If all illness was treated as mental illness is; with prejudice, with lack of empathy, with frustration and fear, how very sad and lonely this world would be.
We’d have T.V shows that make freak show spectacles of sick people. Perhaps we’d have one for people with arthritis and call it “Shakers.” Or one for men with prostate cancer called “Urinators.” How about one for those with A.L.S called “My Strange Condition”? Just like in the real shows, “Hoarders” and “My Strange Addiction”, the audience would sit back and laugh, judge, be entertained by the suffering of others.
Similarily to when some call those with mental illness “psycho” and “crazy”, they’d call people with cancer “mutants” and those who have suffered strokes “deformed”.
They would have the same level of insensitivity for those entering palliative care as they do for those entering psychiatric care, and say they were sent to the “death house” and the “nut house”, respectively.
If someone were to splurge and eat too much sugar, they’d say “go inject yourself with insulin ” the same way they tell people who are upset to “take a pill”.
If all illness was treated as mental illness is, we’d have a hard time believing that anyone actually gets sick. We’d accuse them of seeking attention, of being weak, of making excuses.
We’d yell with frustration at someone with multiple sclerosis, “Just stop sitting in your wheelchair and walk!”
We’d roll our eyes if someone called in sick for the flu. We’d whisper to each other that they need to toughen up. Suck it up. And if this person with the “flu” was a man, our reaction would be even stronger. We would think he was downright pathetic.
If all illness was treated like mental illness is, we’d be baffled every day by deaths we just didn’t see coming. After living months, or years hiding symptoms, pretending they didn’t feel pain, loved ones would succumb to suffering we likely would not have been able to handle or understand anyway.
Not long after their passing, we’d start making comments about how selfish they had been. How could they do this to us? How could they just up and die like that?
If all illness was treated as mental illness is, how (even more) sad, lonely, cruel this world would be.
Thank you so much for reading.
Be Brave, and Talk