Author Topic: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance  (Read 2075 times)

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« on: January 26, 2018, 12:45:09 PM »
With this image as an entrée to what I hope will be a juicy topic:


That there is a lot of stigma associated with mental illness is well known, but what isn't too clear is why some people seem to think that mental illness isn't real. Is it because depression, for instance, isn't an open wound for all to see? Indicators can't be "seen" in a blood test? Because it looks to many like an excuse to just lie around all day and do nothing? Do some people think that others don't have the right to complain that they're feeling sad? Who think that depressed people are weak-willed?

One collateral effect of such perceptions is people who should be seeking professional help become ashamed to do so, and that, I think a terrible thing to feel.   
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


No one

  • Not Defeated by the Dark Night of the Soul
  • ****
  • Posts: 1545
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 01:00:03 PM »
The average person gets depressed from time to time, they snap out of it. Sadly, they have no idea of the impact and devastation that accompanies chronic, debilitating depression. They think that people who suffer from it play the woe is me card. Not justifying their actions, it's just difficult for people to wear another's shoes unless they have walked that same mile.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7050
  • Gender: Male
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 01:34:22 PM »
Yes, some cannot recognise that mental illness can be as physically disabling as a broken leg and have far more effect on a person's quality of life.

There is a line of depression running through my family. When not at work (as a park warden) an uncle would spend 99% of his time just sitting and staring at nothing, giving the barest minimum response to anything said to him. He could not concentrate on a book for more thzn about a page. I never remember seeing him smile.

I suffered from it, but mine was mainly due to specific events or situations, more of a reactive than clinical variety but I evidently had a tendrncy. It came with anger, self-loathing anxiety... all the usual accessories, Actually since my heart attack it has been far less of a problem but I would not recomend that as a potential cure.

There is some debate about provision for mental health in Britain at the moment, basically another ball the politicians kick around until it the next crisis comes along to take their attention. At the moment you have to be a physical danger to yourself or others before you get treatment, few see it as a glamourous career.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Dragonia

  • Not Afraid of the Exorcist
  • ***
  • Posts: 694
  • Gender: Female
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 02:02:48 PM »
This is definitely an issue where people need to be educated. Part of the denial of the seriousness, is the fact that the word "depression" is a very broad term. If a person has never dealt with clinical or chemical depression, the image that probably comes to mind with that word is a teenager who just broke up with her boyfriend or a man who just lost his job. You pull on your big girl panties and move on with your life! Right?

I don't think a lot of people know, or care, that there are whole different levels to this issue.

I know I am fairly ignorant about deep depression, but I never really thought about my own intolerance and impatience for depression until I got a taste of it myself. And mine was for no good reason... And it wouldn't go away with tennis shoes and fresh air. Because I tried that route. It did go away eventually, and I still don't understand it. But I have much more compassion and empathy for those trying to battle this darkness.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato (?)

Davin

  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7116
  • Gender: Male
  • (o°-°)=o o(o*-°)
    • DevPirates
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 02:14:41 PM »
The quick and easy and uncomplicated solution to things is very appealing to people. It would be great if depression could be solved by jogging a bit. It would be great if solutions were that easy. For those that only experience normal ranges of emotional states, it can be that easy. If you're a little sad, then the chemical boost from jogging can make you feel better. But those kinds of "solutions" are just like a band aid. They work great with small cuts and scrapes, but are completely useless when a person gets shot.

The people that like and believe in these kinds of things reveal that they haven't had a very difficult life. It's like when a kid hurts their knee for the first time, it very well be the most painful think they've ever experienced, but it's not the most painful thing they will live through where mommy kissing the booboo isn't going to cut it.

Great for them that they can jog a bit to lift their spirits when they're feeling a little down, but it is fucked up that they prescribe their ignorant solutions to other people who are actually inside a depressive downward spiral.

