MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize?

WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR MENTAL ILLNESS?

WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR DEPRESSION?

This thought has crossed my mind many times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.

Beginning in the mid-1990’s, this illness first tossed me into a life of bleak depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs. With it came a loss of so many things, as well as myself. I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?

For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As an accounting supervisor, I had a well-paying position, enjoyed my job and colleagues, and imagined I would have continued with my career with that company.

A misfortune, becoming so ill with depression and hospitalizations, I ultimately lost my job, then hanging on for over two years frantically waiting for government disability to kick in. You discover swiftly to become thrifty.

Back then, both hubby and I lived on comfortable salaries and jetted off to balmy climates once or twice per year; it was a routine. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on a genuine vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).

Positives

Luckily, I was capable of returning to the working world after years absent. Not a preferable job, a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working, at least this company gave me a chance with a spotty resume. Six years later, though, I’m once again unemployed and on disability, but at the same time, wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.

I wouldn’t remain on all of the costly psychiatric medications, yet, with meds and therapy, I have progressed to the point that I’m no longer hospitalized and can function daily. Extensive psychotherapy has resolved the heaps of painful issues that have been haunting me most of my adult life.

I envisioned participation in the writing field in some sort of capacity. It has forever been a passion of mine since I was a child, jotting daily in my diaries.
It’s doubtful I would have been invited to appear on a radio show, speaking engagements, or requested articles as a guest writer discussing mental health, depression, bipolar etc.
I also wouldn’t have this blog that has allowed me to express my feelings about my experience struggling with PTSD and depression.

If not for mental illness, I’m uncertain I would be the compassionate, understanding, and accepting person that I am towards others now. I have enormous patience when speaking with anyone struggling with mental illness or other illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have been prompted to research.

I continue to struggle with depression on the odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s to be expected, I suppose. We’re courageous, but must forge onward, and be strong.

We’re in this together, you and I, and we must never apologize for our illness.

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017 originally posted on niume.com

15 thoughts on “MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize?

  1. bone&silver says:

    As soon as I read the title I thought ‘well I wouldn’t be nearly as compassionate & kind if I hadn’t had periods of depression’. It’s a smart & brave question. Thank you for asking it & revealing your struggles, G ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • cherished79 says:

      You’re so welcome. Many people, such as myself, felt embarrassed to even say they had a mental illness fearing the response. After years of living and breathing depression and mixing with so many other people and bloggers who experience the same issues, it now angers me at how I felt that an apology was ever considered. I was so hesitant to begin this blog, debating whether other people would be interested in a person who has struggled with mental illness, hospitalized and unemployed due to it. Thanks so much for commenting. Deb 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah@TradeRoutz says:

    1000%. NEVER apologise for our illness/s. We seem to spend our lives saying ‘sorry’, because we didn’t cook, or clean, or bathe for 2 days. Well, bugger that I say! We must love one another, understand, but I think, mostly, love ourselves. Knowing that it’s OK to not be like everyone else. I too left the workplace, where I was running my own very successful business. My brain went on a root march, and that was that! I am sorry that you’ve had such a tough time, but so proud of you for dealing with it so healthily. x x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. updownflight says:

    I’m glad you can see some nice positive among some negatives.

    I have found it difficult to have to apologize for being sick too, but sometimes I’ve just done it because if I didn’t the situation would be worse. Some people can’t look past behavior, regardless of whether it was beyond control. Luckily the people in my life that really understand don’t force me to be eternally sorry. Those that do I’ll admit that I’ve distanced myself from.

    I’ve been on SSDI for about eight years now. I can imagine when I finally try to work again I’ll have to explain a lot. I, too, am hoping to do some freelance writing to dip my feet back into the work world. At least I do have plenty of writing samples. I do also have some volunteer experience to refer to.

    Like

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