Today was crazy. I had therapy, then I had psychiatrist, then I had appointment with GP (have bronchitis…yippee)
Then I came home and caught up with all of you.
And now I’m feeling….I don’t know. Thoughtful, yes…but something is wriggling around underneath that thoughtfulness and I think it is irritation.
Not irritation with any of you, not at all. But, irritation at society.
I’ve read (and written) posts of debilitating anxiety, crushing depression, addiction, abuse and all manner of evil shoved on us, the mentally special, because we can’t really fight against it all that well. Let’s face it, says society, if you can raise a cogent argument right off the cuff, how messed up can you really be.
Then I read the story about Tom and his diligence in gaining trust and ultimately saving a life and I wonder where all the Toms are.
The following was posted on Facebook after the most recent movie theater attack, which did not involve a gun (well, there WAS a pellet gun)
Will We now be adding a cry for hatchet control? What about axes in general? Maybe, just maybe, we will finally start to talk about the root of the problem. There is an abhorent lack of proper care for the mentally ill in our country. Without adequate attention, troubled and/or misunderstood individuals can continue to lash out randomly. Being mentally ill shouldn’t be any more embarrassing than, say, a broken leg, but it is regarded as a taboo contagion which, if ignored, will go away.
Asshat: Everyone has access to mental illness programs for free. We probably have more services then the next 10 countries combined per capita because so many people are screwed up.
Me: People may have access to services, but those services are often extremely sub-par. Patients are often told to “suck it up”, misdiagnosed, incorrectly medicated, unable to afford proper medication. They often wait so long for these services so long that they decompensate ever further. A 15 minute session every couple of months is not nearly long enough to deal with some of the very serious problems people have. And, most importantly, mental illness is seriously misunderstood. This isn’t an emotional condition, this is a physiological condition with actual physical causes in the brain. Sucking it up doesn’t always work around chemical imbalances and straight up brain damage.
Asshat: Subpar is in the eye of the beholder. Making the first step is the hardest part. Even the best shrinks don’t have the best answers. There is a support group for every mental illness. It just always seems that some Americans think we have poor education, poor services but we actually have the best. We just have the worst perspective.
Asshat: Good old-fashioned parenting and family stabilization would cut this mental illness issue in half.
Original Poster: I can accept your view, Asshat, as one on the outside looking in. Have you any direct, personal, experience with mental illness? Also, the human brain doesn’t develop either perfect or imbalanced. There are infinite levels of health in between. Somewhere along that spectrum, not all that far from ‘healthy’, no level of healthy upbringing will overcome the basic, mis-wired structure of a ‘diseased’ brain. Any more than a compact sedan can be expected to race at Indy. Sure it’s got four wheels, an engine, transmission, but none of them are set up to perform at the level of an actual race car.
Asshat Didnt suggest there wasn’t mental illness, just saying there’s plenty of wellness access available, most is free.
Original Poster: If that were true, there’d be a whole lot fewer vagrants/bums/’street people’
Asshat: Most of those people arrived to that level due to making bad choices. Including the choice NOT to put themselves through mental and physical support. Are you suggesting we commit vagrants into readily available programs?
me:You can’t say that Asshat, you have no idea whether or not that is true. I can dump links all over this page showing statistical data that shows that the majority of free mental health resources are seriously underfunded, understaffed and sub-par. But you won’t look at or read any of them because you have already made your decision.Asshat: Underfunded? You mean tax payer supported? Like many Americans you have no idea just how good you really have it for health services. We have by far the best. But the best is never good enough, it has to be better. Well that’s why our debt is 18T and will take at least 60 years to draw down.Me: Yes, I mean taxpayer supported. It’s exactly what I mean. The money that we pay into the system for these programs should be being spent well. I have good health care because we have good health insurance and that is the ONLY reason. God forbid I expect that the citizens of this country should be able to access care, that I already pay for, that doesn’t suck
The argument ended here because I got fed up and I realized that Asshat is one of 2 things (Understand that this is someone I used to be friends with….I only ended up having this conversation because Original Poster and Asshat are still friends). Asshat is either 1. so entrenched in his beliefs that he couldn’t be pulled loose by any amount of force or 2. an non-anonymous internet troll (rarely domesticated enough for facebook, but they do exist)
So, now, I’m thinking about all of our posts, and I’m thinking about Tom who saved a life, not because he knew the person, but because he IS a caring person and I’m thinking about the conversation with Asshat, and I’m realizing, not for the first time, but deeply this time, that enough is enough. That something has to change. That we need to be able to stand as a community and find a voice. And yes, to answer the unspoken question, I believe I AM a little hypomanic right now, but the point is still the same.
And I don’t want to hear songs of sunshine and light that if we just try, try as hard as we might, that maybe someday it’ll all be all right (yup, definitely heading up hypomania hill). Because those songs are bullshit. Those songs are no better then asshat telling me that better parenting would cut mental illness rates in half.
This stigma doesn’t go away by rubbing rose petals all over it and making it smell pretty. Fuck, I don’t know how it gets better, but it has something to do with letting the “regulars/normals” see how bad things are in here. Finding a way to open up the bag and let the smell out.
Of course, who among us is well enough to start such an endeavor?