This is a sensitive topic for me, because of my mother’s Paranoid Schizophrenia, and other family member’s mental illnesses.
People, at least in American society, seem to be afraid of mental illness. What people forget however, is that mental illness is like any other kind of illness. It’s something that is not chosen, but still affects the person and their family, sometimes in huge ways.
I’ve been meeting a lot of people lately who are dealing either with being mentally ill themselves, or having to take care of people who have mental illnesses. They are not given the same care or consideration that one would give a person who is physically ill in more obvious ways.
I’ve always liked the thought that many Native American tribes considered mentally ill people as having a closer connection to God (of whatever form that took). To turn it into a ‘scary’ illness to a ‘holy’ blessing, has always seemed like such a wonderful thing to me.
I may talk about my mother’s illness, but since she has passed now, it’s easier. I know that nothing I say can ever hurt her again. And for friends that have had mental illness, when it comes to checking that box on the employment applications “Do you have a disability?,” I would still never suggest checking it for a mental illness, because I believe people will discriminate and not hire you because of it. *Note: This is only my opinion!
Discrimination of the mentally ill has to be similar to discrimination of former convicts. People naturally want to put you in a ‘safe’ place, as far down and as low paying as they can.
Would I hire you if you checked ‘yes’ on the application? Yes, I absolutely would, if you had the same or better qualifications than other applicants, and if it seemed as if you were a good personality fit with the others in the office, and if I knew you were doing your best to take care of yourself.
But I think I’m almost an advocate for people with mental illnesses. I do not think that the general population would look at this logically or reasonably. No matter that our laws say that one cannot discriminate because of illness, people still do, and often I’m sure. And there is very little luck in proving it.
Anyway, this is one of the main reasons I started writing this blog. To give compassion for those suffering. I am not a ‘mind doctor’ of any kind, and my opinion is worth no more than anyone else’s. But I care. I care very much. And I know that life is a struggle for everyone–and if you have a disability of some kind, including a mental ‘disability,’ that you still deserve the same value and treatment, compassion, respect and dignity that is applied to those without disabilities.
All best, and take care,