Parade of Shoes

My mother was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer. A routine mammogram caught the illness in time. She’s been in remission from breast cancer for over 11 years now.

So it goes: early treatment better outcome. For breast cancer, for schizophrenia, for any illness.

Breast cancer is a popular cause. Women walk long distances in breast cancer marathons (even if they don’t have breast cancer.) AIDS is another popular cause: people who don’t have AIDS routinely walk in AIDS marathons.

Yet no one without a mental illness routinely takes up the cause of mental health treatment.

The usual rhetoric is posted online in comments sections when a killer murders 12 people in a movie theater. Yet no one is motivated to take up the cause of helping advocate for better mental health treatment. They think it’s not their problem, so they don’t get involved.

I got help within 24 hours of my break. My mother got treatment when her cancer was stage 0. She told no one she had cancer because she didn’t want others to pity her.

What part of “immediate treatment equals lifelong success” eludes the haters in the world who preach “no medication at any time?” Why aren’t those hateful preachers protesting against getting a lumpectomy? Why are they selectively singling out and thus stigmatizing people with mental illnesses as not being worthy of treatment?

I donate what little money I have to mental health agencies.

I’ve walked a thousand miles in my recovery in my own life, and the journey has been up and over a mountain to get to the other side.

No one else is willing to walk a mile in my shoes or for my shoes, or walk in or for other people’s shoes when we have a mental illness. We compete in personal marathons every day just to get half as far as people who don’t have a diagnosis.

I’ve been there; I’ve bought my own tee shirts, thank you.

And I will not ever forget those of us who are abandoned, forgotten, or shunned.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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