Why no one cares about mental illness

A few months ago when I wrote my post “Why no one cares about chronic illness” a friend mentioned to me that I was right in calling out chronic illness, but that mental illness was something that people care about even less and I think she was right. There is a stigma on chronic illness, but the stigma on mental illness is even worse.

I’m the first to admit I don’t have huge amounts of experience in dealing with mental illness, however I know how I was treated when doctors were trying to convince me I was depressed. I wasn’t depressed, but if I had been the doctors certainly wouldn’t have been helpful. They tried to shame me and to throw antidepressants at me so my problem would be fixed. I thought,  “wait a second, lets say I do have depression or another mental illness, you telling me that something is wrong with me, that I’m not good enough, that I should be ashamed and that I need to be fixed,  is that really a solution to the problem? Is treating me like that really going to make this all better? Because I highly doubt it.”

I have a friend who is on a mood stabilizer  She happens to have a lot of medical problems, problems that doctors are unwilling to treat because the second they look at the list of medications and see a mood stabilizer, she’s written off as crazy.  Because nobody can be depressed and have medical problems right? Anybody with medical problems is happy 24/7! We just love being sick because it’s so fun! We never get down about bad doctors, our failing bodies, and our lost dreams, we’re happy we are sick! *sarcasm alert*

Why are patients with mental illness treated like there is something so fundamentally wrong with them that they deserve to be shamed and that they don’t deserve help, respect, or proper medical attention? And if doctors have this kind of attitude, what about everyone else? People are going to follow what doctors do, I don’t like it, but for some reason people respect and listen to doctors (not me, obviously). If doctors are acting like mental illness is something to be ashamed of, then people are going to ashamed and their friends and family are going to treat them like they should be.

This is wrong. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. It happens, it’s a fact of life. Half the people in America are on antidepressants, why do we still act like we are ashamed of that? Guess what, life sucks, and then you die, so some people might need some additional help to get through it. There is nothing wrong with that. There are also many more severe mental illness that society completely denies. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, we all like to act like these things don’t happen, but they do. I’m no psychologist  but I do know that everyone’s brain is wired differently and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

The biggest problem with society’s shaming of mental illness is treatment, or lack of it. Many people are too embarrassed to get proper treatment. Many other people who know they need treatment and want to get it can’t, because insurance coverage for mental health is completely inadequate. Just for curiosity I checked to see what my insurance coverage was for mental health. I have pretty good insurance, and mine does cover more than I thought, visits to a psychologist are treated just like a doctor’s visit. However, should anyone in my family ever need any long term care, not so much. It’s horrible to even contemplate and I don’t expect we will ever need this services, but this does happen to people, and this is a need that is not getting met in our country.

Post Sandy Hook I have read stories of parents of children with mental illness. These parents are terrified for the future of their child and of what their child could end up doing to themselves or others. They have exhausted all insurance benefits and their child can no longer receive the mental health care they need. These are children with very serious mental health issues. The last available option for these children is to be institutionalized, but no parent wants to institutionalize their child.  Shouldn’t these parents be given better options? Shouldn’t anyone with serious mental health issues have more options besides being institutionalized?

This may possibly be my longest post ever, but there are so many things to say about mental illness and I’m sure I still managed to leave out a lot.  I think mental illness is something we need to talk about. It needs to be brought out in the open and the stigma and the shaming removed. We need open dialogue and discussion about what is wrong with the mental health system in this country and what we can do to fix it.

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11 thoughts on “Why no one cares about mental illness

  1. This needs to be said by more people. My cousin is schizophrenic and people have treated him horribly and the medical professionals aren't much better. My husband's family has major history with depression and I cannot even tell you the lack of help there. This country needs to wake up and realize every human body is different and that this includes the brain, the chemicals in the brain, and how the body reacts to these chemicals. That is biology, there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to biology. I cannot even begin to go into how ludicrous I think our mental health system is, it is too infuriating. I support you speaking up for those with mental health issues & for those of us with chronic pain/illness issues. Keep speaking up and out and maybe we can all get something done! 🙂

  2. Thank you for writing about this. I have bipolar and I flinch every time a newscaster brings up the mental health of some suspect. I know it's not irrelevant, but it's a case of "too much and not enough".

    Interestingly I think my bipolar diagnosis (in 2003) really helped me to prepare for my recent FMS diagnosis. From bipolar I learned to be an educated patient, to learn all I could about my condition. I learned that I would have to be on pills the rest of my life, but that didn't mean my life was over. I learned to be aware of the state of my brain, and to learn the signs that things were going pear shaped. All of those things can be applied to FMS.

    And that's all to say nothing of going through cancer treatment. That taught me that while some changes for the worse may be permanent, but I can still be me. It taught me that something can be an "emergency" while also being primarily a pain in the butt, rather than a reason to freak out. It also taught me that becoming dependent on a pain killer wasn't the end of the world. When you need it, you need it; worry about withdrawal when the pain's over.

    That last one doesn't apply to FMS as much, but it also taught me that there are solutions for pain.

    Which most doctors don't actually believe in, but you know all about that.

  3. Love this one! I am fortunate to have a large team of doctors who don't dismiss my chronic state, who dont dismiss me because of my long med list because of my young age. Who don't say out loud or implicate.my problems being related to my well.treated bi-polar and use of a mood stabilizer.
    but, outside this bubble…is ignorant, old fashioned, inflexible minds. I avoid going tp the er or urgent care, because I dont want to deal.with the remarks about my med list and its implications.
    Thanks for writing with all you have on your plate.

    -Rachel, Megans Redmond friend

  4. If only it can be explained in a better language how i feel mentally challenged, abandon and regretting every act that lead to that incident.I was told by my Doctor to stop smoking that it was getting to a stage that it we affect my health but i just over look the advice and take it as baseless. After two months of his advice that was when it all started. I started having issue with my brain which resulted to mental illness. I was on ground for 3 years until i found this great spell caster who restore my life back after casting the mental spell on me, i was cured. I even have to run some test to see if its a lie all the test proof that my brain is in order and today i am happily married with 2 kids and living well with my family. But my advice to you out there is, if you are in the same situation and do not know what to do, here is the man who will cure you Dr olumba. Here are his contacts drolumbamentalspellhome@gmail.com or call +2348169591194. For any mental problems or are you addicted to drug or drink he also have the solution to that.

  5. If only it can be explained in a better language how i feel mentally challenged, abandon and regretting every act that lead to that incident.I was told by my Doctor to stop smoking that it was getting to a stage that it we affect my health but i just over look the advice and take it as baseless. After two months of his advice that was when it all started. I started having issue with my brain which resulted to mental illness. I was on ground for 3 years until i found this great spell caster who restore my life back after casting the mental spell on me, i was cured. I even have to run some test to see if its a lie all the test proof that my brain is in order and today i am happily married with 2 kids and living well with my family. But my advice to you out there is, if you are in the same situation and do not know what to do, here is the man who will cure you Dr olumba. Here are his contacts drolumbamentalspellhome@gmail.com or call +2348169591194. For any mental problems or are you addicted to drug or drink he also have the solution to that.

  6. Hi I am canadan 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 myself looking help trying getting help but my brother Said he smashed me head in for a pack of smokes he is not fun no more names he wants me to die and said go kill your self? Nice help A pack of beer or yell at my mom he is a drunk beats me up and my mom?🇨🇦 150 birthday Canada 🇨🇦

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