Too good for the rubbish dump

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.

Hard rubbish recycled table

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.

Mariska xx

Have you ever felt like people were treating your symptoms, but not really seeing the real you?