Mental Illness sucks. People not knowing you are sick, sucks. The junk in my mind that thinks other people are judging me, sucks.
We finally got our rears in gear and got a cleaning service to come out. Today they are here and I have the relief that the place will be really clean, and stuff is picked up. I SO need this environmental therapy! Having a straightened house has always helped me cope and feel better about life.
On the other hand, I’m here while the women are cleaning. I could be going through my schedule, but it’s embarrassing to try to do a little cleaning or a little activity, then have to sit down and rest for half an hour, while the professionals are here working through the house without tiring. Instead, I’m sitting on the couch, trying to hold a thought in my head, warding off a headache, knowing I’m sick, but that it’s invisible. And I’m wondering what the women think of me.
I don’t appear sick, (hacking cough, or illness paraphernalia around) and so I feel this weird class difference of upper class woman doing nothing while paying lower class woman to clean her house. Having been on the other side of this relationship, I know that I’m paying for their labor, and their health. And I know some of the conversations that happen while you care for another woman’s house or children. But it’s different when you know someone is sick , really sick, and cannot care for their house. There is a measure of compassion in the work instead of only a monetized class-difference transaction.
So, I feel double amounts of shame. Shame that my situation appears like a class transaction, and I don’t like that. I wish my illness was visible so I could be the recipient of some compassion in the situation. I could use some compassion, seriously. But if people knew the illness that I live with, there is the all-too-common response – the stigma of mental illness – and the shame that goes along with the stigma when people say, or act as though they are saying – “Just get up and do something” or “It’s all in your head” or just plain “That’s not a real illness. Call me when you have cancer.” Shame.
Are these thoughts just in my head, or are they also going through others’ minds? Am I working myself up into a tizzy, or just feeling what’s in the middle of the situation?
Probably both. Mental illness sucks. Its invisibility sucks too. Stigma sucks.