A couple of years ago while out walking I met an old work colleague. He was a “stiff upper lip, pull yourself together” sort of person who thought that people with a mental illness were either “lead swingers” or homicidal maniacs. After a brief exchange of greetings we parted. The following is a record of that exchange of words and what I thought at the time, that meeting was also my inspiration for I’m Fine.
Hello Chris, you’re looking well, I thought you were ill!
Look into my eyes; see the countless private tears they have wept
See the overwhelming weariness, which makes my body ache
See the sleepless nights too many to remember
See the turmoil and pain which is my mind
Feel the moods so dark, so powerful they have substance
Feel the weight of thoughts so heavy they cannot move
Feel the blameless guilt and shame so undeniable
I want to shout SORRY‼ For what I don’t know
All of these hidden behind a thin veneer
A veneer of false happiness and well-being
These and so much more
Just the tip of the iceberg that is Depression
Should I say? No, I’d better not.
Thank you, yes, I’m fine, how are you?
Since that encounter in 2008 I have met many people who are prejudiced against those of us with mental illness. And as much as I try to explain to these people that mental illness is not particular in who it attacks, and that no one is immune from it. I have had very little success, that is why I joined Time to Change. If you feel as strongly as I do about the stigma, prejudice and discrimination which those with a mental illness have to face every day. Then please join Time to Change at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ .