For me, my struggle with mental illness began 30 years ago. At that time, those with mental illness were thought to be weak because they could not “just get over it”. I lost friends and family either from not understanding or just because I had spoken up about family secrets.
About 15 years ago, the word trauma entered my like. Events that at the time I thought were normal were explained to be a mode of abuse. Words like racing thoughts, hyper vigilante, DBT, and flashbacks were introduced to me. At least, I now had a name for my symptoms.
Trying to find a treatment provider who knows about severe trauma is difficult and time consuming. I spend months attempting to try to explain why I needed a trauma therapist and psychiatrist. How this illness can be misdiagnosed or misunderstood by someone who does not have experience.
Fast forward to last night. My phone alerted me. I was surprised to see the headline that companies are going to begin to expand mental health treatment due to COVID. I was so upset. Not leaving the house and not being able to see people for 18 months is now a mental health crisis. Why, it is a socially acceptable problem? Even suicides related to COVID are deemed worthy of attention.
Where were these companies over the past decades during which so many others that have a mental health diagnosis were struggling to keep their proverbial head above water? Why weren’t all of the people that were de institutionalized given proper care and access to medications?Instead many of them became homeless. The mentally ill became societies secret.
I have been told I should be empathetic toward people who have been affected by the quarantine. I just cannot find that in me when the same people called me crazy and a waste of space. Even the names of the illnesses have been changed to a socially acceptable label.
I feel like those of us who have been struggling for years have been cast aside. We still are going to fall through the cracks because our illnesses are not COVID related. What am I and others like me to do?