The stigma attached to psychiatric disorders reminds me of other assumptions we make in our daily lives because we do not know or understand the truth. We believe the speculations passed down to us for generations. We are told that “Cops love coffee and donuts.” Who doesn’t? But what about the diabetic cops? Or the cops trying to avoid sugar for other reasons? The cops who direly need to stay away from caffeine for health concerns? There are always exceptions. The same goes for mental illness. Everyone struggles with the donuts they are dealt. Many people experience trauma that sticks with them throughout their whole lives. Some experience stomach aches full of dread for indiscernible reasons.
Mental illness comes in different forms, as various as donut flavors. My flavor is Schizoaffective Disorder. It is a combination of Schizophrenia and Bipolar I Disorder, a chocolate covered donut with cream filling. I would not change that part of my being, much like I would not change my donut preference. There is nothing wrong with that flavor or any other, just a difference in taste. Figuratively, this donut burden is something I carry with me every day.
I have accepted my truth, with the hope that others will no longer be afraid to step out of the shadows with their donuts. I find it more aesthetically pleasing to speak about mental illness in a soft, positive and metaphorical way. I often personify my mental illness and have named him “Berman.” Today, he represents donuts of every flavor. I no longer see my “differences” as a curse, but as a blessing. I strive to distance others from their “curse,” and to see the upside. Many people have mental illness. Many people have a favorite donut flavor, which describes their situation. What’s your flavor?