Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life's A Tasty Dish ... Mostly.

MOSTLY I do think life is pretty good, but I am seriously blessed. I just wanted to let you know this and remind myself at the same time. Just like these bees lolling in the purple blossoms on the cardoon, I've got it easy. I work for it, don't get me wrong, but I've been lucky too!
For four weeks now I have been attending "Family to Family" classes through Oregon's NAMI chapter (National Alliance on Mental Illness). We have studied brain disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder), symptoms, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, family interactions and the way in which *all* family members are affected by mental illness and tonight we studied - in a very limited way - the functions of the brain and the ways in which scientists *hypothesize* mental illness happens.
There are so many causes, so much conjecture, it is easy to see how people are misdiagnosed for years. And:
“Mental disability is not a scandal — it is an illness. And like physical illness, it is treatable.”
- President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (from the NAMI Web site)
We need more advocates for the mentally ill, because often they cannot speak for themselves.
Think of the people you know, either in your family or among your friends, whose lives have been touched by cancer. Maybe your own life.
Then think about those you know who have a mental illness. Don't know anyone? Maybe you know someone who's depressed. That's a brain disorder; an imbalance of chemicals.
I'll bet everyone knows at least one person, maybe two. And if you don't know about their brain disorder it might be because of the stigma that still exists.
"An estimated one in five American families is affected by mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Without treatment, people living with mental illness may face unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness and suicide."
Join me in making an effort to advocate for the mentally ill - femminismo


donna said...

I hear ya! Things are better than they used to be but still not nearly good enough.

Candace said...

The flower and bees are so gorgeous, and so appropriate for this post. We have it good but there are those who live among us -- side by side with us -- who could use more beauty, more help blooming when faced with such soulcrushing times and problems.

I'm with you on this one, pal.
Candace in Athens

Kim said...

Wonderful post. I have a number of friends and family who are afflicted with bipolar disorder in particular and believe strongly in the need for others to understand this is a physical illness which results in mental symptoms as well as physical ones. It is also treatable. Perhaps not as well as we would like but it takes time to get there. There should be no stigma attached to mental illness today. Haven't we stepped out from the dark ages yet? I would certainly hope so, but on talking to those afflicted in my own life I can both feel and see their embarrassment over admitting to others what they suffer from. Time to stop sweeping it aside and talking about it all in shameful whispers I think. Hugs to you for the good light you shed on this problem. Oh and I did love the flowers and bees too, LOL :)