The other day, my four year old son asked me “are you a robber mum?” In my defense, I should quickly add here that no – I am most definitely not a thief.
However, I do have a fondness for rescuing unloved, unwanted items left out for the dump truck. Case in point my lovely, new white side-board in the picture below.
Three weeks ago, it was on death-row, left out in a pile of hard rubbish – hours away from being splintered into a million pieces and on its way to the tip.
Driving past with my four year old son, I glanced it out of the corner of my eye and quickly slammed on the brakes. Getting out of the car to take a closer look, I noted that – under a layer of grime – it was actually a beautifully shaped, elegant piece of furniture.
Somehow, I managed to get it into the back of my small hatchback car and drive it around the corner to its new home.
A bucket of soapy water, some elbow grease and a coat of fresh paint later – my new sideboard table was happily nestled in my family room.
Glancing at it while watching a DVD tonight, it made me think of myself and others with mental illness.
I’ve shared before about the time I spent acutely unwell in a psychiatric hospital after the birth of my first baby.
In a locked ward for six weeks, I can still remember the look of fear and disgust on the faces of the nurses and “carers”. The way they seemed to look right through me – without seeing the person inside.
They didn’t see the person that I actually was – the loving wife, daughter, sister, friend and faithful employee. They only saw me in my current state – psychotic, delusional and resistant to being medicated.
My sense of self-worth fell and I started to believe that I was the person they saw. That I was someone not to be listened to. Not to be left alone. Not to be trusted.
Being in a psychiatric ward felt like the equivalent of being put out for hard-rubbish. My true-self and my potential overlooked because of my brokenness.
Today, like my side-table, I am one of the “lucky ones”. I am well and I am home with my family.
Yet, I can’t help but wonder about those with a mental illness who aren’t so blessed. Those who don’t have caring family and friends to get them the help they so desperately need. Those who are out there tonight – roaming the streets, living rough, going hungry.
I pray that someone will notice them, see past the symptoms of their illness and – like I did with that sideboard – see their true potential.
Have you ever felt like people were treating your symptoms, but not really seeing the real you?
3 thoughts on “Too good for the rubbish dump”
How true that some people judge you when you’re at your most vulnerable. Your rescued sideboard looks great!
Thanks Anne! I think the sideboard looks great too… just need to get some handles to finish it off! It is sad that people often judge those with mental illness when they’re most vulnerable. Hopefully by sharing our stories with others, we can educate people about the fact that mental illness can affect anyone at any time.