These kinds of easy "answer" ignorant assholes pretending to have authority, have been around for a long time. Sometimes there are more and sometimes less, and right now, with the whole internet connecting people, the get to spread and find more support more easily and for less.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Icarus

  • The wise one.
  • Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 5162
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 10:02:13 PM »
January 24, 1984..... I woke up that morning to discover that my wife had died in her sleep. I spent the day making the arrangements that I had to make, call the daughter, son, her relatives.  I was most efficient that day.  That night I was alone, I crashed into a heap of tearful emotional hell. The next day and many many days after that I was in a deep depression state.   I learned what depression feels like.  That anniversary has passed only a couple of days ago.

After a week or so I began to nearly kill my rowing machine.  I did that every day. It helped but it did not fix the problem.  In a fairly short time I began to damn myself  because I was painfully remembering that I seldom brought her flowers and failed to leave little love notes for her to discover.  Why, why had I been such a dumb ass?  That kind of guilt trip made the depression even worse. 

I began to "run".  That is a word that the shrink used to describe a flurry of activity, mostly of a social nature.  You are running from the reality that you do not want to address.  Interactions with lots of other people helps keep your mind off the pain that you are trying desperately to mitigate. 

Within two weeks I began getting calls from nice single ladies who wanted to cook dinner for me or some other act of kindness.  After about a month I accepted one of those invitations. It was strictly a platonic relationship. But my adopted son discovered that I had gone to a woman's house and had dinner with her..  We listened to music....that was all.  Fred abandoned me completely because, in his mind, I had done something that defiled the memory of his mother. I was the worst kind of miserable bastard and he let me know it.  That did not help me with the depression.  My daughter who lived in another state was as conciliatory as she could be.  That helped a little bit. The physical exertion and perspiration brought on by the rowing machine helped more.

All through the early stages of my misery, my two dogs gave me comfort. One of them in particular seemed to know that I was in bad shape and she lavished her attention and affection on me.  I credit Molly with saving me from total  destructive despair. Molly was a very well educated Irish Setter who had been my constant companion for several years. She might have saved my life because I had nothing to live for.   Well yes I did have something to live for. I loved Molly and the other Irish setter named Buddy.  Buddy too was aware of my pain and he did everything he knew how to do to console me.  Those two would need me and I would not abandon them.

There is a lot more to my story but that is sufficient to enter this conversation.

Silver, make what you will of this sad tale of woe.  I do hope that I have not caused you any pain by mentioning my loving dogs. If you have some depression for having lost your companion, then I understand fully and I wish that I could give you a compassionate hug.

Tank

  • Fed up with stupid.
  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 30301
  • Gender: Male
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2018, 11:12:31 AM »
That was one of th most open, insightful and honest posts I have ever read anywhere.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Ecurb Noselrub

  • No Wall in my name!!!
  • Wears a Colander Hat for Special Occasions
  • *****
  • Posts: 6289
  • Gender: Male
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2018, 11:42:16 PM »
I had one bout of depression in 1984 when my first marriage was on the rocks.  It's not just being down or blue - it can be absolutely debilitating. You feel like you can't move, you have no motivation, you see no way out.  It was mental, emotional and spiritual darkness.  It's not just a matter of getting out and getting some sunshine - the darkness is in your head and nothing can penetrate it at the time, it seems.  Fortunately, I came out of it after about a month, thanks to a friend who talked me through it and showed some real empathy.  But I can certainly sympathize with those who have it long-term.  It's like any sickness - sometimes you get better on your own, but sometimes it gets critical and you need help.  We don't stigmatize brain cancer or other brain diseases - we should not stigmatize mental illness, whether depression or psychosis.  The brain simply isn't working right during those times.

Dragonia

  • Not Afraid of the Exorcist
  • ***
  • Posts: 694
  • Gender: Female
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2018, 01:20:12 AM »
Icarus, your post hurt my heart to read, but makes me feel grateful to be in a circle with whom you will share that. Especially because I know there is so much more to your story. It sounds excruciating. *big hug to you*

Bruce, I can commiserate.  My kids kind of saved me in a similar situation, and I really do wonder how things would have turned out without them as a grounding force, needing me so much still.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato (?)

