“And the sign said, “The words of the prophets, Are written on the subway walls, And tenement halls”, And whispered in the sounds of silence” Paul Simon
The world is in constant flux. Things change. There may be nothing new under the sun, but society changes from soft to hard and everywhere in between.
Prejudice, fear and even outright hatred. They hold no place in our society and should be eliminated. The question is how. We must understand that things don’t change overnight, that societal changes occur over many generations. But in my lifetime I have seen things transform. Probably most striking is the is the acceptance of the LGBT community.
When I was a child people who had physical intimate attractions to the same sex were reluctant to openly express their orientation. It was called staying in the closet, that is they kept their identity secret. There was a good reason for such actions. People who were openly ‘gay’ were often the targets of violence, only because of their sexuality. When I was a child to call somebody ‘gay’ was an insult.
I am reminded of the recent ‘Pride’ events throughout the world. Not only have the LGBT community come out of the closet but they have walked onto the center stage. I know that some people have moral misgivings about such a lifestyle, that it is perverse and sinful. Still, I hope that all would agree it is better than these people aren’t the subject of violence and ridicule.
I recall being in the psychiatric hospital one time. We had group therapy daily. Group therapy is basically a group where the mental patients express their problems and talk them over. There is a moderator who guides the group. The moderator, however, is privy to all the inside and personal information of the patients. When you’re in a psychiatric hospital the doctors share your intimate information with the staff. One day during group the moderator said a patient had an announcement to make. The grand confession was that he was a homosexual.
I felt bad for the person. That his openness about his sexual desire had to be suppressed to the point that he needed to go into a psychiatric hospital. Of course, the pendulum swung the other way. I recall a woman who felt hassled on her job by a fellow worker who was a lesbian. The lesbian kept on trying to seduce this woman. The moderator told her “You have to follow love wherever you find it.”
So what about the community of the mentally ill? Will one grand day in the future will we be parading down Broadway in Manhattan with flags and banners taking pride in our chemical imbalances? I think the analogy breaks down. I feel, what is needed is very strong laws to protect people with mental illness and education.
I had an incident at work which happened when I got confused about the dose of my medicine. I was supervising boring drillings. I was new at this aspect of the job but I had been with the engineering company for seven years. For some reason, my boss and the owner of the company lied to me and told me that the driller was cheating me. When in a fury I confronted the driller he told me that my boss lied to me. He suggested I look at the records of previous drillers. When I did I saw that the driller was right, my boss lied to me. When I confronted the owner he just shrugged it off. The next day I got very angry and returned to the office. With elevated words full of curse words I told the pair what they could do with his job.
As a result, the boss terminated my job. I went to a psychiatric hospital first. Upon release, it was clear they didn’t want me back. I could have pressed the matter legally but I refrained. I didn’t want to go back to work with them anyway.
People who suffer from mental illness live in an isolated world. We suffer from the ignorance of others who don’t understand the basics of our ailment. Education is another thing that would greatly help the mentally ill community. It is with that in mind that I wrote my book “More Than The Madness.” My memoirs depict my struggles with mental illness and shows me as a complete person. It would make an excellent gift to give somebody who is ignorant about what mental illness is. https://amzn.to/2m6vVAQ
Photos by Roger Blackwell,