I am female and I am male.
I am black and I am white; I am all ethnic groups.
I am old and I am young and somewhere in between.
I am Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Agnostic.
I am rich and I am poor, and I am middle class.
I am educated and I am uneducated.
I am a professional and I am a blue collar worker.
I am a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a son, a daughter, a wife
and a husband.
I am me and I am you; I am one of millions of Americans.
I have been diagnosed with an illness; my illness is not of the body,
but of the mind.
I am no longer who I once was and I don’t understand why.
Sometimes I feel high and then sometimes I am low.
I am anxious, frightened and sometimes I panic.
And sometimes I hear voices and I see things that others do not, as
they seem to be real only to me.
I am sad and feel unworthy and I am often times without hope.
I know people look at me and treat me differently – my friends,
co-workers, and even my family.
I don’t understand why people think I am the way I am because I want to be – no one
would want a brain illness by choice.
These same people do not think that someone with a physical illness such
as cancer, heart disease or other chronic illnesses are sick because they want to be.
I cannot always speak for myself and even if I did, no one would listen – so I ask you to
speak for me.
Please provide me a safe place to be and give me your kindness and understanding
and treat me with the dignity and respect that I believe I still have a right to expect.
LINDEN LODGE – A SAFE PLACE TO BE.
By Marianne Kernan
Adapted from Mountain Area Hospice