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 08:12:24 PM »
The average person gets depressed from time to time, they snap out of it. Sadly, they have no idea of the impact and devastation that accompanies chronic, debilitating depression. They think that people who suffer from it play the woe is me card. Not justifying their actions, it's just difficult for people to wear another's shoes unless they have walked that same mile.

You do have a point, but it seems to me like a failure in empathy for those suffering from chronic depression. I don't know if it's a current trend, but now with all the information available and especially almost high exposure to depression and other mental illness-related topics in the media and such, could it be that people are becoming desensitized to it? Like, it's something so commonplace these days because people are talking about it more that it somehow downsizes the negative experience? 

I hope I'm making sense...
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 08:16:32 PM »
Yes, some cannot recognise that mental illness can be as physically disabling as a broken leg and have far more effect on a person's quality of life.

There is a line of depression running through my family. When not at work (as a park warden) an uncle would spend 99% of his time just sitting and staring at nothing, giving the barest minimum response to anything said to him. He could not concentrate on a book for more thzn about a page. I never remember seeing him smile.

I suffered from it, but mine was mainly due to specific events or situations, more of a reactive than clinical variety but I evidently had a tendrncy. It came with anger, self-loathing anxiety... all the usual accessories, Actually since my heart attack it has been far less of a problem but I would not recomend that as a potential cure.

There is some debate about provision for mental health in Britain at the moment, basically another ball the politicians kick around until it the next crisis comes along to take their attention. At the moment you have to be a physical danger to yourself or others before you get treatment, few see it as a glamourous career.

What happened after your heart attack? Not to sound cliché, but did it change your perspective on life or something like that?
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 08:26:15 PM »
This is definitely an issue where people need to be educated. Part of the denial of the seriousness, is the fact that the word "depression" is a very broad term. If a person has never dealt with clinical or chemical depression, the image that probably comes to mind with that word is a teenager who just broke up with her boyfriend or a man who just lost his job. You pull on your big girl panties and move on with your life! Right?

I don't think a lot of people know, or care, that there are whole different levels to this issue.

I know I am fairly ignorant about deep depression, but I never really thought about my own intolerance and impatience for depression until I got a taste of it myself. And mine was for no good reason... And it wouldn't go away with tennis shoes and fresh air. Because I tried that route. It did go away eventually, and I still don't understand it. But I have much more compassion and empathy for those trying to battle this darkness.

You have a point, there does seem to be many levels to this condition.

My younger brother has clinical depression that is controlled with medication, and he was told by the psychiatrist he would have to take them for the rest of his life. I never heard of this type of chronic depression before, one that requires life-long treatment. For as long as I remember he was was a melancholic person, see-sawing between ok and really bad moments. I worry a lot over his mental health. He has mentioned suicidal thoughts a few times in the past.
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 08:29:22 PM »
The quick and easy and uncomplicated solution to things is very appealing to people. It would be great if depression could be solved by jogging a bit. It would be great if solutions were that easy. For those that only experience normal ranges of emotional states, it can be that easy. If you're a little sad, then the chemical boost from jogging can make you feel better. But those kinds of "solutions" are just like a band aid. They work great with small cuts and scrapes, but are completely useless when a person gets shot.

The people that like and believe in these kinds of things reveal that they haven't had a very difficult life. It's like when a kid hurts their knee for the first time, it very well be the most painful think they've ever experienced, but it's not the most painful thing they will live through where mommy kissing the booboo isn't going to cut it.

Great for them that they can jog a bit to lift their spirits when they're feeling a little down, but it is fucked up that they prescribe their ignorant solutions to other people who are actually inside a depressive downward spiral.

These kinds of easy "answer" ignorant assholes pretending to have authority, have been around for a long time. Sometimes there are more and sometimes less, and right now, with the whole internet connecting people, the get to spread and find more support more easily and for less.

