Physical hurts are usually evident -- cuts, bruises, discomfort. All of these are pronounced signs that someone is in pain. Caregivers immediately respond to these injuries and help others through the mending process.
On the other hand, mental hurts are often masked by those who suffer. People ache inside, but often they do not want to reveal their problems because doing so is often perceived as a sign of weakness or instability. A person with psychological pain runs the risk of being judged insane and basically unfit to lead a normal existence.
Mental hurts run the gamut of minor to severe injuries. As simple as a headache or as complex as clinical depression, mental hurts affect everyone. Some are easily treatable and temporary. Others involve chronic, life-long pain. Those who suffer from the worst mental hurts often do not understand how to deal with their suffering until they experience a major complication that requires professional treatment.
Seeking treatment for severe mental hurts involves a deep stigma in itself, and once the illness is diagnosed, the patient undergoes rigorous treatment. This treatment usually involves a regimen of ongoing aid -- therapy and medication. Mental illness is treatable, not curable.
People with severe mental hurts must adjust their lives just as anyone with a chronic physical hurt must. Remodeling behaviors is a difficult process for these people. And again, problems arise because the sufferer feels obligated to veil discomfort or risk certain sanctions of a disapproving community. Injured, wounded brains are not accepted by the "normal" but instead judged to be incompetent and "touched" by varying degrees of madness.
Learning to be a "good" mental patient involves building a veneer of normality. But that overlay can crack under pressures. When this happens, the mental hurts of a patient explode, and the public again affirms their view of the "crazy" incompetence of a patient's character. As the splinters of hurt cannot be contained, the patient feels a rush of emotion that involves rage, jealousy, frustration, negativity, and shame. Damage control can never appease the normal folk, nor should it. The people involved live in two separate but intertwined worlds.
Those with mental hurts have a very important purpose. They serve as a measure for those who keep a degree of sanity as their trusted friend. The "sane" can readily view unacceptable standards of existence and, thus, practice their beliefs and actions within a range of widely accepted normality. The scapegoats of "crazies" become convenient offerings for the wrongs and evils inherent in the world.
A brush with a hurt of an injured mind is a sign of irreparable infirmity to most. To many, it is purely wicked and stems straight from the heart of darkness. These pure souls believe only the devil could demonize a normal human and inflict mental deficiencies. They believe all mental hurts can be cured by becoming "right with God." To them, refusal to accept denominational doctrine spells damnation for those who suffer illness of the brain. To hell with the damnable refuse.
In short, those with mental hurts learn to understand the value of keeping within themselves. As unfortunate situations occur and their hurts become obvious to the world, friends accept that a once-trusted human has gone "mental." Now that person has to be tolerated and not fully trusted. So, the hurting individual responds by making emotional changes, many of which are not "normal" to others.
Those with mental hurts develop hardened emotions and practice unconventional strategies to deal with their deformities. Despite their efforts, shame is their constant companion. Although most don't want to "bleed" in public, they occasionally "hemorrhage" uncontrollably at the worst possible times, causing chaos and pain for others. They soon realize their insides should remain obscured. But, their occasional lack of control is inevitable, sure to cause shame again.
In the long run, those who are mentally hurt feel little or no joy. Others constantly try to offer means of change for their deadened emotions; however, very often the mentally hurt just can't seem to remain uplifted without being sedated and acting artificial -- the "goofy and the Prozac happy zombies." Most realize they would rather suffer with mild medication and the foils of living as one on an uneven keel.
Old age causes cataracts to develop in the distinct perception of those who suffer severe mental hurt. Loss of memory and confusion contribute to inconsistent control. As loneliness and isolation become deeper, mental hurts take on new roles for the aged. Older people become convinced that certain "things" have contributed to their infirmity. They place blame of any perceived villain of the past, and they rage against fate itself.
If a mental hurt is a progressive illness, the only savior for the sufferer is a steadfast friend. Mistakes, problems, fuck ups, and a progressive downhill slide are going to occur. The saving grace for the mentally hurt is obscurity. The pains become livable when minimized with the association of a trusted few. Thank God some can understand the hurt are just suffering human beings who need love.