I sometimes think, now that I’m becoming aware just how many people out there feel like I do, feel all the same feelings…that we’re more like a subgroup of society. We start out, probably many of us, outcasts as children. Either outcast by our families, or outcast by our peers, or both. We grow up lacking confidence other kids take for granted. We are always trying. But there’s always some reason we don’t fit in. We’re not good looking enough, so people of the opposite gender look at us and think “I can do better,” like having outward beauty or our programmed notions of what beauty is–makes some people “better” than others?
Regardless, we grow up, those of us who didn’t quite fit in, or came from homes that didn’t really want us, and as adults we still try. But the long nights of crying ourselves to sleep, losing sleep, or just huddling in fear of some real or imagined terror…now there’s something stuck in our heads. Something wrong. We are either mentally ill, or our brains are wired wrong or we have a chemical imbalance or a combination of the above. Because we grew up trying harder than other kids, the popular “better” kids. And now what are we? We’re that sub-group of society that end up alone. Our friends aren’t there, despite how we try to be there for them. Our families…sometimes it’s not good being around the people that caused the harm in the first place or trigger memories of the harm that was done.
So we’re alone. And here we still are, trying. Trying to fit in to that other part of society we too have been programmed to believe is normal. Thinking if we do this or this or THIS we might be accepted and loved and wanted like other people.
And when we can’t fight our illness hard enough, we are forced to endure more loneliness. When we do have our little triumphs, there’s nobody around anymore to see.
I hate depression. I hate this illness nobody understands or wants to make any effort to understand. I have been locked in closets all my life and I still am. All because of this belief we carry around, that we grew up with, that to be like one of the crowd is better, our ultimate goal that’s always just out of reach…to fit in…that’s what gives us worth–that’s the key to being wanted, being successful, being SOMETHING. And until we have it, until we get over this illness we’re being punished for having, we must be shunned. We must be outsiders. We must be looked right through like we’re not even there.
This is what I say to that. Bullshit. What kind of society does this? Banishes its ill from the mainstream? They did that to lepers once; you would think in 2000 years our society would be a little more aware, a little more educated, a little more understanding. But no. We have not evolved very much at all, have we?
So how do we break from this box they’ve put us in? We say bullshit. We are not less than anyone. People look at us and say they can do better? Excuse me–we might be ill but we’re still whole people, and worth it. If you know us you’ll get to know the beauty we still carry around inside. All of us, like any other people. Like you we are unique, full of dreams and hopes and love and caring. Shame on anyone who dares to look down their nose and outcast us for having too many bad days when here we’ve put up with other people having many bad days too. Why is the playing field so one-sided?
Who decides worth of a person? How is it measured? Is it measured by looks? Popularity? Is it measured by how much money someone has or what kind of car they drive or what neighborhood they live in? Or is it measured by the kindness and caring a person has in their heart?
I see a lot of value in us. This little sub-group that finds ourselves struggling with our depression or anxiety all alone…punished for being ill, rejected by friends for being ill, despite how tired we are from always trying, despite how lost and despairing and scared and hurt we sometimes feel.
You know who I think has worth in our society? You know who I think are really great people–the kind of people I wish I could be? People who can still give of themselves when they themselves have nothing, and care and encourage, when they themselves feel their world is crashing down.
I am most thankful for the kind of people who can still care for others, even despite the hurts they feel themselves. If we have to be separated and made some kind of subgroup, I’d rather be counted as someone like this.