTSD. It is often moaners looking for compensation. Crazy people with real issues can’t walk around in society. There’s all sorts in place to make sure insane people can’t hurt normal people just getting on with their lives. You have done no research, it’s obvious. So annoyed.”
The first email hurts my heart. The second email hurts my heart. But, for very different reasons.
Reading these words I realised three things.
Firstly, I will keep hoping that people like the lady in the first email find strength to get through another day, and another and hopefully with the support of understanding professionals, friends and family maybe one day things will seem a little brighter.
Secondly, I will keep writing. As long as readers read, I’ll type.
And finally, I will hope that ignoramuses like the lady in the second email finally get their head out of their ass and understand that mental illness isn’t a lifestyle choice.