On Mental Illness:Remembering to Give Thanks

By Jack Bragen
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 05:58:00 PM

If I stop myself from complaining for a little while and realize that I am fortunate in life, there are numerous things that come to mind that I ought to be grateful about. 

Although I have a lifelong battle with mental illness, my lot is more comfortable and privileged than that of most people on Earth. I am lucky, as a person with severe mental illness, that I have retained my civil rights and that I am not subject to long term incarceration. I am lucky that medications have been discovered that allow me to live a relatively normal existence. I am fortunate that the U.S. has public benefits for disabled people so that I do not have to work to survive. 

I am fortunate that I have a caring family that provides me with help when I am in need. I am lucky to have a kind and caring psychiatrist and also a fantastic family practice doctor both of whom are paid with my Medicare and Medi-Cal. I am lucky that my teeth continue not to have problems, since it would be difficult to pay for dental work. 

I am glad that I don’t have to go hungry; something that many people on Earth must endure. 

I am lucky to live in an oasis of common sense, in which I don’t have to deal with violence, and I am not forced to live with abuse. I am fortunate that my apartment has a new air conditioner; it allowed me to get through the summer. 

I am blessed to be married to my wife, who is the love of my life and who is very patient with my problems. I am fortunate my physical health continues to be good. 

I am glad to live in a country that has freedom of speech, so that I don’t have to be afraid of punishment in retaliation for expressing myself. I am fortunate to be a published author, fortunate that the Daily Planet continues to publish my writing, and that people are interested in what I have to say. 

I believe we are all lucky that President Obama is currently in office and not a Neanderthal-minded Republican. And we are all fortunate to live in a country that allows its citizens to have basic liberties. And we are lucky that we even have a holiday such as Thanksgiving, in which excess food is the rule and not starvation. 

I am lucky that I continue to have all of my mental faculties after experiencing several devastating psychotic episodes. I am fortunate that I have been given talent. I am lucky that I am still alive in the first place, after experiencing situations in which I could have died. 

Thank you, Universe, God, or Whatever Created Me, and thank you, the reader.