Yes! When ignorant people prescribe these kind of solutions it really irks me. They can be just as bad as anti-vaxxers and such, in my opinion. 
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 08:31:37 PM »
January 24, 1984..... I woke up that morning to discover that my wife had died in her sleep. I spent the day making the arrangements that I had to make, call the daughter, son, her relatives.  I was most efficient that day.  That night I was alone, I crashed into a heap of tearful emotional hell. The next day and many many days after that I was in a deep depression state.   I learned what depression feels like.  That anniversary has passed only a couple of days ago.

After a week or so I began to nearly kill my rowing machine.  I did that every day. It helped but it did not fix the problem.  In a fairly short time I began to damn myself  because I was painfully remembering that I seldom brought her flowers and failed to leave little love notes for her to discover.  Why, why had I been such a dumb ass?  That kind of guilt trip made the depression even worse. 

I began to "run".  That is a word that the shrink used to describe a flurry of activity, mostly of a social nature.  You are running from the reality that you do not want to address.  Interactions with lots of other people helps keep your mind off the pain that you are trying desperately to mitigate. 

Within two weeks I began getting calls from nice single ladies who wanted to cook dinner for me or some other act of kindness.  After about a month I accepted one of those invitations. It was strictly a platonic relationship. But my adopted son discovered that I had gone to a woman's house and had dinner with her..  We listened to music....that was all.  Fred abandoned me completely because, in his mind, I had done something that defiled the memory of his mother. I was the worst kind of miserable bastard and he let me know it.  That did not help me with the depression.  My daughter who lived in another state was as conciliatory as she could be.  That helped a little bit. The physical exertion and perspiration brought on by the rowing machine helped more.

All through the early stages of my misery, my two dogs gave me comfort. One of them in particular seemed to know that I was in bad shape and she lavished her attention and affection on me.  I credit Molly with saving me from total  destructive despair. Molly was a very well educated Irish Setter who had been my constant companion for several years. She might have saved my life because I had nothing to live for.   Well yes I did have something to live for. I loved Molly and the other Irish setter named Buddy.  Buddy too was aware of my pain and he did everything he knew how to do to console me.  Those two would need me and I would not abandon them.

There is a lot more to my story but that is sufficient to enter this conversation.

Silver, make what you will of this sad tale of woe.  I do hope that I have not caused you any pain by mentioning my loving dogs. If you have some depression for having lost your companion, then I understand fully and I wish that I could give you a compassionate hug.

I wish I could give you a real hug, Icarus.  :hug2: Thank you for sharing this.
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Administrator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 14500
  • Gender: Female
  • "Fire together, wire together"
Re: Mental Illness, Stigma and Ignorance
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 08:39:11 PM »
I had one bout of depression in 1984 when my first marriage was on the rocks.  It's not just being down or blue - it can be absolutely debilitating. You feel like you can't move, you have no motivation, you see no way out.  It was mental, emotional and spiritual darkness.  It's not just a matter of getting out and getting some sunshine - the darkness is in your head and nothing can penetrate it at the time, it seems.  Fortunately, I came out of it after about a month, thanks to a friend who talked me through it and showed some real empathy.  But I can certainly sympathize with those who have it long-term.  It's like any sickness - sometimes you get better on your own, but sometimes it gets critical and you need help.  We don't stigmatize brain cancer or other brain diseases - we should not stigmatize mental illness, whether depression or psychosis.  The brain simply isn't working right during those times.

Well said. Besides suffering from the condition itself, those with mental illness suffer with the stigma attached. In the case of my brother, for instance, when my father dismisses his deep depression as attention-seeking and and excuse to do nothing productive, it both angers and saddens me. What happens is my brother interiorises those thoughts, and starts to feel like his symptoms are actually personality flaws.

Those are not the kind of words that people suffering from mental illness need to hear. They need to feel safe and not feel ashamed to seek help and reach out to others who can help them.   
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.