Thursday, May 05, 2011

There has been a lot of hoopla in the media about mental illness lately.

I suffer from chronic depression. I make no secret of that.

Depression is a form of mental illness.

That's exactly what it is though. An illness. Except it is an illness of the brain instead of the body, like diabetes or kidney disease or heart disease, or……..any other physical ailment of the body.

Lately a lot of famous actors have been coming out admitting they are suffering from varying degrees of mental illness(well, not all of them admit it, but it's pretty obvious).

One of the episodes of the t.v. show Glee touched on it too. The last 15 minutes of that show where the therapist was talking had me crying openly. (The whole episode was one of my favorites ever)

If you didn't see it, in short there was a scene where one of the characters (the guidance counselor) has OCD and she goes to see a therapist about it.

The therapist explains that there is such a huge stigma when it come to mental illness in this country (This is SO true).

The character on the show didn't want to take medication and was saying that her disease was just a part of her, it was "just who she is supposed to be."

The counselor replied with: "If a student came to you with Diabetes, would you give them insulin, or would you tell them “This is just how you are supposed to be?" The answer of course, is "No". You would give them the medication they needed to manage their disease.

Yet often in this country if people seek treatment for mental illness, they are labeled as "crazy" or a "freak".

It makes my blood boil.

I was so glad to see a hugely popular show like Glee deal with such a sensitive issue.

China is now going to start requiring psych evaluations for anyone who applies (or has applied) to their program who has a history with depression, or who has taken anti-depressants in the past.

I understand why they might feel the need to start doing that, given some of the tragedies that have befallen some children who were adopted from China over the last few years. However, the number of those cases is minuscule compared to non-adoptive parents. Do you know how many non-adoptive parents abuse, injure, and even kill their children on a yearly basis? Many, many more than adoptive ones.

Where is the psych evaluations for them?

But it's China who is allowing their children to be adopted so they can do what they want I suppose.

What I'm afraid of is that people who are smart, and good, and loving, people who would make wonderful parents will be turned down because of their mental illness.

That simply isn't right.

Mental illness can be treated and managed with medications and behavioral health therapy.

Being diagnosed with a mental illness doesn't make you crazy. It doesn't make you a freak. It makes you a human being suffering from an illness.

Just like me.

Depression is not who I am.  It is something that I struggle with on a daily basis.  But it doesn't define me.  I am so much more than an illness.

P.S. I have already had a pysch evaluation. I was declared perfectly sane.    :)

A year ago today I was going through a very trying time. I had some online friends who were there for me.  No judgements.  Just love and support.  If you have any idea what I am talking about here, then you are one of them.  I just wanted to say thank you.  You'll never know how much that support means to me.  A million times, thank you.

I will probably take this post down soon.  Even I have a hard time dealing with that stigma at times.


mam said...

I hope you don't feel like you have to take it down; everything you wrote is absolutely true and strong and cause for serious celebration. You know, I think, that although I don't have the illness myself, I "have" it in that my husband does, and it's so friggin' hard. You have my support and admiration.

Kim said...

Don't take it down, Michelle. It is well written and describes mental illness to a tee. I have bi-polar. It is NOT who I am, but rather something I deal with daily. We sneaked in under the old rules and even then, were pulled in the review room for more 'information' on my illness. Our son has been home from China for almost four years and HE has helped ME deal with my illness just by needing to focus energy on him and not dwell on my problems. Thanks for a great post.

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

absolutely outstanding post my friend.


Briana's Mom said...

You are very brave to be so open and honest in this post. I have several family members that suffer with anxiety issues. They are not crazy - it is just part of their disease. It is all definitely manageable.

2china4S said...

Don't delete the post Michelle, don't allow the nay sayers continue to perpetuate the stereotype, the stigma.

And Amen to how many bio parents hurt their children, compared to adoptive parents. As you now I spent a good eight years dealing with child abuse and neglect and you are right on. But those few bad apples really mess it up for everyone else.

2china4S said...

YOWZA woman, today is day 30 for you, you made it. :) Feliz Cinco de Mayo, let the margaritas flow! Good job on completing thirty posts in thirty days.

Mine day is tomorrow, and I think you'll like the post, well, the pictures.

Julie said...

Your courage inspires me once again. You rock. Yes your mental illness is just one small part of you. You rock!

Anonymous said...

Great post Michelle!!! Everything is so very true.