I’ve Got Nothing To Complain About

First things first, let me say that I have been missing in action for too long. Somewhat ironically to this post, I have been sick. This is something I have been living with symptoms for about six months now (I know this is relatively nothing).

With this physical illness has been a bad dose of brain fog. If you’ve had it you’ll appreciate why it’s hard to write while dealing with a brain that amongst other issues, I haven’t been able to finish my sentences and I have been mixing up my words, if I can at all bring to the surface of brain the words I want in the first place. I still have little idea as to the ‘why’ of the illness. That question is yet to be answered. I try to take advantage of the good days, and so far, this is one.

I have only been anywhere near homeless once. Nearly 20 years ago. I use the word ‘homeless’ with what has to be a stretch of the imagination, but I use it for a purpose. At the time, I was mentally ill. Actually, that mental illness was far out of control and I was usually (at the time) resident in a psychiatric hospital. Actually, I spent most of 1997 as an inpatient, sometimes as a voluntary patient, and others as an involuntary patient. Neither was pleasant.

One day I was given the opportunity to go on a ‘van outing’. Wow! I don’t remember my status as a patient at the time, but I know that because I had been self-harming, I was initially told I couldn’t go, until the last-minute. While out on the van trip (to get ice-cream) I chose to run away, with another patient. There was no plan to run, on part anyway, just making the most of the opportunity. I am still embarrassed by my actions, given circumstances I took advantage of. It was plainly wrong, in so many ways. There was no way that staff could stop us because of the staff member’s incapacity. That’s why we did it.

I split up from my co-conspirator fairly quickly. She was largely interested in getting drugs, not something I was after. I spent the rest of the day walking the streets of Wellington, New Zealand trying to avoid the possibility of seeing anyone I knew, or being caught by Police. I had soon self-harmed and needed medical treatment, but I kept walking anyway. I didn’t want treatment.

For a ‘few’ hours I had no home, that was accessible to me anyway. Eventually, I was picked up by Police, taken to the local Emergency Department before being escorted back to the psychiatric hospital.

Why have I told you this? It was a long time ago but it was the closest I ever came to being homeless. I recognise that I wasn’t homeless. I just couldn’t go home. And I didn’t want to either.

Today I read an article about having a chronic illness while being homeless (in the United States). It focused on chronic physical illness, which I am now battling more than I was then battling mental illness. The article opened my eyes to something I had not stopped to consider. Living in my nice warm home with chronic illness, I have nothing to complain about when compared to the hardship faced by homeless people living with chronic illness.

Have a read.

The Impossibility of Managing a Chronic Disease While Homeless by Maralyssa Bann 


“Living on the street, even something as simple as finding a place to store medicine can be an insurmountable challenge.”

It made me think about my attitude to my own illness. I have got nothing to complain about. I hope you are challenged in reading the article too.

Thanks for reading




12 thoughts on “I’ve Got Nothing To Complain About

  1. Powerful. I have so often heard privileged white Canadians and Americans say they have no sympathy for the homeless because it is nobody’s fault but theirs to be homeless in the first place. Imagine the degree of your privilege and the size of your bubble that you can actually believe your own words. SMH

  2. Arieh

    I read both what you wrote and the attached article and I am really afraid, the last two months about my diabetes and the side effects. I am not being a ‘model’ patient, and eat or drink things that I shouldn’t. And I am not homeless, I am just ‘less’. Adding few other health ‘prizes’ including mental, hope I die before eruption of all side effects of all the sick things I have. Thanks your writing. It might improve my attitude about keeping my health. Leon

    1. Hi Leon, I understand what you mean about being ‘less’ and I hate that you are in that situation. Is it possible to talk to your doctor about this. Maybe there are ways that you can work to improve your health. I know that it is easy for me to say ‘do this’ and ‘do that’. I am not in your situation. I very much hope you can find ways to improve things for yourself. Please take care.

      1. Leon

        Thank you Cate. I hope you are right. I will try optimizm for now. It’s not easy. All the best. Leon

  3. As always you make me think Cate and you know how much that hurts! (with my brain fog not because I’m Irish or a man 🙂 ) Great to read your posts as always, you are so honest and cover such serious issues but in a very clear and interesting way.

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