Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cage fight: Mental versus physical disability!

I am enraged. I went to see the soloist. The soloist is about how a mental illness can destroy the life of a gifted man. A man who ends up at the streets of Los Angeles, one of the 60,000 homeless people there. Many of the homeless have mental disabilities.

Mental disabilities are incredibly underestimated by many people because it does not show. You often cannot see when the person behind you in line at the supermarket has a mental disability. You won't see that it took all the energy that person had to go and do the shoppings.

When someone is missing a limb, it is easy for an outsider to have compassion because we can imagine how difficult it has to be to get around with one leg, in a wheelchair, not seeing anything, or being deaf. But there is more to it. It is very hard for us to imagine that your brain is taken over by voices that talk to you. How do you imagine that? How do you imagine that your brain is not working the way it is working? It is not like hearing voices like we do. We can shut those voices out because they are from outside our brain. That is easy. But when those voices come from the inside, how do you shut those off with the brain that is making them?

In the movie, Mr Ayers has paranoid schizophrenia. It is just one of the many versions of mental disabilities. There are many more. Some milder, some more severe.

What I hope is that our society becomes more social, and starts to treat mentally disabled people with more dignity.... You can always hope.

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