My new pharmacy is in a posh area of town. The old one nearby had closed. It seems to that, at this store, this neighbourhood, it’s not ok for me to walk away from deli calling a lady taking up my lunchtime time with a big party order, a “hog” to the people I was with.

Social etiquette, I found, is based on discrimination.

The next time I went to this grocery store, the whole store staff was reluctant to serve me. First, the customer service counter balked at selling me gift card that I had needed as a downpayment for meds delivery. Then the pharmacy staff were haughty, distant, and dismissive. There seems to be a new memo on my record.

Not kidding and not exaggerating, they were profiling since early days. A certain male cashier would take the time to go through the stack of notes to give me the rattiest $2 bill (pre-toonie days). Literally wasting the time of people behind me.

This happened before at the old pharmacy of the same grocery chain. The staff were mostly unfriendly. They wouldn’t chitchat with meat the cash register. Not even a hello, how are you, even though the person before me and behind me were verbally greeted. This one lady at the pharmacy insisted I swipe my customer card each time I paid for my psych meds. Why, I asked. She threateningly said “because I’m being a good employee by having you do so.”

When I complained to the grocery’s headquarters, over the bad experiences their staff gave to a loyal customer, they installed self-checkouts and made no apology.

Now, how many of you during #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth can recount the number of times it was deemed ok for human servers to laughingly call you a nut job, a cray cray, a social reject, and that you deserved everything you got as divine punishment? We live in 2023. We have a Canadian Prime Minister committed to equality for all. “Nothing without us,” goes the disability inclusion motto. 

We also are known to be living in the “safest and nicest country in the world,” but, somewhere along the line, we took a turn towards hypocrisy. We real Canadians are not nice. I’m glad to live in Canada but I’m calling ourselves out on this one.

If we don’t take care of one another we are worse than the Chinese. We are as bad as the Russians. You think smugly you bought a bracelet to help support Ukraine and show solidarity. Good! But you also have an attitude of being anti-mentally ill. We have such a bedrock and wealth of emotional resources to use. What happened to the Canada I grew up in and loved?

When things do go wrong, why do you scapegoat the mentally ill? Why is it still ok to make persons with the misfortune of bad brain chemistry and biology, who already suffer enough from the ravages of mental illness, to only have yourselves show either indifference or schadenfreude towards violence and abuse against the mentally ill and vulnerable?

This happens from TV talk shows to preacher’s podium, and other social platforms on the Internet. It’s ok to slag a schizophrenic but don’t you dare get your co-worker’s pronouns wrong. Islamophobia is rightly condemnable. Ageism is being shouted out. Autism is being recognized. 

But every time there is a stabbing, an arson, or an assault, it is chalked up to mental illness. Don’t you know by now? Some people are sane and mentally intact but just decide evil is what they want. There really are evil people. You stigmatized those who cannot fight back. Have not voice. No resources. You’re pinning the blame on the already vulnerable and making their lives exponentially worse. 

You pick on the needy. Meanwhile, if you decide hypothetically that it’s summer and this pair of sunglasses would look good on you, would you steal it? Chalk it up erroneously or not to CTPSD? PMS? How about Munchausen by proxy? Or that it was simply a mistake but that was really the best you could do that day? 

Stop calling criminal action a mental health incident. And if you still pin the blame on us, I just hope your favourite child doesn’t end up like us. It’s the worst hell your kid will ever go through.

©️Vic Young 2023 All Rights Reserved.

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