The Humanity We All Share

From "A Tale of Mental Illness – from the Inside," by Elyn Saks, TEDGlobal2012:

"There are not 'schizophrenics.' There are people with schizophrenia, and these people may be your spouse, they may be your child, they may be your neighbor, they may be your friend, they may be your coworker...

Recently, a friend posed a question: If there were a pill I could take that would instantly cure me, would I take it?

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke was offered psychoanalysis. He declined, saying, 'Don't take my devils away, because my angels may flee too.'

My psychosis, on the other hand, is a waking nightmare in which my devils are so terrifying that all my angels have already fled. So would I take the pill? In an instant.

That said, I don't wish to be seen as regretting the life I could have had if I'd not been mentally ill, nor am I asking anyone for their pity.

What I rather wish to say is that the humanity we all share is more important than the mental illness we may not.

What those of us who suffer with mental illness want is what everybody wants: in the words of Sigmund Freud, 'to work and to love.'"


See also: 

Saks, E. R. (2015). The center cannot hold: My journey through madness. New York: Hachette Book. (Goodreads, library)