This morning I started listening to a new audiobook. I almost always listen to books because I learned over the years that I suck at reading. This bit of insight would have been very helpful back in my twenties when the young idealistic me thought that being an English major would be cool. But, instead, I spent years opening books I thought I was supposed to enjoy, only to stare at the words wondering what I was doing wrong. People whose opinions I very much respected would tell me how wonderful Random Book was, but I could rarely generate enough attention to get past the title page. That’s why I prefer audiobooks.
Anyway, I started a new book that I absolutely love. The author was talking in the introduction (at least I think it was the introduction, after all it was audio) about how depression is hard to deal with because, unlike illnesses like cancer, it’s misunderstood by the general public. Being a psychiatrist, I can totally get behind this. But then I started feeling annoyed, jealous, full of self-pity.
You see, I suffer from an illness that is not only misunderstood, but is so stigmatizing that the people diagnosed with the illness got together and decided that if you had it you should remain anonymous. Rather than advocating for ourselves, we sit drinking coffee, discussing how the world we won’t tell about our illness doesn’t understand us.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the people I sit and drink coffee with. And I love the program put in place to help us with our illness. If the entire world were to live by the principles we try to follow, the world envisioned by John Lennon might come to pass.