This week Danielle at "Sometimes Sweet" gave the Journal prompt of :
"If you had unlimited resources, what political or social issue, or area of scientific or medical exploration would you fund?"
Both my parents died at too young an age, before their time, in very different circumstances. Both heart wrenching in their finality, despite their inevitability. Both moments of being told forever ingrained in my mind. Both have shaped and scarred me into who I am today. Both could perhaps have been preventable had more focus, more resources, more checks been available. Yet one cause is openly supported and funded until a cure is found. The other seemly is ignored, at the bottom of the pile, save for a few voices.
As a child I always understood my mum was different. She would wake up some mornings with a racing enthusiasm to take a trip on the train to London, despite living in Cornwall, or want to arrange a picnic after school even though we had other arrangements. These would be followed by crashing lows where the bedroom was a safe haven, lights out, curtains closed. Shopping and bill paying were forgotten until family stepped in to help. My brother and I moved into a more stable family environment and mum returned to her immediate family in London when I was eight. Contact with my mum became lost except of rare occasions by the time I was 11, but she was, and remains to this day my mum.
My parents had been divorced for over 10 years, living at opposite ends of the country when I was eighteen. One morning when I was on a student rotation at a hospital in Maidstone, I received a phone call from my Dad to tell me that my mum had taken her own life. The intimate details of that call do not need to be written down as I'm sure you understand.
Historically she had been given various mental health diagnoses since before my parents married and had been treated as both an inpatient and outpatient at different hospitals and support groups but she always seemed to remain on the outskirts of life, never fully living in the moment. Her treatment in the 1980s and 1990s seemed to always be a medical one; injections, tablets, hospital stays to "get herself together". There never seemed to be much talking, even less listening and support seemed thinly spread. Ultimately her death was at her own will, but perhaps there could have been a different route for her to take.
Yet in over 15 years since her death there seems even less community support. Funding is being continually reduced, services being stretched, people in need being left to fend for themselves. Mental health is still talked about in hushed tones. I don't understand how someone mentally unable to function, to engage, to heal should be deemed as less worthy, less deserving that someone with a physical need of healing and functioning, yet they do. I would give mental wellbeing as much openness, discussion and funding as any physical impairment or disease. People need understanding and support regardless of their weakness. We would not hesitate to donate our time, money or help to someone with a physical impairment; a mental impairment should be no different.
If you would like to join in each week the prompt word is given on a Monday, for you to link up with on a Thursday.