I am picturing my version of a Walk-a-Thon to support access and research for Mental Illness. I am not sure in what colour everyone has chosen to dress. There are men and women here. Both bathrooms are being used equally. Some of the group is very enthusiastic. Some are not so excited. Everyone here is holding on to a rope and walking with their group. There are ropes of many colours.
There is a long rope held by the survivors, those of us that have been in the cuckoo's nest, afflicted
There are the amazing people who support those who struggle with mental illness. The nurses, doctors, many different healthcare professionals with varying backgrounds all trying to find the right mix of medication and support that will address the very individual needs of each of their clients. There are the educators who work with our children to assure their success. These people have chosen to work in a field that does not appeal to many. This group advocates and supports and they have made this walk possible.
We hope there are policy makers. The longer the rope the better. People who can use the funds raised today to improve access for all individuals. The 'higher-ups" need to see all the
Families and friends are out in droves. They are walking to raise money and awareness
Parents of young children, who themselves may have struggled for years, are walking for their "problem" child. Some of these kids are here too. Some hold the rope very tightly. The "hyper" ones run ahead. The "slow" ones lag behind and there are those kids who just flat out refuse to hold the rope. The parents are hoping this walk will help to make their child's world more aware and accepting and perhaps realize that an accurate diagnosis and treatment can make this child's life better than theirs has been.
There is a relatively new group to the walk They are here because awareness is developing and young adults are showing up now with a stronger sense of comfort at this Walk. Their parents and supporters are holding the rope with them, despite how overwhelmed they feel. Many are deemed "helicopter parents" by those who don't understand that advocacy cannot always be done by the individual at risk.
There is another group that is absent today. They couldn't come to this Walk because they are hospitalized at this time. A team of healthcare providers is working very hard to stabilize them so they can participate next year. Some are in the hospital willingly because they understand the risks associated with their disease. They may have lost someone and seek the treatment that is not available to all. There are those who do not choose to be admitted, but they are safe. They are off the cliff.
Another bunch of people might have been somewhat unwelcome here today. Their rope is all musty and doesn't smell very good. Perhaps they aren't here because they have no shoes. We all know them, but we may not have graciously welcomed them. It reminds many that each person, but for the support and access we take for granted, might have been us.
Today's Walk is just a snapshot. Many of us have held different ropes at different times. We nod at each other to show understanding and support. There are so many symptoms, diseases and over lap that I can't hope to include all the ropes. The diagnosis and treatment of mental illness is vast, complicated and ever changing.
Well I see there are a lot of people on this Walk. It would certainly be an interesting group. These are the nicest people in the world. There is ever a dull moment with us nut balls. It would be long day of mixed emotions. With any luck at all the sun would shine on this day. A dark and rainy day for this Walk would just be cruel.