What really got me about visiting Mother Teresa’s mission in Kolkata was seeing the people who were on the block between there and the Kali temple. It’s literally where the poorest of the poor go to die – the outcast, reviled, unclean, hated members of society. Kali offers a last chance to be blessed for anyone, no matter who they are. She loves and accepts everyone. Mother Teresa built her clinic there to take care of these people, and it’s a powerful place. You walk into the coolness, and are injected with a sense of the calm and stillness – like a bridge to the divine for those too frail to make it alone.
There’s no comparison to the poverty and agony of India’s lowest caste. At times though, mental illness and those who suffer from various manifestations – it feels like crouching in that filthy street, alone and despised by the masses. I want to talk about it more because so many people suffer alone in fear and pain. Then again, when every single bad thing done in our society is blamed on “crazy” people or “mental health issues,” it’s terrifying to “come out.” When humans all too often turn to violence to express their emotions, it’s horrible to feel like talking about it will put me at risk. It’s true too – we’re slowly making progress against racism, sexism, and homophobia, but “crazy” – it’s still socially acceptable, respected even, to vilify mental health difficulties.
Which is why I am here. My mental health labels are big ones, and they’ve been at times debilitating and life threatening, sucking all the hope and love out of my life and leaving me shell shocked on the side of the road wondering what the hell to do. Waking up in the ICU, spending thousands on doctors, pills, therapy, hospitalizations, only to realize that it’s some very simple things that make the difference between life, death, and thriving. One of the most important things is having a community support system of people who know you and care about you.
The blog community has been amazing for this, and I want to return the wonderful support that has been given to me. So bring me your stories, your battle scars, your need to talk about things that no one else will discuss openly and honestly. As long as I’m here, I am open to anyone who needs support to make it through. I’ve been there, I know how much it can hurt. Isolation makes it worse. Talk to me – I think it will help both of us, all of us. No politics, no religion, no stigmas, just humans trying to figure out some shit.
Paraphrased quote of the day – “It only takes a tiny candle to light up the darkness.” – LF
Love to all
Brother Featuring Gavin Degraw – Needtobreathe