This morning I thought about a recent conversation I had with a stranger and I found myself very hurt and upset at the lack of compassion people have for people with a mental health diagnosis or recovering from drug/ alcohol addiction.
This is not the first time this has happened to me.
A lady was telling me about a friend of hers that almost overdosed and she did not care if they lived or died because it was their choice.
Yes, it is a choice to take drugs but when you are addicted to pills or whatever the drug is, it pulls you, your body craves it, you cannot escape it’s calling once you try it and you love the high.
People get into drugs for various reasons. Some may have tried it because a friend encouraged them to and they loved that first high. Now they spend years chasing that first high only never to find it and never realizing you never get it again. You are hooked and so you keep chasing it.
Other people who abuse prescription medication may have started out taking them for a legitimate reason but became addicted to them. Many times they do not even realize there is a problem, they just know they have to have them and sometimes make excuses to keep taking them.
Sometimes people try drugs to escape a painful existence or a painful situation they feel they cannot get out of.
When a person has a painful past they cannot escape and they relive it over and over, it becomes almost unbearable and so they turn to something to dull the pain and to temporarily forget the memories that haunt them.
Most people do not realize alcohol is a drug. It is a natural depressant.
You start out drinking for social reasons. They maybe you find other reasons to drink when you are alone. Before you know it and without realizing it, you are drinking most of the time for any or no reason. Some people like the feeling when they are intoxicated. They drop all inhibitions and feel a freedom to do things they otherwise would not have the courage to do. They see alcohol as a confidence booster.
Sometimes a person feels down and thinks a drink will help or there are anxious about something and think a drink will help calm their nerves.
Again, there are many reasons why people turn to alcohol/ drugs. Once addicted it becomes a sickness. It is not something you can just stop without help no more than you can just snap out of depression.
Why is there little to no compassion for people with mental illness? Is it because of how the media and Hollywood portray people with a mental illness? Is it because of ignorance they people without a mental illness misjudge those with one? Are people just so heartless and uncaring and scared that they just don’t care? Why do people not realize having a mental illness is not a choice. It is not contagious and everyone is not dangerous. The majority of the time a person with a mental illness is dangerous is because they are not taking medication for various reasons.
When will people understand mental illness is a disease just like cancer or any other illness. It cannot be cured but it can be treated. It is a disease of the brain. There is a malfunction in a part of the brain.
Regardless of why someone has a mental illness or a drug addiction/ alcohol problem, should they be treated any less than someone who does not?
Should society turn their noses up at them and cast them away?
Perish the thought it should hit their home and then what happens to their preconceived ideas?
Would you treat a person with diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer or any other disease any differently? No, chances are good that you would not, so why treat people with these illnesses any different?
Why can’t you reach out and help them with the same compassion?
I just don’t understand and it just makes me ill and the treatment and cavalier attitude toward those of us with this/ these illnesses.
I am always happy to engage in conversation someone who understands and has compassion and empathy and reach out to help those in need. We all need a hand at sometime in our life with something we have to face.
Be good to you and to all others.
pb: Persistently and passionately pursuing opportunities to educate others about what it is like to live with a mental illness and be in recovery with drug/ alcohol addiction.