A young Maltese woman has opened up about the viciousness she faced in society because she’s in a loving relationship with someone who has been open about his mental illness.
Karin Cassar and her boyfriend Matthew were hanging out when they were approached by someone who couldn’t deal with Karin’s love for someone who is different from themselves.
“Yesterday, my boyfriend and I were insulted. I was called a ‘weakling’ because I have a ‘schizophrenic boyfriend’,” Karin said.
“When I approached the person who said this, he told me he was ‘just stating facts’… like it’s a fact that having a mental health problem or having a boyfriend with a mental health problem makes you weak – it’s not,” she continued.
Karin was left wondering how someone her age could be so closed-minded and negative about mental illness.
“If we’re still educating people my age (who may or may not be reading a university course which can be very related to this topic) on mental health, then we really do have a long way to go.”
Malta’s made progress in understanding mental illness over the last few years, but there’s clearly a lot of work that still needs to be done, and Karin and Matthew’s experience is testament to that.
Karin spoke about how Matthew has previously talked to people about his personal experience, going to schools amongst other places to educate Maltese youths about the realities of mental health and the struggles that can come from it.
“We have been through difficult times related to his mental health. We have been through difficult times related to my mental health. We have been through difficult times which were completely unrelated to mental health,” she said.
“I can say a lot of things about my boyfriend, but one thing that he definitely is not is weak.”
She ended by calling to anyone who has dealt with mental illness by remembering how strong they are to have dealt with whatever they’ve dealt with, and not to let anything else define who you are.
“If you have schizophrenia, if you have depression, if you have anxiety, if you have an eating disorder, if you have any mental health-related problem, it does not mean that you are weak,” she said.
“If you are supporting someone who has a mental health-related problem and you are also struggling with something, it doe not make you weak. Quite the opposite, it makes you admirable and strong,” she continued.
“Your ‘weak points’ do not define you. Don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise.”
Her post has received nearly 200 shares, with people from all walks of life commenting in agreement with Karin’s truthful and honest message on mental illness.
If this story has affected you and you’d like to talk to a professional, you can seek help on the freephone for mental-wellbeing by Richmond Foundation on 1770.