As a society, we need to accept this reality and begin putting the money toward mandatory training programs strictly taught by qualified mental health professionals. With mandatory programs, we could potentially see a decrease in deaths and an increase in communication between people. Communication is crucial and with it, we can begin breaking down the barrier of stigma associated with mental illness.
Allies have a habit of showing up at precisely the moment one needs them. The key to noticing support is being open to the possibility that it exists. This challenges the self-stigma many of us find ourselves caught up in, unwittingly or through influence. So we set aside our preconceptions and learn to trust, even when it seems impossible.
Schizophrenia has taken me to places which, thankfully, few will ever have to know. I tell my story that others might be encouraged to share their own. And somehow, in a way I don’t yet fully understand, I find myself thankful for the loneliness which teaches me daily the values of humanity and love.
I recognize now that I’m a great friend who often makes poor choices when selecting relationships. I’m outgoing, gracious and generous with my time and energy, but with a mental health diagnoses that often scares the hell out of people, I found myself with many quick to start, short-lived acquaintances. These people didn’t truly care or more likely didn’t have time to earn a spot on my support list. As a result, despite knowing many people, my circle of true friends sometimes felt – even to this day — slim. And that’s okay.