DAY 7 Invisible Illness vs. Visible Illness

Picture these two separate scenes. 

In the first vignette,  a smiling young woman with a cumbersome backpack, hobbles on crutches towards heavy doors leading to a lecture hall. Before she can even touch the handle, two young men sprint up to open the door as well as  politely offer to carry her bag till she is sitting comfortably at her desk.  She is an accepted part of the young men’s social group. Her disability, although permanent, does not repulse the other students but elicits empathy.

 A diametrically opposed scene focuses on another young, pretty woman but she slouches with her head is down. As she struggles weakly with the same heavy doors, an impatient young man sighs, shakes his head at her and roughly yanks the door open . He steps quickly past her after glancing at her sideways because her hands are trembling, she refuses eye contact and appears to be anxious and ill at ease.

The first woman’s physical disability is clearly understood by the male students; they confidently offer the kind of help that she needs. The second woman makes the young guy uncomfortable because it is obvious that she is  emotionally or mentally ill but he really does not exactly know why she is ill or how to help her.

 Mental illness has the power to marginalize people.

Physical illness gathers people together.

Some people in tremendous emotional pain, cut their arms, legs, etc. because physical pain takes their mind off mental pain and other people rush to help them.  

Clearly society in general needs information  before they change their prejudiced and fearful attitudes towards the mentally ill.


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