Lift your chin. Square your shoulders. Pull it together. Nothing is wrong with you. Work harder. Get over it. Go to church. Or, at least, keep it to yourself.
A community like mine was where there were no secrets and lots of gossip. Whatever one said or did was under scrutiny, where it merited truth or concern or not. It was the Midwest, after all, where values and commitment mattered more than any personal failure or need.
What about those who could not lift a chin? Square shoulders? Pull it together?
I will tell you, since I know.
Those people were given a fair amount of criticism and reprimands. Everyone has problems, everyone has suffered losses, but they deal with it in the Midwest way. The stigma of a mental illness reflects on the family, after all.
I remember the very day when I was visiting home, we all were sharing a breakfast and a scheduled bus went up the road to the county seat. Dad smirked, "There goes the silly bus."
Silly bus? These were people who had developmental problems which required extra services. These were people who suffered mental problems and couldn't deal with life in general.
When questioned, Dad said, "In my day, they didn't need all that. They were taken care of at home. Those others, well, they should just get out there and work. Just work it out. Don't need help."
Didn't he know? Didn't he see me? Didn't he see himself?
I have struggled through chronic depression all my life. My "sadness" was deep. It has taken years of therapy, assisted by anti-depressants, to reach a steadiness. God gave me what I needed and put me in a place where I could reach it.
Dad? His father died when Dad was 9 years old and suicide was always on his horizon. World War 11 pushed that into PTSD and opened a floodgate of his own depression. When he went into a spiral, we all felt its effects, God help us.
One day, many years after sitting at breakfast, my sister was home. Dad mentioned the silly bus, and my sister replied, "Dad, my son (with autism) would be on that bus." He never said that again.
But then again, autism and many others in the realm of developmental issues was not dealt with in Dad's era. My parents asked me (a teacher) if this couldn't just be whipped/beat/spanked out of him. I spent the next hours explaining exactly what children and adults experience with autism and what is known or theorized about it.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. May 11-17 has been selected as Mental Health Awareness week. Never before has mental health been recognized as so important, impacting society in ways never imagined.
October is Depression Awareness Month. The first full week of October is Depression Awareness week. Never before has Depression been recognized and diagnosed as a silent struggle so many experience and suffer.
April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.
Lift your chin. Square your shoulders. Pull it all together. Nothing is wrong with you. Work harder. Get over it. Go to church. Or, at least, keep it to yourself.
This post is dedicated to those who relate or can relate to what is written here.