July is over and it has been a really busy month for me.
It was Mental Health Awareness month and it has been filled with talks, meetings and events.
What I really hope comes out of all of this is that people become more tolerant.
Sometimes this world seems like it has gone crazy because there is so much intolerance. And it is bad enough that intolerance is based on religion, race or gender. But then added to all of that nonsense, there is intolerance based on a person’s illness and disability. That intolerance is what really frustrates me.
Just last week, another one of my patients lost their job because their employer was not prepared to help them by finding employment that is better suited to them (and by the way, in South Africa, it is law that employers need to find suitable employment within their company if a person is no longer functionally able to do their previous job).
And when I say patient, I’m not even meant to use that word. We went from working with patients, to clients to mental health users!
But it doesn’t matter what word we use if those people leave our support and go into an environment where they get little or no support from others.
I can certainly try to change things, and I always make it my mission to fight for the rights of my patients and to educate others in understanding mental health.
But the best people to do this are the ones who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
And there’s a good chance that it is you, or somebody else that you know and love.
There is nothing better than being the person who is diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder, depression or anxiety saying out confidently that they are ok with their diagnosis and are not only capable of coping in the world but are able to do even more than that.
Because you are strong, resilient survivors!
This morning I met a woman who had been diagnosed with a mental illness and who really battled to get the support that she needed. So as soon as she was stable enough, she set up a facility that would provide others with the care that she so badly felt she needed.
That is a brilliant success story.
And it doesn’t have to be limited to just her. Or to just the brave ones out there.
Everyone of you has such potential no matter what is “wrong” with you.
When you break through all of the barriers and negative expectations that others have of you, you are truly going to be brilliant.
I look forward to hearing your success stories!