“I wish I had cancer…”

20140821-164128-60088332.jpg I saw the movie “Still Alice,” last night.  The title quote came from a scene where Julianne Moore was telling her husband, played by Alec Baldwin, that if she was diagnosed with cancer people would feel sorry for her, wear ribbons in support of and raise money to find a cure for cancer.  But she had Alzheimer’s disease and she was pointing out that there was not the level of empathy and support for it like there is for cancer.

It is the same for depression.  I think the similarities between Alzheimer’s and depressoin points out the fear that people have about “mental health,” issues.  People cant be empathetic for any dis-ease that they are deathly afraid will cause them to lose their “mind.”

finger-touching-nose-of-babyWhen I tell people that I have depression, which I am loathe to do because of the stigma attached it, most people’s view of me changes. Usually they discount it, like Alec Baldwin did when he first learned that Julianne Moore had it.  I remember speaking to an attorney about a case and she could not understand how I could miss days in court or be so irritable at times when untruths or injustices were being stated or perpetrated.

What I have learned is that most people will do anything they can to keep their distance from health problems like depression, bi-polar condition, etc.

20140821-164125-60085585.jpgI am learning that the underlying effects of the trauma that many of us live with are dictating much of what the culture does in response to learning that people have “mental” health issues.

I think that people’s struggles with anything that can be seen as a threat to them, more aptly put something they are afraid might affect them, causes them to project outward their sense of what is real.  This allows them to separate themselves from other so that they dont have to feel that fear themselves.

It was wonderful when Moore gave a speech at a convention about Alzheimer’s disease.  It was powerful 20140821-125637-46597389.jpgin the sense that she was able to be whole in that moment with her disease and she was accepted for being who  she was and was not carrying the burden that we carry because we think that there is something wrong with us.

Depression is hell in the sense that we cant do what we once did.  What compounds that is when those around us, our peers, dont understand this and at times project their shadow out onto us so that they dont have to feel their own fear of “catching,” it and suffering like we do.

337129_10151480788466040_1950483812_oThe self created hell that comes from having “mental,” health issues is enough.  The self loathing that many carry because of our imperfection is a powerful enough yoke to have to wear around our necks.  One of the worst aspects of our dis-ease is that we dont “look,” any different than does a person who does not have depression or one of the other dis-eases we suffer with.

10325552_663602220402567_4973155706202160451_nBut at the end of the day, I still wish I had cancer.  Then people would feel compassion and empathy for me instead of being scared of me.

123 RV, SA, JM, EP, PA, RW, JZ!

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11 thoughts on ““I wish I had cancer…”

  1. Eeyore! You couldn’t create as well without the depression and yes it’s a horrible, horrible demon to fight, but to me it filters out all the people who really want to be with us. I know that feeling of lonely because people are scared of people like us, but there are pros and cons to everything and I’m glad you don’t have cancer. Rant ended.

  2. i’m with you. my brother and i have been traveling parallel lifes for about the past year, me with depression and he with cancer.

    he has a family member advocating for him. he gets regular help to get him to his treatments 7 hours away. he has people come see him during his treatments. the family recieves regular updates on his progress.

    me? i don’t even receive anything close to semi-regular phone calls. i have one phamily member who calls me on birthdays and holidays. it sucks!!!!!! no wonder i’d rather have cancer.

    i’m starting to spell phamily with a ph when it comes to their treatment of me. they are not worthy of an efe.

  3. I am hoping Julianne Moore wins an Academy Award for this one. So glad you gave the details of the person who is named Alice, she feels she is the same inside, whether of not she is able to keep up with her mental/memory losses.

  4. Yes, people say how brave people with cancer are to fight the disease. What about those fighting mental illness daily? Some say God has a special place close to him for those with mental illness after death.

  5. Well, any disease is terrible, and it’s a bad wish. Many of us cannot do many things because of the disease, I don’t even want to go further with this. I don’t know, I never thought of such an aspect how other sick people were receiving more support because their disease is more supported and made other people feel sorry. It’s no pleasure to have any condition. I don’t want anybody to feel sorry about me, that includes myself. I didn’t have a chance to see the movie since I am always working and pain slows down everything and sometimes I cannot do anything because the body decided I shouldn’t. I think we have to be very careful with wishes and we do not exist to make other people feel sorry for us. Whether we win or loose is up to ourselves and that will never be because of too less or no support. I personally never expect any support or any ease because I have some conditions. That is my problem and I cope with it. I wish you strength.

  6. I hope this movie helps to bring further awareness to some of these issues. So much gets taken for granted and people are sometimes indifferent to what they don’t understand. No disease is glamorous, and no disease should be looked down upon. People suffer, period. I believe more compassion is the best we can bring to those who need it regardless of their condition and sometimes a little understanding can provide just the strength we need.

  7. Thank you for sharing her quote. Having recently lost my wife to suicide after she fought off depression for many years, I was really struck by that one myself when I recently watched the movie.. From my perspective, what she said about Alzheimer’s – a physical disease that causes visible damage to the brain – would apply a thousand fold to anyone dealing with an INVISIBLE disease like depression. I feel SO guilty that I didn’t realize that my wife’s internal struggles had developed to a point where she saw suicide as her only way to end her paint; but I actually feel just as guilty that I was never able to truly empathize with her over all those years when she enriched my life beyond my expectations. I’ve had cancer three times now, and nobody ever told me to “get over it”, and nobody ever blamed me for having it. Yet, my typical response to my lovely wife, Carol, was that she should stop thinking about those past memories which troubled her so much. I only now realize that this was like someone telling me to stop thinking about my cancers and they would go away. When I was young, nobody spoke of cancer except in a whisper. It feels like we are still at that stage with mental illnesses. If we are going to help people like me to be able to better assist our loved ones with their challenges, we NEED more open public discussion on the topic. Thank you! Don B, Spring, TX

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