Living with mental illness

It is not easy to write a blog post and say I suffer from mental illness. It feels like this is something I should keep to myself. There is certain amounts of stigmatisation. From my experience workplaces in Trinidad need to be more open to hiring mentally ill persons. Persons should not be afraid to say that they are mentally ill and would require certain allowances like work from home, time off for monthly clinic visits, paid sabaticals and enclosed cubicles for example. In general we need better allowances for the differently abled in Trinidad and Tobago.

The disability grant that the differently abled get is not enough to get by. It assumes that you have a place to stay or you are living with your parents. At the very least the government should be making incremental increases. Also special provisions can be made for dental work, wheel chairs, other equipment and other needs. TATT for example has a great subsidy program of $600 towards the purchase of a smart phone for the differently abled.

The mental health outpatient clinics are pretty organised and works well from my experience but I don't know if everyone has the same experience as me. We need a new mental health hospital in Trinidad similar to ones that exist in the better developed countries. Families need to take care of their mentally ill relatives. My mom has been my number one supporter and for this I am eternally grateful. Not everyone has supportive relatives.

Living with mental illness for me has its ups and downs. From periods of joys to periods of sadness and frustration. We often have to miss out on things. Taking medication and having to deal with side effects is not easy. Society expects and rewards persons for being normal. A lot of the homeless suffer from mental illness and are not treated humanely. The other night I dreamt I was working for a big company and I had to rally for rights for the differently abled employees. It felt so real and powerful that I couldn't sleep the rest of the night after being awoken by that dream. It feels like the only time things get done and noticed is when we have protests. But protests should be peaceful.


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