I get it. People with severe mental illness can be scary. We can see things that aren’t there. Most of the time these are not fuzzy bunnies that want to cuddle. They can scare us, and that fear is contagious. We hear voices and receive messages we don’t wan to believe are real, but they are very real to us. We have delusions that seem preposterous but make perfect sense to us. We live in a world that is different from yours which mean we are different from you.
We are more alike than you may want to believe. We want the same things out of life: love, security, connection. Unfortunately, we frequently don’t have those things – not from lack of trying or lack of desire. We may not understand how to get those things. We may not understand what is so wrong about ourselves to not be worthy which leaves us angry and frustrated. And that anger and frustration builds a wall between us, and we don’t know how to go over or around it.
My plea is to not give up on us. If you can, reach out to us. It won’t be easy. I may understand where you are coming from but not all of us will. Recognize our humanity. See us as fellow humans on the same journey. Show us love and respect instead of ridicule and rejection. Take my words and consider them. When you read my descriptions, don’t be horrified and dismissive. Understand my pain and realize you have a choice. You can dismiss me or embrace me. Those of us who suffer from severe mental illness maybe weird or scary, but we are also smart and insightful. We are troubled, yes, but we are also of value. See that value and reach out to us, please!