Doctors/Many people describes ILLNESS as crazy, mental, disable, disease, sickness, unhealthy, attack, disorder, bug, disability etc…That’s the World and many people that live in that definition or view when they hear or see the word ILLNESS. My definition of ILLNESS is different from what doctors and the world we live in think and view it is and diagnose people with, it’s more than any sickness.

The meaning of I.L.L.N.E.S.S to me is not the label they slap on Humans when they are disabled, sick, “crazy” or “mental” as they would say (The World we live in). It’s more than that – it’s the PEOPLE/PERSON that struggles with this disease called illness, how they battle illness on a daily basis for months and years, how they overcome or never overcome this illness, how this person still wakes up every day in challenges. This thing called illness no matter what, how they struggle with it without reaching for help, how crazy they think they are/people think they are, not successful and how they are prisoners of illness. I’m speaking from a person that experiences illness.

The word ILLNESS itself alone looks complicated when you see it, like do you ever wonder how people comes up and spell things and words we use on a daily basics? I do, especially when it comes to the word illness like how did the word ever come about, who invented the word, who said this is how you spell it, who said this is the exact spelling and who said it was ok to label people that’s reaching out for help with things they battle with or that’s disable with the word ILLNESS? Labels I guess but we living in a world where everything & everybody comes with labels, we are not born with a ‘’This How Life will Goes Manual/Things You Will Battle in Life.’ We are born with names not labels. The World I/We live in today is so hateful, disfunction, racist & violent because we label things & one another. I just don’t live in a World where things and people are labeled I live in a community that’s labeled & has always been labeled for decades no matter the good or bad, Imagine that? We as a whole suffer as a community and our skin color cause of labels.

I was born and raised in Englewood and still live in Englewood as we speak. By My Grandparents who brought a house to raise they kids, grandkids and great grandkids, that house still stands as we speak. So when u hear/read things I say or speak of when it comes to Englewood it’s because I’m a living witness and still witnessing the lives of people there in have for 26 years ,so I’ve seen the good, the bad, the ugly, the love, the hate people give us, the hate we give, the joy, Poverty, Lack of Resources, Mental Illness, Gun Violence, Drugs, Homelessness, Police killings, Police brutally etc… you name it I have lived thru it in seen it all. In My Community that they label with the word illness, don’t get me wrong it’s illness all thru My Community but a different kind of illness it’s a illness that’s been trending for decades, I myself define illness as Trauma, No Support, No Resources, Police Killings, Single Parenting, Can’t get jobs, Police Brutally, Domestic Violence, Abandoned houses/apartments, millions of homeless people, schools closing, no safe place for our kids to play & enjoy etc… I can go on but you get it those are things I define when it comes to ILLNESS in my community even tho some are facing mental illness, disable, unhealthy, drug abuse etc…. My definition of illness in my community leads to the illness that doctors diagnose/ give meds to is the last stage of unhealthy illness if you ask me.

I personally never thought of or thought I would ever go thru Mental Illness/ Illness like I always was living thru it didn’t pay attention til I got older and I started noticing the things I was struggling with in my community and world which affected me and also led me to abuse of drugs daily. I’m a mother of a busy 2 year old and also a single mother. Mental Illness/Illness started hitting me on a personal level meaning I’m a single mother, Raising My child on my own, No help, No job, No resources for me or my baby so I can at least give her a better life, so that also led me to keep abusing drugs for a year straight before I said anything to anybody and I will say speaking up about an illness is not something a lot of people will do. It takes courage. The 1st time I spoke on it to a family member about being depressed, can’t sleep, can’t eat & abusing drugs they laughed and said “ You will get over what you going thru u not depress get over that shit.” I never spoke on it again til 6 months later to Erin and I told her I was tired of going thru it I need help, I’m not embarrass about it, I’ll take meds. I  need the help. Erin took action the minute we hung up and called back within an hour. She had used the resources she had and knew to get me some help and I was able to start taking meds the next day. 

I’m telling you this because I’ve been back in my depression mode for 2 weeks and I isolate myself from the World when I go thru depression. And today I reached out to the Peace house to use the car to move me and my daughter things in as I’m using the car in returns back to the Peace House I took a older person by the name of Ms.Gwen who I have know for years in also stay in the community years to get her meds. She was telling me about a woman that lives in our community in how she didn’t have heat that she wanted me to swing by this woman house to get cause she also was picking up meds too. As we get to the woman house in let her know we were outside she came out after a few seconds as she got in the car she had this strong smell on her that will make u dizzy, not a stank smell a smell of carbon monoxide I didn’t say anything just continue to drive to get they meds. But I’m over hearing her talk to Ms.Gwen about the things they were struggling with inside they home besides no heat. 

