But I might catch it…..

According to the news, we don’t trust people with schizophrenia.

I’m not surprised.

Campaigning doesn’t touch our fear of mental health. The social judgements have become ingrown; the assumptions; inherent.

If I hadn’t been so ill, I might have been the same.

I wouldn’t have wanted my children to catch a mental illness. I would have erred on the side of caution when mixing with unwell people. I would have understood that mental illness is best approached sensitively and that allowances should be made for mental health sufferers; after all, they’re a bit different -

They’re not like us.

Or are they?

After a number of admissions into a range of mental health units, I’m afraid I can confirm that people with mental health illnesses are just like us.

Some have husbands or wives and children at home; some don’t. Some are religious; some aren’t. Some are professionals; others, creative types; some work in retail; others are office based; some are teachers; others are still learning.

Men, women, young, old, black, white: mental illness is not a discerning customer.

It will take anyone.

I’m not up to date with the statistics; but it’s something like one in four.

Of us.

I’m not familiar with the trends; but I think mental illness is on the up.

Amongst us.

Maybe this is why we get so scared: it’s a little too close for comfort.

It’s the next notch along on the emotional health spectrum: today, I’m feeling a little blue; tomorrow, I might well be over the edge.

I’m not criticising people.

I might have been the same – had I not already learnt that mental illness is not something to be feared.

Had I not already learnt that mental illness is something to be worked with and, if possible, moved on from; something that teaches greater empathy and compassion; something that forces you to examine a few of your prejudices and assumptions –

- because it will take anyone.

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