Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Entitlement issues?

I happened to be there for a conversation between a deacon from one church and someone who had worked in the outreach program at another church that helped people with needs like rent and utility bills. Skilled in the art of standing up for myself, ... I kept my mouth mostly shut, because I wasn't up to hearing that the case I presented was the exception rather than the rule, that people with mental illness could handle doing such-and-such, etc. So instead, like all "good" bloggers, I'll just post my opinion on the internet.

Entitlement issues. How often have I heard that saying about "my" generation. And who would have the most annoying entitlement issues but the ones with the most obvious needs? Lets just take folks with mental illness. And over generalize, since the "other side" is overgeneralizing too.

So, do people with mental illness have entitlement issues? I mean, when they ask for help. I mean, more than a normal person. I mean, do these people have outstanding, unreasonable entitlement issues?

Well, you could stick all of us in locked hospitals, but that isn't advantageous either to those locked in nor to those who remain on the outside. For the outside, it is expensive. For the inside, it is... unpleasant, humiliating, exhausting, etc. So let's just agree that neither the complainers nor the "entitlement issues" people think hospitalization across the board is a good idea.

So let's get back to asking for help.

Some people with mental illness, especially when their illness is strong, would rather die than be a burden. But are they allowed? No. So what can/should they do instead? What if their mental illness is such that they can't work or can't work full time? Well, let's see. They could go to the government for help (and be seen as having entitlement issues). They could go to churches for help (and be seen as having entitlement issues). They could ask friends or family for help (and be seen as having entitlement issues).

What do the complainers (i.e. those who judge others to have entitlement issues) want? On the one hand, believing we have a right to food, a home, light, heat, medical care, etc., is considered an entitlement issue. But on the other, believing we don't deserve food, a home, light, heat, or medical care, etc., is considered either super spiritual or a symptom of a mental illness and generally an unhealthy outlook. I have found such a "non-entitled" viewpoint not conducive to life, that state which we are supposed to stay in.

So I tell myself that I am worthy of food, my own apartment (still not quite believing that one), light, heat, medical care, etc. That, in a sense, I deserve it based on my status as a human. Thus, I intentionally foster what might be construed as an entitlement issue. I will try to be polite about it.

But suppose I went to the one church for help. Let's say I was super depressed, hanging on by my fingernails, with plenty of anxiety for good measure. And let's say I worked up the incredible courage and humility to walk in and ask for help. And they said, "We love you, but this isn't our problem. THis is your problem, and you should have done something earlier." At this point, I'm ready to crawl beneath the earth (well, I already would be just with the depression and anxiety, but this would reinforce it). And they said, Well, we'll give you such-and-such money if you work so many volunteer hours and/or attend certain church sponsored meetings. So then, I suppose I'd be exhausted, further humiliated, ready to cry, shutting down communication. I say okay and speedily walk back to my car - the one I don't deserve to have and that I don't need since there is free public transportation, even if it is pretty scanty. Suppose I have myself a cry and go hide under my covers at home. Suppose a week later I get a final notice for my rent or utility bill or something. So desperation prompts me to call back. And they say, well, you have to go to two meetings and do some volunteer work, and then we'll give you money. And they feel bad, but they know they have to hold the line. Otherwise people like me would take advantage of them.

So there I would be, under my covers, unable to afford my life, seen as having entitlement issues, potentially wishing for death.

Yeah, we'd better worry about entitlement issues. Let's put that at the top of the list, over rent, utilities, medical bills, hey, even being able to afford medication.

Or what if we just talked about manners and phrased our requests politely. Which is hard to do the more often you have to request and the less often anyone responds.

Well, I'm glad that was a ficticious what if. It was rather depressing.

Now I'd better return to my factual life, the one that has a Human Anatomy Final tonight. The one I should study for before going back to work.

1 comment:

  1. Abigail, You make a lot of good points with your "what if" scenario. The last thing someone suffering needs to worry about is whether or not he or she is acting entitled. We're all in this together, and we need to help each other. Sure, I think there are some people--I would say a very few--that take advantage of others. But that shouldn't harden us to people who genuinely need help, and we should have the compassion to help.

    Good luck on your final! :-)