After we got done getting both Rose and Ms. Gwen’s meds, Ms. Gwen ask if I can take them to the Alderman office (Raymond Lopez) to see if he can assist with anything/help. As she starts talking to Lopez about her house he’s wringing in emailing for help/resources Rose started to cry. Lopez tapped me and asked if I can grab the box of Kleenex out his office on the desk so Rose can wipe her face. As we sitting there mind you Me and Lopez just met Rose we are sitting here listening to her tell us not only did she reach out for help from family members, home care people etc. that they all said they will get back to her in never did. We also learn that not only did her in her husband who use to serve our country didn’t have heat that they pipes bust 2 weeks ago so they water pressure was running low, they furnace has been out since October so they were using 1 heater in 1 socket that work thru the whole house we also learned that the Fire Department came out because they carbon monoxide device wouldn’t stop going off, Lopez stop her in the middle in ask what did the fire department say she said they told her to STOP boiling water (mind you they are trying to keep warm) in gave a paper in left, Lopez said they didn’t tell ya’ll that it was dangerous to be in the house under the conditions she said no. Lopez continued to jot down everything Ms. Rose was saying in also sending it over to the city, red cross & salvation army, After she got done speaking he let her know that not only was he looking for somewhere they can go now to keep warm but that he was also looking to get/help them with permitted help with getting these things fix inside of there home.

As we were wrapping up to leave since there wasn’t much he can do for help right away he let her know he sent the email out to these people in waiting for a respond that her and her husband can come sit up at his office to stay warm til someone reach out but by her husband really can’t move she insist to go back with him in shack up in the room with covers and other things they had. At this time I told Rose we can go to the Peace House in ill help with getting her covers, sweaters and other things to keep them warm besides a heater, in she can also take a shower there, as we pull up at the Peace House to get out I see my police friend who serves my community & knows my community in has also help me with shelter we I needed it, So I started explaining to her about Rose living conditions but got distracted once I seen Robin in rush to get her help with the problem she got on it in even had blankets, sweaters and sleeping bags. I got the things for Rose in took her back home because she was so worried about getting back to her husband.

After dropping Rose off in entering the Peace House again Robin let me know that the people Lopez reach out to had reach out to her for a plan for Rose & Her Husband, Robin ask do I think a hotel room would be fine for them for a couple of nights I said yes, Me and Robin drives over to Rose house in went in knock on the door when she came to the door u can see she had been crying, she opened the door in welcome us in. Keep in mind this is our first time ever going in so me explaining earlier about how bad her clothes ring of carbon monoxide imagine it a million time terrible living in it since October. As we went in the smell was so strong that we had to cover our faces with our coats and scarfs which didn’t help, As we enter the house a lady from Red Cross was sitting talking to Rose about different options they had for them we let her know who we were in what we do, I start talking to Rose about staying at a hotel for a couple of days in she said we be ok we fine. I said NO Rose the carbon monoxide is horrible ya’ll gotta go to a room in she said I don’t have the money to I told her we do she said ya’ll gone pay for it R.C said yes she said we ready to go now.

The young lady from Red Cross also let them know they will help with hotel stay out of they own pockets but couldn’t provide transpiration, I told her it was fine ill drive them over and Rose said really I said yes so get whatever u need in we gone. She didn’t need help getting her husband or things together no matter how much we ask to help her she said she got it. So Me and R.C left to get ill end together for them we got back to the house in Robin is going all thru her bags looking for money because we were afraid I wasn’t gone be able to use her card without my I.D., As Robin handed me the $200 dollars she said take care of what they need the room was only 138 for 2 nights so as I went back to get them in we all got in the car on our way I noticed they didn’t have food pack so with the money I had left over I stop to get them waters, food and snacks for the time at the Hotel, got to the room paid for it got them settled in showed them how to work things in Rose said I can’t wait to take a hot shower. After leaving numbers she can contact me or Robin on I’m headed for the door and Rose said thank ya’ll so much in I said no thank you see u thursday. 

I woke up sad in depressed about the things I was going thru in Life but when it was time for bed time I went to sleep smiling knowing that thru everything I’m going thru somebody somewhere out there is going thru much more than I am in to experience what I did today let me know illness is a label illness does not define the person I am at heart and does not make me different because I have a illness, I was able to turn that cloud that was over me to a sunny day not just for me but also for Rose.

No matter how rich you are, how much power you have, what neighborhood you live in, what you are label as, your background, your skin color, your race etc. we are all humans in we all thru things it’s life and even if you never went thru or experience or afraid to talk about it just picture yourself as Me, Rose and My community and ask yourself wouldn’t you want a helping hand thru some of the things me andmy community or other people are facing? Get out in explore your community in pass on the resources you got so it can get pass along it goes along way believe me. Labels is the first stage of any Illness/Mental Illness.











How do you define I.L.L.N.E.S.S ?