December 3 is International Day of Persons With Disabilities. Many people with mental disorders qualify as being disabled. Severe mental illness can make it impossible to hold a job, drive a car, attend to personal hygiene, maintain a household, go shopping, or do many of the necessary activities of daily living that most take for granted. And yet many do not believe that those with diagnosed mental disorders should receive any governmental assistance. It can be a lot easier to have empathy and understanding for someone whose disability is visible, such as someone in a wheelchair, missing a limb, or someone with Down’s syndrome. I have written a poem on the topic I’d like to share with you here.
It’s waging a war fought by just one,
Sustaining hits to which no one else is
And coming away with shrapnel
unsearchable by physical means,
While others deny a war is taking place,
Yet finding yourself on its front lines,
Without armor, unprotected, lacking well-
wishes of love and healing,
Hiding in public,
Camouflaging in plain sight,
Yet still the main target,
Required to fight,
Even while returns continue to diminish,
A losing battle.