I would like to discuss mental illness. There are two men that I always see around my community that are visibly mentally disabled. One of these men are often confrontational and aggressive to people on the streets. Today I saw him, and I guess it was my turn? I could see that he had raw bruises on his face; cheeks and nose. I also noticed that he had a bandana wrapped around a bloody wrist. I looked at him three times (I guess too many times) and he jumped up off the bench he was sitting on and asked if I had a problem. I shook my head ‘no’ and started running away from where he was, without even looking if a bus was coming as I crossed the street. Another man was beside me and we looked at each other and quickened our steps at the same time. I started getting a bit anxious and so I ducked into a consignment store in case he decided to follow me. He didn’t but he was surely giving whoever was in the vicinity an earful. I restarted the podcast I was listening to and went on my merry way. While I feel happy for escaping what could have turned into a nightmare, I can’t help but feel sad. The bruises looked like they possible came from a fight. The other man that is always hanging around the train station is usually sitting on the ground, repetitively touching his shoulder with his chin. All why rocking back and forth. I guess I feel even more discontented because both men are people of colour (POC). Every time I see them I wonder where is their support? Does the city even have something in place for people living with this? And If there family knows where they are. I was in no way shape or form being belligerent to this young man; yet he could have attacked me. I have seen him with ‘gender socialized’ accessories such as false eyelashes, colorful head ties and even lipstick. It is fair to assume that he might be a homosexual man and I know homelessness is a very big issue in their community. I can’t help but shake the fact that these boys need help. It’s not like they are downright homeless and constantly begging, I’ve actually seen one of them beg once; but they are not well.
I spoke to a co-worker today about depression and she blatantly said she cannot fathom it. Wondering even if it is real and that her relative is undergoing treatment for it. She did admit that it was only then she began to take it serious. Sharing that he didn’t realize he hadn’t gone to the washroom all week until someone else told him. I shared with her moments in my family life when we were on the ground! Faced down in dog shit and just wallowing in a sea of dark, hazy moments. I let her know how real it is and that it isn’t recognizable until it is heavy and have consumed your life. I shared that we came out of our spiral with the help of friends. We also had to physically, mentally and spiritually push ourselves out of the grunge. Everyone in our life somehow h elped us to come from underneath the lowest of lows and pushed us to great heights. It was such a refreshing feeling being removed from a torrid life that now when a storm hit we laugh at it and tackle it head first. Knocking down all doors and stomping out all fires until we are back to where we need to be. We never ever want to go back to that place!
I spoke to a good friend this week about what it’s like having a mother with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) traits. How it can drain your life and make you completely on edge and constantly angry! Leading you to carrying around residual hardness for anyone! She, hanging around and toughing things out and me, completely disassociated; share the same frustration. It becomes too much to bare when you cannot get the other party to accept what you’re saying, even though you have witnessed episodes involving MULTIPLE people. They just continue to create toxic environments and relationships, one after the other, without assuming any blame. I shared that she will have to settle herself somewhere and either learn to deal with it and handle the triggers accordingly or continue to ‘rage against the machine’. There is no winning when it comes to mental illness. There is only compassion, care and once accepting their status; treatment. The face of mental illness can be as normal as ever, attack anyone momentarily and also be a visibly troubled individual. I wish we would speak about it more and remove the shame and stigma; especially from men. Till next time; mind your mental health!