A friend of mine who has been in my life for over 25 years asked me yesterday (on my birthday) if I hope to be still living when there is a cure for mental illness. At first I was caught off guard as it was unusual for him to say such a thing but instead of letting the disappointment take over me…I simply said no. I knew that no matter how much I wanted him to understand that he would not as obviously he already considers that I am not who I once was, which is partially true. In order to “cure” me of my mental illness it would require changing who I am.  Yes, I despise my illness but I do not wish I were someone that I am not. Instead of hoping for a “cure” for mental illness. How about dream and hope for a cure that doesn’t require changing who someone is? The only cure I hope for regarding mental illness is a cure for the stigma against us.

Next week will be one year since I endured yet another biopsy and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer for the second time. With the amount of chemotherapy, radiation and radioactive iodine I have had pumped into my veins, swallowed, and zapped into my body …I am sure it will not be the last.  Each treatment comes with great risks of a different cancer than prescribed to treat.

Years from now, whether it’s 20, 30, 40, or 50, there will be a cure for cancer (it is my belief that it is already here). When that time comes remember all those who did not make it out alive. Remember the ones who did. Remember the children, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, boyfriends, brothers, sisters, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins and sometimes complete strangers who spent so much of their time worried about us. For it was those people, our loved ones, who watched us struggle through the weakness, the weight loss, vomit, nausea, calcified salivary glands, skin burns, diarrhea, hair loss, loss of smell, loss of taste, pain in our limbs, muscle cramps, loss of sleep – especially on all nights we had to change our bed linens from all the night sweats, and all of the days when it is hard for us to even see because our eyes constantly water from the dry eyes side effect of the treatment we chose for a chance to live. Also don’t forget the times we triumphed.

All the wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends who took a great risk to love us and give us their time …remember them for they are truly courageous. Remember those who extended an invitation to sit through treatment with us or to drive us to our appointments. Remember them as they knew (even if we didn’t at times) that the strength of our minds was not overpowered by our physical weakness. Remember how their love didn’t let us give up. When we asked if there was a reason to live…you showed us that yes there was a reason to survive until there was no hope left for a life full of quality. You helped us be at peace with that decision when the time came.

So I ask of you… 20, 30, 40, or 50 years from now when there is a cure for cancer, celebrate for me and all of those afflicted by this terrible disease. A cure for the term “cancer” is interchangeable with many other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but for me mental illness is not one of them. If ever there is a “cure” for mental illness, I hope that I will no longer be here for the world will definitely lose it’s color …if you know what I mean.

10 thoughts on “Remember

  1. I only think a person with a mental illness could understand what you wrote. The world WILL lose all of it’s color when a cure if found. But I think we are years away, as there are so many mental illnesses that need to be “cured”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right, Iggy. I originally posted this two weeks ago and I got some very negative comments so I trashed it. Today while helping a friend start her blog, I thought to myself…fuck it, it’s my blog and I am going to say it.

      I too believe we are years…decades away from any sort of cure for our mental illnesses. By that time, we will all be fried from the global warming. I plan on catching up with your blog over the next few days. It’s been awhile, but I do hope that you’ve been well. The last time I read you were starting therapy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry you got negative comments. I found nothing negative about the post, but that is just me I guess. I have been doing ok, therapy is going great though!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Mr. Architect… I love Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night.. like many others do. And had Van Gogh not been looking out the window of the metal institution during a manic episode, it would have never been created.. anyone with a mental illness will tell you it’s really hard sometimes.. but beauty also comes from it in many different forms. And by curing it all, I agree, we would lose out on so much. Besides, I don’t consider my bipolar or bpd as a flaw in myself. It is just a part of me. I take meds to make my life easier and more stable but my personality and who I am is still greatly influenced by them both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kitt,

      I am interested in what a cure for mental illness would mean to you? Would you be afraid of the “you” cured?

      My own personal opinion, and it’s nothing more than an opinion, is that mental illness can be combated with genuine love. Before I was diagnosed while living the big city life and being overworked (overstimulated)…I would often talk with the homeless population over lunch that gathered around the building of my office. I listened to their stories …and the common denominator missing was – someone they loved/trusted lost hope in them and either left or betrayed them (in their mind anyway). I didn’t know how true the observation would be until I was faced with this battle myself. Now don’t get me wrong …of course I would like to not have a mental illness, but I do believe at this point of my life that I am discovering so much about myself than I ever would have before. Honestly, I’m afraid of what a “cure” would mean for us…strong meds that cause even more side effects? Right now I can’t even draft, which is needed for my profession because of the tremors. I do however, wish for a cure for the stigma. Maybe then more people could be more empathetic, more patient, more kind, and less judgemental. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks for the follow.

      Liked by 1 person

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