A Safe Place to Be

Hello, my name is Jane Doe, my name is John Doe.

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.


By Marianne Kernan

Adapted from Mountain Area Hospice

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