It is a War…

tom-roberts-584695-unsplashWe all have this fight, those of us in the mental illness community, with so many factors. We come from many different backgrounds, and our stories may vary in some ways, but the truth is we are all fighting a war. The war to end the mental illness stigma.

Like any war, it is a battle on many fronts. For me, it varies from day-to-day. Most days lately is a multiphase battle with depression, mania, social anxiety, and insomnia. It is a struggle I feel at times that I am losing, and other times it makes more sense that these battles are for the greater good in my life– like winning the war. The battles make us stronger, but it is not always so cut and dry for every mental illness sufferer.

Look, mental illness is for life, but that does not mean that we need to give up.

The other side of this war is even tougher– the fight to live. I was talking to a fellow mental illness suffer today, and this person spoke of the struggle of living with a mental illness and trying to find a place where they can lay their head down and feel safe. To indeed make the stigma surrounding mental illness disappear we must fight on all fronts. What I am talking about it taking care of two specific groups within our community– those soldiers coming back with mental illnesses and homelessness.


I am one of the lucky ones. My family could have just let me go, but they chose to help me. I would be in one of three situations– in a mental psychiatric ward, on the street homeless, or dead. It is the cold hard truth of the reality for those who can’t afford to live in this world with a mental illness. The solution is often homelessness and death because of the high cost of medications or just living with a mental illness.

Many are not so lucky to be in a good situation. If we as a society are not willing to help those that have trouble taking care of themselves because of mental illness then what are we? Yes, there are many issues in this world that I want to fight along with mental illness like ending child hunger here in the United States, but I am a part of this war for now.

We must find a way as a society to care for our soldiers that come home with mental illnesses and those who suffer from homelessness– with or without mental illness. The truth is that mental illness is a growing global issue. I never get political because I am well versed in that realm, and this place is about showing the world that mental illness is not something “we should just get over.” But, we need better people in charge that believe in helping the people, that means healthcare for all. And, for now, that is about as political J.E. will get on this blog.

So let us continue to fight to end the stigma surrounding mental illness together.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)


Photo Credit:
Tom Roberts

Timon Studler

Daniel van den Berg


36 Replies to “It is a War…”

  1. I suffer from depression. I’m lucky that I have a supportive family and people who support and love me. I’m not exactly financially stable, but I have a roof over my head.. Books to keep me happy.. someone I can’t get out of my head and don’t want to. Right outside my door I see so many homeless.. sometimes I see some that are out of their right minds drunk or drugged up.. sometimes they just are down on their luck.. the thing is you can never tell their stories.. how they got where they are. It’s heartbreaking. Sometimes I wonder if they had a helping hand at just the right time if they’d be somewhere else.. to tell you the truth it really could have been me and my family out on the street.. we were more then lucky to have found an affordable apartment at the time we did when our world was falling apart. Life is difficult. But sometimes I think people forget that homeless are people too.

    1. Tiana ” But some times I think people forget that homeless are people too. ”

      That is so true, as I am homeless I see it all the time.

      BY FOR NOW

      1. It’s such an awful difficult thing. I’m sorry to hear that this is reality for you. I hope you stay strong every day!

      2. Thank you dear, yes it is for too many people.

        BY FOR NOW

      3. I am sorry you are homeless right now. I was homeless for three months with a severely fractured ankle at the same time. You will make it through. You will get your own place. It took me three months but I made it. I pray the same for you. Much love, many blessings, peace and hugs to you my dear. Stay safe and be well.

      4. Thank you Sue, that must of been harbal trying to get around like that.

        BY FOR NOW

      5. They found me a wheelchair. That made it better and maybe it was a blessing in disguise of sorts because I got the single room on the main floor (the only one in the entire building) because I had a broken leg. Since we have both been homeless, please let me know if you ever want to chat about it or if you need any encouragement or we could just swap stories. You can email me if you want. Please just let me know you sent me an email as I get a lot of emails and it could get lost in the sea of them. Thanks and take care. I will pray for you . Hugs, Sue

      6. Well that was nice to have your own room.
        Thank you Sue I will keep that in mind.

        BY FOR NOW

    2. I agree so much with what you said. I see it too and often I can see myself in their eyes and it saddens me because I was so close to being at that point. I am lucky as well. I think about if I could help if I financially more stable it could change things. It’s a tough thing.

      1. It’s so sad because we are all often closer to it then we think. Then once it happens society rejects you, but it’s a very real fear and it doesn’t always happen in the way people think.

      2. I was homeless for three months with a severely fractured ankle at the same time. I survived (obviously) but it was beyond awful is the least I can say.

      3. That was many years ago. I survived and will always keep fighting. I have survived and overcame a lot. At this point in my life I am doing better than I ever have since my diagnosis 25 years ago. I am living proof that recovery and wellness are possible. That is why I share my story so openly and honestly.

      4. It is a fear of many within the mental illness community. I believe it is because we can identify the people that are homeless and their struggle. (Just one of the reasons.)

  2. Great post James, ya there is a big problem with healthcare for the homeless with mental illnic and disability.


  3. Well said. It saddened me recently to learn that an area where a lot of homeless hang out in my current city is jokingly called “Mental Square,” apparently as a rhyme on its actual name. The fact that, even on the liberal East Coast, we can still call something that and just be okay with the implications furthers a disgust at the way humans treat the vulnerable that is already honed to PTSD hypervigilance by my personal experiences.

    1. That is sad to hear but it is all too common. The major issue in California is the rising cost of living. It is almost impossible to afford to live with a mental illness here. We have to be better as a society, but it doesn’t seem like we care enough.

      1. Same on the East Coast. Gentrification has pushed even those with jobs into commute distances that don’t allow them to get the benefit of our public transportation system – or afford a car. You can’t afford even a bare-minimum efficiency on our state minimum wage, and it is higher than federal by state law. CA and other liberal places are becoming so popular with the supposedly Progressive that the original residents and anyone without a high-tier tech job is pushed into poverty if they were working class or homelessness if they were poor. It’s a tragedy, and not one that those high-paid so-called liberals are doing enough about. I’ll never vote Republican, but that doesn’t mean I automatically equate voting Democratic to truly voting Progressively or with a conscience. 🙁

      2. I agree. I will never vote republican either. I prefer voting for politicians like Bernie Sanders. He should have been president.

  4. Thank you for this. I suffer from Bipolar 1. My Manic episodes are beyond destructive and I know I would be in a very scary place right now if it weren’t for the support of my Famiky and Friends. I still have a few “friends” who never truly understood what I went and am still struggling with. They whisper behind my back at parties, think I’m the “crazy” wife. We need more support from EVERYONE.

  5. Amen. I’m part of the choir in this camp. I’m a regular supporter of our street paper, The Contributor. That’s an excellent place to start for those of us who live in large metro areas.

  6. Well said James. Excellent post James. I loved it. It was very well written and insightful and is one of those posts that all i can say is… YES. You are spot on. Thank you, James. Be and stay well, Sue

  7. It’s the constant gaslighting which gets under my skin. The connections drawn between my words and actions and my psychological hygiene. This seems to be a perennial battle front.
    Great post, James. And best wishes to all those standing beside me in this struggle.
    AKF <3

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