How many times do you have to explain to people that you’re not dangerous? When you suffer certain mental illnesses it becomes more common than you think, and even when people become aware of your particular condition, they are rarely understanding. I feel that I have to write this before I begin this new writing series, as it is a very personal project.
It is from personal experience that I must actually state, as someone who suffers from bipolar affective disorder, that I mean you no physical harm. Generally, people assume that many people with a mental illness are a threat to their safety. The reality is that you are more likely a threat to my safety if you do not suffer from any particular mental illness.
This is because mentally ill people, generally, are more likely to be taken advantage of, and even put in harms way because of their mental illness. They are less likely to harm anyone, despite all the gruesome things that reach the news.
What doesn’t reach the news is the danger that nations like Australia are putting people like me in due to their lack of humane and decent mental health services. We do not, as a nation treat mental health the same as we would a physical injury. Yet how we treat our minds is probably the most important thing in anyone’s life.
It is with that in mind that I begin this new project I Wear White. In it I will be discussing very personal experiences in both my private faith as well as my personal health. Where I grew up there wasn’t many opportunities for a young creative, and to be honest life is still hard in Australia while trying to stay true to my calling.
However, I can sit here now and articulate at least parts of my journey in the hope that it speaks to others out there and brings some awareness both to my own personal faith and to bipolar disorder. I do not mean to make this series completely about mental health, but because that forms part of my journey there may be themes and subjects that can be triggering for some.
I will try and keep that in mind as I am writing. Wishing you all the best.