In trying to present analogies which illuminate the pain of mental illness and the anguish these sufferers bear, I witnessed the following scene.
While standing outside of Macy's , I noticed a man who had obviously suffered with polio, or an illness which brought extensive limitations to his limbs. His arms were disfigured and he propelled himself with two crutches that barely stabilized his forward movements.
Each step held the possibility of catastrophe as he flailed to maintain balance. These exhausting motions required constant rest against a light pole, a store window, a mailbox.
It took nearly fifteen minutes for him to move down a single block.
While deeply touched by the courage of his hard won independent mobility, I thought... this is what it is like for a person with mental illness to try to negotiate his day. The simplest task, the most benign interpersonal exchange presents challenge of exhausting proportions.