The Oxford American College Dictionary defines psychosis as:
“A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with reality.”
I rest my case: when you lose contact with reality that’s not a good thing.
I’m a Taurus (earth sign). I’m so down-to-earth that you might understand my strong view that I prefer to be grounded in reality. Not off in some alterna-world where I believe aliens have abducted my brain.
If you’re aware that your thinking is disordered, you have insight and can step outside of your thoughts to view them objectively. Yet if you believe the CIA has implanted a microchip in your brain that causes you to deface a Gauguin painting: is that a viable way to live?
Make no mistake: individuals with schizophrenia and other mental illness deserve empathy and compassion. Not to be forgotten or abandoned. I want that no one diagnosed with a mental illness is forced to have chronic symptoms the rest of their lives because treatment is denied.
I want that everyone living with a mental illness has the opportunity to succeed. These stories of killings, of defacing a painting in the National Gallery, do not amuse me.
Individuals with schizophrenia should be remembered for our humanity: for the good things we contribute to society not the exceptional acts of violence or graffiti.
I understand what it’s like to be ill and that is why I have compassion for individuals with broken brains.
The brief moments in time that I lost my mind might have been short yet they were the most terrifying moments of my life.
And lest we not forget the pain we put our families through when they see us like that. I take medication to stay well not only to do it for me. I choose to be well because I have family that loves me.
I dare say that a person who is denied treatment hasn’t chosen to kill. They do not want to kill. They have an illness that will not go away on its own. They are so severely psychotic that they are driven to kill because they’re symptomatic.
There. You see. Why we must have empathy and compassion.
Why business as usual and the decades-long history of emptying hospital beds and not providing treatment has gotten us where we are today.
It’s time to drop-kick line dancing as suitable treatment.
It’s time to put our money where our outraged mouths are: at treating individuals who are severely ill.
The ones who make headlines and the ones living in the shadows.