Using Mental Illness as an Insult

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Pondering
Using Mental Illness as an Insult

It is deeply offensive to see this tactic repeatedly used to insult people.

Anyone who genuinely has a mental illness of any sort who reads it feels diminished as a person even if it wasn't directed at them nor references their particular illness.

It reinforces prejudice and bias against people who have a mental disorder. You don't use cancer to insult someone.

I have a specific recent example but I won't use it because I don't want it to become about specific posters. I hope we can all acknowledge it happens and it is very wrong.

In my opinion it needs to be specifically addressed in policy and it needs to be an absolute prohibition.

No one should be allowed to  make that mistake more than twice. One warning and then you are out.

At the very least anyone who sees it should call it out.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

It is deeply offensive to see this tactic repeatedly used to insult people.

Anyone who genuinely has a mental illness of any sort who reads it feels diminished as a person even if it wasn't directed at them nor references their particular illness.

It reinforces prejudice and bias against people who have a mental disorder. You don't use cancer to insult someone.

I have a specific recent example but I won't use it because I don't want it to become about specific posters. I hope we can all acknowledge it happens and it is very wrong.

In my opinion it needs to be specifically addressed in policy and it needs to be an absolute prohibition.

No one should be allowed to  make that mistake more than twice. One warning and then you are out.

At the very least anyone who sees it should call it out.

Well this is way over the top.

This is about the word delusion.

It is not in the opening post maybe becuase the poster realizes that this is a word with multiple meanings - a delusion is a symptom of mental illness but that not all those who have a delusion have an illness. This is an endless ratcheting up of an argument this person would not drop.

Yes, using mental illness is wrong needs to be called out. So too should stretching language definitions beyond what they are meant in order to make a case -- that this poster wants to raise to a banning offence.

Since this person also brought gender multiple times into the conversation then I will go with a hockey analogy, even though I am not a great fan at least it will fit the male stereotype being built here.

This allegation is a dive. In hockey you can be penalized for a dive as well.

If anyone is truly interested just type the word delusion into the search bar on rabble and see how many hits (uncountable) and how many times they are used generally for holding an opinion without any factual foundation and how many times to accuse  someone of a mental condition.

Asking this person to be reasonable is obviously words wasted but do not indulge this.

****

However, many people use language that can be construed as calling out a mental illness -- there are many words and some are used in common language and often used here -- words like "crazy." I do not think that this is a one strike you are out thing as opposed to education and reminders we should all consider. I will not count the times people -- including me -- have used the word crazy but it is something to think about. As words flow I have corrected this many times in myself but can miss it -- without intent -- as these are common words.

It is worthwhile to really consider being careful about this -- even if we set aside the very petty motive for this thread.

If a person calls out mental illness -- and clearly on purpose rather than accident then I agree with that being responded to as offensive. the test really ought to be that this was not an accident, not just one possible way of interpretting it but a clear intent.

Otherwise, call it out but sanctions do not replace education. and the virtue signal here in order to get help in a petty fight is also offensive as well as the faux hesitation about saying what this thread is really about.

Pondering

I deliberately did not reference a post because it isn't about a specific poster or thread or condition. 

Please don't turn this thread personal or connect it to any other discussion. 

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

I deliberately did not reference a post because it isn't about a specific poster or thread or condition. 

Please don't turn this thread personal or connect it to any other discussion. 

Come on now. It is connected and you made false allegations in that thread today that you are now trying to get support for.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I deliberately did not reference a post because it isn't about a specific poster or thread or condition.

I had intended to reply to the OP (but went to Chinatown instead) to basically say what Sean said.  I think it's unacceptable to call another babbler "schizophrenic" or "bipolar" based on a disagreement with their ideas or logic.

But words like "paranoid", "irrational", "delusional", etc., aren't restricted to mental health.  Paranoid is basically the only word for paranoid, and while it's true that paranoia can be a symptom of a mental illness, it can also not be.

So I think that whether you like it or not, this is going to have to be about specific words.  What ones do you think should be off-limits?

Pondering

I'm sure someone could come up with a reasonable definition but along with that it would have to be a judgement call by a moderator. I think they would know the difference between using the non-mental illness definition of words and accusing someone of mental illness. Having said that using double-meanings to send a message is not unheard of. 

Over time many things that were completely acceptable to say have become unacceptable.

So yes, the one warning then out might be too draconian in any but the most obvious examples. Having said that it doesn't make the more innocent or non-medical uses of the word a positive thing. 

