Saturday, October 20, 2012


I find this to be a facinating topic. In my past occupations I have been a beach gate attendant at a provincial park, a travel counselor, a cashier, a golf clubhouse attendant, and a factory line worker. For those not in the know, I am currently not working, due to longterm mental illness. My diagnoses include: generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, elements of obsessive compulsive disorder, and a phobia.

Unfortunately many in our society, Christian and non, still believe that if you are a REAL man, you will be the breadwinner, and not just on a pension. They might not come right out and say it, but that's what many of them are thinking. When I was living with my wife and children, and even now as I live alone, people still say well, if you were working you'd feel better about yourself, somehow more complete. Other people seem to be more concerned that I do not have a paying job, than I am. Funny thing is, if a woman is at home looking after kids or not, it is okay. Can you say sexism? I would like to make a few points for your consideration.

1. Having a paying job outside the home does not make you more valuable of a member of society or of your family. I know people who seem to make a habit of telling me how hard they worked that day or week, and how much money they made/make. One day I was at the park with my kids and I saw a former co-worker and I asked him how he was doing. He came back with, "I", emphasis on the "I", worked all day, I'm tired. The insinuation was that I was not really working because I was only involved in child care. Some people's ego rides on the fact that they have a job or a better job than you.

2 Another common thing I get, sometimes not in word, but just in how people treat me is, well Dave you can go out for coffee with a friend, or Dave you can go to the library and write music reviews, but you're telling me you can't work? Something just doesn't add up. The insinuation is that I am damn well faking it and could be working some. I have been guilty of this line of thinking towards other people as well.

3. There is a world of difference between me or someone else with mental illness doing something fun and holding down a job, a responsibility. If someone had a physical illness that prevented them from working, would you make them feel guilty about getting together with a friend for a couple hours or having a bit of fun. Would you expect them to be confined to their house, laying in their bed 24/7.

4. Before you make assumptions that I or anyone else with mental illnesses is faking it or being lazy and living off the government just cause they can, get to know the facts about mental illness. Do you truly know what it's like to live with severe panic attacks, phobias, anxieties, depression etc. If you don't I am available to talk with you. Call or message me anytime and I will tell you what it's like to be sitting in my living room watching tv and feel like I am being choked or could pass out due to an anxiety attack.

5. Listen folks, do you know how little money one lives on when they are on a disability pension? Do you not think I'd like to have more money? If I were at the point I could be working I would. If I ever enter the workplace again, it will only be through a lot of hard work, and people praying. If that time does not come for me, I refuse to believe I am of less value than you just cuz I don't have a paying job.

6. Another zinger is when people come to me and say things like: "Well, if you only had more faith and really wanted to be freed of your mental illnesses, then God would heal you. Healing is available for you." Unfortunately, Christians do that with people who have cancer and other physical ailments as well. It shows a complete and utter ignorance in my opinion. Yes, God does choose to 100% heal some folks on this earth, but others don't have that luxury for reasons only God knows.

7. My point is, if you know someone who has mental illness and you just don't understand them, and think they are kind of using it as an excuse not to work or do other things, get to know that person better. Learn to walk in their shoes.

8. Christians place so much authority on the Bible and its standards of perfection, that they don't allow for psychological issues people may have that predispose them to have certain compulsions, addictions, etc. Christians oft are not willing to extend grace and mercy, but point one big finger to the Word of God.

9. One final point. Many friends and family are so uncomfortable discussing mental illness, they show zero concern for the one suffering. It is like if one is mentally ill, they are akin to a leper. In other words, avoid the topic like the plague. This has dire consequences for both parties. Lack of understanding will prevail.

My cell is 519 375 5222.