Today I'm in steppin stones and restore beehive! Steppin Stones is the day centre for people who are homeless and Restore is the service for people with mental illness.
I've read that people who become homeless are often also suffering from a mental illness. And yet the people I've worked with steppin stones don't come across as ill though it's statistically likely they might be suffering. Same with Restore. I really wouldn't be able to tell.
That's the thing with mental illness. It doesn't show up in physical obvious ways usually. You know like a cast on your arm sort of way. Or a chemo hairless way. This makes it hard for people to understand I think. It's good in a way too because you can't discriminate. But then if you don't know it's harder to respond properly.
I suppose that's why all those charities are working on educating people about what mental illnesses are to reduce stigma.
Now I've got to ask how do these musing help anyone?
I suppose I'm trying to say that it could be any of us so treat us all with compassion? Respond appropriately to everyone.
You probably can't tell what people are suffering inside. If someone is grumpy- respond with compassion rather than emotion. If someone asks for help- help. Compassion is a yoga principle (and many other doctrines principles too I'm not claiming uniqueness here!) Easier said than done.
An example...the cafe people found I've been leaving my heaters on whilst I'm at the library. And were justifiabley annoyed about fire and power costs. On our 'encounter' about it they were grumpy (cafe persons own words after we analysed it later!) and I didn't really get it just accepted and moved myself from the encounter . I could only be compassionate later- taking their point- and discussing calmly later! Haha! So it takes a while to get this compassionate response every time....Working on it!
I'd best pootle off now for the charity double whammy before this blog becomes too preachy!