Monday, May 5, 2008

Ignorance and Stigma is Still Well and Alive

This afternoon my husband and I went to see a rental house (not the one we decided on). The landlord met us there and showed us the inside. In casual conversation, the small town where we we live was brought up and the landlord replied he left the area because "They were building a nuthouse nearby and I was not ok with that. ...them being dangerous and all" I knew what he was referring to as I've heard that term used all too many times in a degrogatory manner and I was shocked and angered by that statement about anyone with a mental disability or mental illness. Furthermore it dawned on me that he may have been referring to my workplace, a local residential facility for inviduals with developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges, the only one in that area that is known. I tersley told him, I believe he was talking about my employer and the clients we serve. My husband added that they (the clients) might of been like that just a long time ago. I then told the man that they've come a long way with behavior modification and those clients needed a safe place to get the help and treatment they needed and we are careful about keeping them safe. And it was especially hurtful to me too because I have a mental illness, it's hard not to take that personal, you know? At that point, my husband asked where it was and he said a neighborhood that we're not familar with in the town, but still, you just don't talk about individuals with mental disabilities or mental illnesses like that. Ugh, I couldn't wait to leave.

Previous Comments:

Well, every neighborhood has a "nuthouse" or two...usually identified by the folks who still have a blinking musical Santa in July :) In any case, the residents of assisted living homes enjoy a fair amount of supervision and help with day-to-day life skills, right? Unlike, say, the 12 year old drug dealers in my current neighborhood, or the frat boys in my old neighborhood.


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