What happens when you break your leg? People ooh and aah and sign your cast. What happens when you come down with cancer? People go on walks and shave their heads in sympathy.
What happens if your brain continues to mis-fire and you have to lose jobs, relationships or educational opportunities because of it?
People tell you to buck up, shake it off, give your head a slap, go for a run, get involved, get back to work, take a chill pill.
What if all of that doesn't work?
What do you do then?
If you happen to be James Ford, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and son of Dennis and Diane Rimmer of Radisson, SK., you talk about it.
And people start to listen.
People begin to sympathize and realize an illness is an illness, whether or not it is visible.
Here is a recent entry from Jae's blog: " I woke up this morning at 0430, and was unable to get back to sleep. I’m tired now, but my body doesn’t hurt half as much as it did yesterday, which is wonderful. My hope is that Monday morning’s ECT treatment won’t punish me as badly as the solid thumping I received during the first treatment on Thursday. I can’t fathom it being worse. The headache of Thursday afternoon and general pain of yesterday were brutal. The kind of pain one resists wishing upon a worst enemy. I survived, and there is talk of finding me a stronger analgesic in case Monday’s treatment is also harsh.
I felt less depressed Thursday and yesterday, although I credit the distraction of the pain rather than the ECT."
Young James ( as we in the family call him) has been suffering from depression, anxiety and bi-polar situations for years. He is telling his story in a series of writings he calls "Jae, Interrupted." Look for it at wordpress.com
People are seeing his blog and responding. Reportedly, over 19,000 people have viewed his works. And, people reply, such as this reply from Dianne Pearce, of Victoria, B.C. --- "Please bear with me if I repeat words I have written in other emails to you – there just aren’t enough superlatives to describe how much I admire you on many levels. Perhaps it isn’t a word you would choose but, to me and countless others, you are one exceptionally brave and courageous young man. It takes those qualities to allow the world into your inner most fears, anguish, trepidation, hopes – all of your emotions that so many of us hide behind a public persona that isn’t quite real.
I will be taking this journey with you every step of the way – continuing to send you healing, calming, peaceful thoughts. And I will celebrate when a recovered Jae returns to the admirable work you do and are welcomed back by co-workers who have followed your blog and reached an new understanding of mental illness.
Mental illness is a problem, not a plague. People need to talk. People need to share. Such as this posting from a person named Deborah Clearlock who was born in White Rock, B.C...."I'm not sure whether coping skills for some of these kids are lacking or if we 'over' parented out of love. Could also just be better diagnostic skills.Who knows? It doesn't really matter, what's important is to get them as healthy as possible and hopefully see them happy and productive."
And, we all need to support such ventures as Clara's Big Ride (you can look it up) featuring Canada's superb Olympic star Clara Hughes.
Keep talking. Keep posting. Keep reading. Keep the conversation going.