Paranoid is an excellent example. This is the non-medical definition.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/paranoid

feeling extremely nervous and worried because you believe that other people do not like you or are trying to harm you:

He started feeling paranoid and was convinced his boss was going to fire him.

This is the etymology of the word from an amateur site

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/paranoid

"mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions," 1848 (earlier paranoea 1811), from Greek paranoia "mental derangement, madness," from paranoos "mentally ill, insane," from para- "beside, beyond" (see para- (1)) + noos "mind," which is of uncertain origin.

I think the non-medical meaning is derived from the medical diagnosis but even if it wasn't I think it does insult the person it is being directed at. It implies the individual has no basis for the way they are feeling. 

It takes longer to say but "you seem nervous and suspicious but I don't think you have any reason to worry" would work and be less abrasive. In most cases "suspicious" alone would do.

Even used in a non-medical sense calling someone paranoid is likely to offend unless you are joking around with a friend and in that case it isn't an important word for accurate communication. 

The non-medical usage of terms that reference mental illness is often intended to insult or belittle. 

Something like depressed is fine because it is commonly used to denote feeling sad with reason.

Crazy or nutty I think has come to mean nonsensical or wild rather than mentally ill. 

"You are schizophrenic." can be used in a non-abrasive way to indicate that your friend is having trouble deciding on two alternatives favoring one then the other. 

Doesn't mean it should be okay to be using it in that manner in the future. 

JKR

Pondering wrote:

It is deeply offensive to see this tactic repeatedly used to insult people.

Anyone who genuinely has a mental illness of any sort who reads it feels diminished as a person even if it wasn't directed at them nor references their particular illness.

It reinforces prejudice and bias against people who have a mental disorder. You don't use cancer to insult someone.

I have a specific recent example but I won't use it because I don't want it to become about specific posters. I hope we can all acknowledge it happens and it is very wrong.

In my opinion it needs to be specifically addressed in policy and it needs to be an absolute prohibition.

No one should be allowed to  make that mistake more than twice. One warning and then you are out.

At the very least anyone who sees it should call it out.

I guess you are referring to another thread where you accused me of asking an ulterior question in order to persecute you? In the other thread I asked you an honest question and you responded to me by saying that I wasn’t really asking the question in good faith, but rather I was in actuality asking the question deceitfully in order to persecute you. I responded to you by saying that my question was asked truthfully and in good faith. You then responded to me by saying that I was lying about lying in order to persecute you. I once again stated to you that I was being truthful and acting in good faith. You responded to that by saying I was lying about lying about lying in order to persecute you. I then responded by saying that your continuing accusations toward me that I was continuously lying in order to persecute you might be based on “a persecutory delusion.” In any case, I think you are in no position to tell me what my “real” thoughts are. I also think it makes no sense for you to say you know what my thoughts are after I told you that those were not my thoughts. I also think you have no right to accuse me of ulterior malevolence aimed at persecuting you.

Pondering

JKR, I have neither referenced that thread nor the phrase or words you used in it. Most people reading this probably haven't read the other thread and have no clue what you are talking about. I did not accuse you of persecuting me. I never used that word nor exagerated to the extent that it would apply. I will reaffirm right now that you did not persecute me. 

Your words prompted me to think about this topic but I specifically didn't use that as an example because I didn't want make you feel attacked. If I wanted to draw a connection I would be using persecution and delusion as examples. I will now but only because you brought them into the discussion. 

Even using those terms informally when referencing posters is unnecessary. This is a message board. Nobody is persecuted here. Targeted maybe, persecuted no. Rather than saying delusion, mistaken would probably be more accurate, or misled, or even ill-informed, etc. 

It is unnecessarily abrasive and inflamatory to use such words in reference to other posters. 

MegB

This is a sensitive issue, and I understand it better than most, having lost friends and immediate family to major depressive disorder, something I was diagnosed with after my mother and brother ended their lives within months of each other. Mental illness runs in my family - my sister is bipolar and my niece has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The rest of us mostly hang on by our fingernails to some semblence of a normal life.

That said, language is fluid and contextual. Words have multiple meanings and context is important. I wouldn't ban someone outright for using offending language without pointing it out and asking for a more sensitive approach. For the most part folks here get the three strikes option before I consider them abusing the priviledge of posting on babble. That's not a hard and fast rule - there are levels of offense and it's a judgement call as to whether someone is either seriously harming the community or if they're just oblivious as to the impact of their posts. I always consider a person's willingness to grow in understanding before writing them off.

