May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
From here on in I’ll call this Mental Health Acceptance and Awareness Month.
Like in keeping with Autism Acceptance Month in April we need to recognize that for a lot of people diagnosed with schizophrenia good things have come from having this illness.
We also need to frame May as Acceptance Month because it’s imperative that we prioritize mental health as the number-one driver of a person’s recovery.
In here before I’ve championed fitness of mind, body, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.
Without mental health all the other links in this fitness chain can be broken.
I will always fight for the rights of individuals with chronic unremitting schizophrenia. This is a given because not everyone is going to do well after they have an episode.
Most people can recover. A minority cannot. It’s those of us whose illness is more severe that require intensive treatment and unrelenting advocacy efforts to protect their rights to services and support.
Those of us who are able to recover should pass the baton to help others recover.
Acceptance of our challenges is the gateway to owning our recovery. When we resist facing the truth and are in denial this will only perpetuate the illness.
Awareness of schizophrenia and other mental health conditions isn’t the end. It’s the start. Any awareness must come with corresponding acceptance that these illnesses are real health conditions. That most of us recover and some of us might not do as well as others.
In the end this involves treating everyone with dignity and compassion.
Not whitewashing the truth. Not catering to only people we deem worthy of advocacy.
Treating everyone as individuals whose stories are valuable.
Helping others tell their stories. Listening when we hear another person’s story.