Must Be in the Air

This morning I saw this post from @ebertchicago on Twitter: “Smart A** Cripple asks, why does the florist suspect a prank if you send Get Well flowers for mental illness?

Symbol I'm Pondering: Bouquet of Flowers


Do check out this blogpost “The Super Terrifying Grandma Vanelli” which examines the stigma of mental illness, and the shame felt when you have one.

I cringed as read the story of Chris’ cousin, knowing the sad punchline that was coming… She had been diagnosed with a tumor on her spine: “If she needed anything, anything at all, they said they would be there for her. ‘She got flowers, candies,’ Chris says.”

When Chris was diagnosed with a mental illness, he says, “’I was very glad that I got told there was something wrong because I knew [my experiences were] not ordinary.’ But there were never any I’m-there-for-you calls from family. No one sent flowers … ‘When you’re mentally ill, people think you should just suffer in a room of needles and pins. You deserve it.’”

Ouch. I’ve thought this of myself. I’ve begun hearing stories from others along the same lines. I wish I could just pick myself up and be done with it. I know others have wished that of themselves too. But I can’t. I’m here. I’d like to keep moving toward a place of balance, and when I can maintain that for a while, I’ll feel I’m in recovery. But unexplained mania or depression could still be just around the corner. I’ll try not to cower in the corner.

10 responses to “Must Be in the Air

  1. I wrote about this exact topic three years ago:

    Sending cupcakes.


  2. Elizabeth Nordquist

    I want to say, do or be the right thing…often don’t know what it is, As you discover what helps you, when you feel brave enough, it would be great to hear. Meanwhile, you are in my Top Ten for prayer and Attention, and thought of daily with Love.


    • Thank you, Elizabeth! Knowing I’m not forgotten really helps right now, especially since my world is so surreal these days. I’ll let folks know as I discover more.

  3. Speaking from the point of view of having lived with a mother with mental illness…..I’m pretty clear that no one with these illnesses should be expected to ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘suffer, cause you deserve it’. No one deserves this anymore than someone with cancer or kidney disease. No one with these other diseases can ‘pull yourself together’ without help. (just like you) I can imagine having a mental illness feels just as out of control as one of the other diseases in the human repertoire. You deserve flowers and if that is what would make you feel loved and remind you that there is a group of us out here rooting for you and praying for you you should have some!!
    I’m so sorry to read about your illness. I appreciate reading about how you are working to understand it, how to manage it and how to rework your life. These are huge projects. This can’t be fun. I applaud you for sharing these thoughts with us. I hope it will help all of us to learn a bit about what this experience is like so we can help you change the world’s attitude about mental illness.

    • You can skip the flowers, but thank you! for the thought. When I ran into this story today, just seemed ironic that I’d be finding these stories about stigma as I was getting in touch with misplaced shame about mental illness. Perhaps I’ll be working to undo stigma in my next reincarnation.

  4. I’m so glad you are sharing your story, Deb. I struggle with knowing why or where or when we should tell our stories (because of the shame, I think) and more and more, I’m thinking we should just live. Boldly. Not mince words. You have a whole circle of friends and acquaintances that other mental illness sufferers don’t have. I deal with other illnesses, but mental illness? Not yet. I am glad that you are putting it into perspective for me, because it’s not uncommon around me… Blessings to you!

  5. What Elizabeth said.

  6. Good post. You know, I never really thought about this before. Thank you for broadening my vision!

  7. Deb- it’s so weird… but true. Yet I think in some ways it’s like a chronic illness- diabetes or high blood pressure that you maintain and live with, rather than cure or get better. Maybe an even better analogy is chronic fatigue, since that is even more “invisible” and misunderstood. Acute and sudden illnesses that are “cured” by surgery or meds seem to be much more flower-worthy 🙂

    Stay strong and know that you are not forgotten.

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