You Can Get Better

I reblogged a story about a man who is looking for the man who kept him from jumping off a London bridge six years ago.

After reblogging, I had an errand to run. It just so happened, the radio station I was tuned to in the car, was interviewing this same young man. Later, I had the television on for “white noise”. I seriously avoid any form of news because it either irritates me, or makes me sad. But, there he was–being interviewed on another program. Hearing, and reading about the young man’s search, three times in a matter of hours, stuck with me. Was I hearing this story for a reason?

He said that the man who stopped to talk him out of committing suicide, told him that he could get better. What shocked me, it was the first time this young man had heard those words.

You can get better.

He has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, and now campaigns for mental health awareness. Schizoaffective disorder is a form of schizophrenia with depression. You can read more of his story at rethink.org. Actually, for anybody truly interested, there is a link to Jonny Benjamin’s You Tube channel. It’s interesting to me, because he discusses what it’s like for some. For others, we may not hear voices, but the illness is just the same and is just as stigmatized.

Guess what? This young man is coherent–just like everyone else. He is alive, and is no longer lost to the world of mental illness. Because he heard the words…you can get better, he found some hope, and opened himself up to healing. He now lives a life managing his mental illness and leading a productive life.

I feel compelled to write the same words.

You can get better.

Many years/months ago, I was barely hanging on. I seriously didn’t want to live the way I was living. I hid from society and didn’t discuss my struggles, except to my family. I was ashamed to have to recognize that I had some skewed thoughts. I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem people think is contagious–or that I would go on a rampage. I sought help beyond the medication prescribed by my regular doctor.

Then I got better.

We can’t avoid seeking help because we can’t afford the care–it needs to be more affordable. We can’t avoid seeking help because we want to avoid the stigma of mental illness.

Am I cured? No, but I am managing my illness, just as the young man in the story, in a productive manner. I would guess there are people I interact with, who have no clue that I have a mental illness.

You can get better.

***I walked away from this post, and recognized that my sentence about people I interact with having no clue—it isn’t because I hide it anymore. I’m willing to discuss mental illness with anyone who would be interested. However, it’s not like I go up to people and say, “Hi, I’m April, and I struggle with a mental illness”. ***

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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16 Responses to You Can Get Better

  1. Thanks for sharing this story. And you are right, we can get better, but sometimes we need a kick to understand it.
    Then we also need to believe, that we can get better, before it is possible to take action.
    Irene

    • April says:

      You know, it took me a while to believe. It wasn’t until after a year+ of therapy, and the right cocktail of medications before I started to believe. I was lucky that I had support, and even though he didn’t know it, my husband is the person who made me recognize that I could no longer struggle on my own. So, yeah–he was my kick in the pants. It took quite a while to understand that I could get better.

      • Sometimes we are suffering longer than necessary, but I think we need the time to find out, what to do. And a kick from a kind person helps a lot.

        • April says:

          Oh my, I suffered for 30+ years, I suspect I even had depression throughout childhood. I know I have attention deficit disorder–not with the hyperactivity, but impulsive behavior. Anyway, medications kept me functioning, but not “living”. Now I have some sort of happiness and am working on more. I can honestly say that I find beauty, and soak it in–really SEE it.

          • I can truly follow you there. I try to see beauty in all every day, but some days it is more easy than others.
            I’m through my depression, which also went some years, but do know, that it is just hiding, so I try to stay possitive as much as possible.
            Irene

  2. mewhoami says:

    Such a simple statement, but such a powerful meaning. It goes to show that our words can have a much greater impact than we realize.

  3. suzjones says:

    Currently in Australia, there are a series of ads running. It is a face on a screen and words come up. The first time I saw it, I thought ‘yep’ I know what you are saying.
    You can see them on this link http://www.beyondblue.org.au/
    I think they are pretty powerful and wish there were more ads like this out there to help people understand what it is like to have anxiety and depression.
    One foot in front of the other my friend.

    • April says:

      I think there is more information than there used to be. I think I have seen more advertisements for awareness and where to seek help, especially targeting the young. One man, six years ago, said something that saved the life of another. As friends, family, and spouses, approaching the subject that something seems off, and that there is help available is a scary thought, because we are wary of the response we will be met with. In my opinion, I would rather have an uncomfortable conversation, than to lose someone because they thought there was no other option—and I suffer from depression.

      • suzjones says:

        Most definitely. It’s good that the information is out there. And really we should be looking for the cues and have the difficult conversations.

        • April says:

          Yes. I have been faced with quite a few lately. It’s a fine line to walk, without creating a “rebellion” against me. I don’t feel it’s my role in the world to help people seek help if they need it, but it’s my role to help my family. So far, so good. They are getting help, and nobody is mad at me. đŸ™‚

    • Gallivanta says:

      Just seen that link; that’s powerful and scary, too.

  4. The like button was grayed out, so I could not click on it. With the negative messages and thoughts, it is hard to hear a positive message. One to one it had a chance to resonate for the young man. What you write about the affordability is so true; I began to write a scathing post and then stopped about the epidemic of unavailable mental health care due to fewer doctors, those who are only accepting cash and not insurance, and the expensive cost of remaining on medication. The statistics are there, but so many turn away like it is someone else’s problem…….until it touches their family and they discover how hard it is to get the right help.

    • April says:

      Then the untreated become sensational “news” stories. I used to go through my GP doctor for meds, but it was suggested that I seek out a psychiatrist because they were trained in that specialty, where GP’s are not. Okay, that made sense, so I went on the hunt for doctors who were suggested to me. One wasn’t accepting new patients. One was only accepting self-pay (no insurance) and the charge was $275 for the hour–if the doctor even spent that amount of time with me. I gave up, but my therapist urged me to keep trying. I finally found a doctor, who was even a preferred provider covered by our insurance. He’s an odd one, but his patience and listening has finally made an impact for me.

      As far as helping the uninsured, or the affordability—what a nightmare. We are helping a young friend who suffers from childhood trauma, and extreme anxiety. What a nightmare finding help for her that is affordable without any income or health insurance. She can’t work, so we are picking up the tab for her healthcare, and she lives with us. Our reward will be her well being. We don’t have a tree full of money so it has been necessary to search for facilities and doctors who offer a sliding scale for care.

      So, even saying ‘you can get better’ is also a struggle to help someone understand there is help. It’s there, just extremely hard to find. When someone is so depressed, or hears voices, or whatever sort of mental illness, it seems to be easier to give up because they don’t know where to turn. To me, that’s a travesty.

      I want to encourage others to know that depression/mental illness can be managed. I am an example of this. The only thing I don’t know how to do, is make it more affordable, except through working with, and supporting awareness movements.

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