I have a soft spot for people who have a willingness to learn about what it means to be progressive, coming from a place that most of us would find anathema. They get a lot of latitude from me because they display a real need to understand the vision of a better world. And then there's the pure dumbfuckery. Less patience for that.

So no. No one is going to be banned for using language that could be construed as mental health ablist, uness they are consistently seen as disruptive and not open to understanding the impact of their language.

Unionist

Wow. Thank you so much, Meg.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Meg, I’m so deeply sorry to hear about your loss and the suffering your family has had and is currently going through. My deepest condolences to you.

WWWTT

Sorry to read about your pain you have to live through MegB. Very strong comment you made about moderation and overall one of the best comments I’ve ever read on any forum hands down!!!

Pondering

Thank-you for sharing Meg. I am sorry to hear about your experiences. 

Although I am fine it is because I am on medication for life for major depressive disorder and dysthymia. I tried 7 different anti-depressants before this and it was tough to keep trying. One made the bottom of my face feel frozen like at the dentist. Another had me waking up in the night because my teeth were clenched so hard and my arm would randomly jump like a seizure. My niece has borderline personality disorder. My mother suffered from depression and severe alcoholism. 

I did say banning would be draconian in all but the most extreme and obvious cases. 

Aside from that what I ask is that people be mindful about using words that can be interpreted as relating to mental health when referring to other posters particularly when in disagreement. It is likely to be taken as inflamatory. 

JKR

Pondering wrote:

JKR, I have neither referenced that thread nor the phrase or words you used in it. Most people reading this probably haven't read the other thread and have no clue what you are talking about. I did not accuse you of persecuting me. I never used that word nor exagerated to the extent that it would apply. I will reaffirm right now that you did not persecute me. 

Your words prompted me to think about this topic but I specifically didn't use that as an example because I didn't want make you feel attacked. If I wanted to draw a connection I would be using persecution and delusion as examples. I will now but only because you brought them into the discussion. 

Even using those terms informally when referencing posters is unnecessary. This is a message board. Nobody is persecuted here. Targeted maybe, persecuted no. Rather than saying delusion, mistaken would probably be more accurate, or misled, or even ill-informed, etc. 

It is unnecessarily abrasive and inflamatory to use such words in reference to other posters. 

In the other thread that led you to start this one you repeatedly stated that I was purposely lying to you and purposely acting in bad faith against you. Was that “abrasive, and inflammatory”?

In the other thread you stated that I was part of a group of 4 here who gang up on you. Was that “abrasive, and inflammatory”?

Pondering

JKR, I have not referenced, quoted or addressed anything from that thread because I don't want this thread to become personal. I am not going to defend myself nor accuse you here. 

I did participate in that other thread so if you want a response revive that thread and I will answer there then give you the last word and we will be done. 

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I deliberately did not reference a post because it isn't about a specific poster or thread or condition. 

Please don't turn this thread personal or connect it to any other discussion. 

Come on now. It is connected and you made false allegations in that thread today that you are now trying to get support for.

It seems to me that Pondering accused me of “using mental illness as an insult.”

JKR

Pondering wrote:

JKR, I have not referenced, quoted or addressed anything from that thread because I don't want this thread to become personal. I am not going to defend myself nor accuse you here. 

I did participate in that other thread so if you want a response revive that thread and I will answer there then give you the last word and we will be done. 

It seems to me that you’ve accused me of “using mental illness as an insult” on this web site. I think ownership of your statement belongs to you.

Your words have consequences.

quizzical

JKR you aren't improving perceptions of your actions by carrying on in this thread.

your actions are close, if not right on top of it, bullying.

stop now.

NorthReport

Thanks for your words Meg, a lot of wisdom in them. Sorry for your losses.

JKR

quizzical wrote:

JKR you aren't improving perceptions of your actions by carrying on in this thread.

your actions are close, if not right on top of it, bullying.

stop now.

Is it ok for Pondering to bully me?

quizzical

stop jkr. just stop. 

you are ignorantly derailing this thread.  if you hadn't popped up and started spewing i for one wouldn't have known you were having a disagreement with pondering in another thread. 

master of your own destiny i'd say.

 

Pondering

Thank-you quizzical. 

I deliberately didn't quote any accusations towards me in this thread so if anyone wants to edit the stuff out of their posts they can. In response I will edit out any reference to those posts. Evidence of our disagreement can vanish from this thread. 

Other than to edit out references in my posts if my offer is accepted, I'm not going to respond to any more accusations in this thread because it just extends the conversation. 

