Acquaintances and Ignorance

7 years ago
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Interesting conversation today with an acquaintance. Just to clarify, an acquaintance, not a friend. Anyway, she was speaking about a mother she knows whose son has mental illness. She was chatting away judgmentally about how the son can get very violent due to this illness and sometimes the mother has locked herself in the bathroom in fear. This acquaintance was going on and on about how it must be a discipline problem and how she would never put up with that, she would put him into some sort of institutional care. I am used to such ignorance, but it still causes the hair on the back of my neck to stand up and I was extremely grateful for my sun glasses that were hiding my angry eyes. Anyway, I calmly responded to her by saying, You would really give up your daughter if she became ill? Wow! She was stunned into silence. After staring at me curiously for a moment, she said, What? Of course not! I don't get what you are saying. I very calmly explained to her that mental illness is just that. An illness. And the violence is a horrible symptom of it. But just a symptom. It does not define the child. And I went on to say how easy it always is for people to have sympathy for physical illnesses, but heaven forbid illness of the mind. Still a dirty family secret. We parted awkwardly for her, but I was smiling. I knew that while the conversation confused her, it made her think. And that is the best you can hope for some days. lynn momentsintimelynn.blogspot.com

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