For people who don’t know me, I have a mental illness. I have been diagnosed for many years with schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type), which means I can hear things and see things that you might not hear or see. I have days when I’m incredibly slow and depressed. My dress is also eccentric, but I take pride in wearing my trinkets.
I try my hardest every day. I take medication, which helps, but my condition is not curable, and the meds don’t work perfectly. Unfortunately, my condition will progressively get worse, and I don’t want to lose my connection with the community.
My illness is something I was born with — it’s nothing I did wrong, and there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it. I have a great team of people that supports me with my finances, my home healthcare, medication and counseling. I have met many great people in our community who are nice to me and treat me like a regular person.
What I struggle with is the way people who don’t know me treat me. It hurts my feelings when people stare at me and whisper about me behind my back. It scares me when people drive their vehicles aggressively toward me or in front of my home. When passersby throw garbage at me or in my yard, I feel targeted.
Part of my disability includes paranoia. When I experience these things, I feel fearful. I struggle to make a safe and comfortable place at my home, but in order to do that, I need my home and my hometown to be a safe place for me.
If you see me in public, helping hands are appreciated. I am a nice guy, and I love having friends. If you feel comfortable, please come up to me and say “hi.” Otherwise, it would be great to just leave me to my business. If you know where I live, please respect my privacy. Please don’t stare at me, please don’t make fun of me and please treat me with the same respect of person and property as you expect others to give you.
I welcome all in the light that there is. Thank you to all!
Andrew E. Wright