I have come to realize that the people most close to us, really do not truly understand the constant battle of having a mental illness or the decisions that are made when someone faces a terminal illness. In my own experience, the most hurtful part of going through my darkest moments were when I was unable to confide in my friends, family, member or my spouse because they just did not “get it.” Sure, they were there for me when I needed them the most, rather that be picking me up from the ER if I had an episode, or allowing me to talk about what I go through without interruption but their reaction would be so “matter of fact” or a dry “I understand” that I never truly understood if they “got it or not.”
So, I would shut out. I would stop talking about my struggles because frankly, who the hell wants some of my mental illness “juice” to splash over onto them. As I stopped talking, they stopped listening. There was no asking if I was okay for that day, there was no “do you want to talk about what you are feeling today” as they avoid the subject as much as possible. At times, my relationship suffered because my spouse would find himself irritated by me being uncomfortable. He just did not understand why I could not “chill the fuck out.” No, he did not say this to me directly but his body language showed me. It hurt, on top of feeling like I was going crazy, I had to deal with the fact that people did not get what the hell I suffered from. The stigma of mental illness rang loudly through the actions of my peers and my love ones.
When I sit in on a family feud of my patients who’s family members do not get why they are making the decision to end their lives due to their underlying terminal illness, they scream, yell, and completely become oblivious as to the severe pain and the lack of quality of life these people are facing. Wife’s, husbands, daughters, and sons would much rather avoid speaking about the situation, or get angry at their inability to understand the situation from the other persons perspectives.
“Education is the key to acceptance.” -A Wise Person
My patients often mention that their family members “just don’t get it.” I get it. I get how difficult it is to defend your case. I get how frustrating it is when their is no “off” button. I get how uneasy it feels when you are forced to harbor your feelings to benefit those who you love the most. I get how scary it feels when all you want is for someone to GET IT. I get how oblivious people are when they are faced with a unfavorable situation. I get how annoying it can be when you have to constantly explain what they just don’t get. I get the fake smiling. I get the “I’m okay.” I get not having the strength to explain shit to anyone.
I have to be okay with people not getting it. We are not in control of other people’s actions nor their decisions. However, as part of my journey, I have to educate people on what they don’t get. I have to continue voicing my challenges to get rid of the stigma around mental health. I have to continue to educating the family members of my patients so they at the very least; they understand aid-in-dying from a dffierent perspective. I cannot shut out. I cannot get frustrated and shut up. I have to do MY part in giving others to opportunity to “get it.”
#educate #helpthemgetiteveniftheywontgetit #theresalwaystwoperspectives