Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Reader’s comment: Try caring for someone mentally ill before you open your big mouths

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In response to Ann Farmer: Are these celebs really helping the mentally ill, or just virtue signalling?

39 Pontiac Dream wrote:

It’s hard to know what to write about this without appearing cynical. These celebs would probably tell the grunts like me that promoting mental illness is a good thing and we should get behind it. Actually, they wouldn’t say anything because we don’t matter to them. Those of us who are looking after other people’s relatives and those of us, like myself, who are taking care of a loved one.

I’d be interested to know how many of them have gone through the life trials that my loved one has been through. From childhood through teens to adulthood, a constant weight on your life, circumstances which always seems to be against you, self harm, suicide attempts and a feeling that you’re not real, that you’re living the life of a ghost. Much of the money that goes into mental health services never goes to the right places and so many people, with very different forms of mental illness, are treated as if they all have the exact same illness. When treatment stops, invariably because it doesn’t work, the patient is left to get on with things on their own and without the support of family or friends (though in some cases, like ours, you are abandoned by your friends because their mentally ill friend is like a leper to them), the illness gets to the point where suicide is the only way.

You can never let your guard down either. Sometimes, it looks like the person you are caring for is getting better and you might relax a little. That’s usually when the blades come out or the pills and you’re right back to where you started. If you’re lucky. Some of us will find themselves at the hospital, looking at the shell that was once living. I’m glad I haven’t been one of them but, my, I’ve been very close to it and have spent more time at hospital than I’d have liked.

I think it’s incumbent on politicians to listen to people like me, to know what living with someone with a serious mental illness is like. I don’t think they will though. They’ve had long enough, and all people like me have had is empty words and promises. I don’t think these celebrities really know what it’s about either. They should educate themselves as to how serious it can be before they try to teach carers how to suck eggs.

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