It seems you do not want to let it go so I will take the lead and revive the other thread.

Edited this post to shorten it. 

quizzical

thanks meg for sharing your family's story. 

i've got some issues with ableists casually tossing around marginalizing words.

just because they've been used forever doesn't mean they should continue to be.

it's dehumanizing and hurtful to those whose lives are impacted. we don't go around slighting MS sufferers or any other physical disease.  why some think cognitive health negativity is up for  grabs i don't understand.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Another voice expressing sadness and anger for what you and your family have been through.  It's come up in my family in different ways.

 

MegB

Thanks for the kind words everyone. I think pretty much everyone is touched by mental health issues - whether their own or someone they care about.  The stigma - particularly for women, who have been locked away in madhouses for for centuries for non-conformity - continues unabated, making it difficult to talk about openly without prejudicial preconceptions automatically kicking in. 

When I was diagnosed I was told I'd probably be on antidepressants for about six months, tops. That was 16 years ago. I've tried it all - every antidepressant you could think of, ECT, meditation, breathing exercises, light therapy, grief counselling, talk therapy, you name it. There have been some positive results in studies around the use of non-traditional drugs like ketamine and magic mushrooms for treatment-resistant depression, but you can't exactly walk into your shrink's office and ask to be prescribed a baggy of BC's finest shrooms or a few hits of Special K (unless you also want to be stigmatized as a drug-seeking addict). There are no protocols in place yet.

All chronic illnesses - but in particular mental health ones - have the potential to be isolating to the individual and can be difficult to talk about, But talk about it we must. Open and sensitive dialogue is, I believe, the most important way to combat the stigma. 

Misfit Misfit's picture

 

A simple test for anyone who suffers from depression. Go on a five day fast and only drink water for the five days. If over the course of the five days you start to feel better then you are reacting to something that you are eating. The offending foods are quite often our most favourite foods.

I personally am someone who vaguely remembers hunger and am not strong enough a human being to go on a hunger fast, but some people who have embarked on this have been able to identify that we are reacting to the chemicals like food dyes and food preservatives that are so common in our diets that by doing exhaustive personal work on ourselves we can learn to avoid foods which make us feel depressed.

Our bodies are not designed to consume the common western based diet rich in refined sugars and flours. Coffee, dairy, white flour, sugar, grains, apples, oranges, coffee, rice, and foods that we crave like for me chicken or the growth hormones they put in chicken to make them grow faster can have an effect on our bodies.

An elimination diet is one way of helping to determine if the problem is in what we are consuming in our lives because or current western based diet is toxic and leads to all kinds of health problems.these are things that doctors sometimes don’t tell us because antidepressants are a quick and easy fix to life’s problems.

Air pollution. Toxins in the water. All these things can make us unwell. Grains and dairy are huge offenders in making some people depressed.

I want to stress that not everyone battles depression because of food consumption. However the modern western diet with packaged and processed foods does directly affect some people who battle depression. We eat, we drink, we breathe, we sleep, and we poo. We live in a toxic environment and one problem in one of these areas can lead to mental health issues.

A grizzley bear in the Rocky Mountains wades into a lake and pulls out a fish. The bear eats the whole fish alive and whole and fresh. The bear gets all the vital nutrients from the whole fish.

A human goes to the very same lake and catches the  fish. The human fillets the fish and only eats the flesh and discards the eyes, the head, the skin, the bones, and the guts. The human wraps the fillets in cellophane wrap and sticks it in the freezer to eat for another day. Then two weeks later the human thaws the frozen fillets and fries the fish. By eating only the fillets, the human threw away most of the nutritional value from the fish. Freezing the fish caused many of the nutrients to deteriorate away. Cooking the fish deteriorated the nutritional value even more.

A rabbit will hop into a garden and nibble on vegetables that are alive, fresh, and whole. The nutritional value of the vegetables goes directly from the live vegetable and into rabblit’s mouth. The rabbit received the full nutritional benefit ofrom eating the vegetable. I will walk into the very same garden and cut off a head of lettuce. Once the head of lettuce has been cut the lettuce starts to lose its nutritional value. After about 20 minutes much of the nutrition in the lettuce has already deteriorated. But I will stick the head of lettuce in the crisper tray and eat the head over the course of a few says. This is the best case scenario for home grown vegetables.

Unfortunately, most of the lettuce and other fresh vegetables purchased in the grocery store is imported from California or Mexico. By the time the lettuce and other vegetables reaches our border much of the nutritional value has already been lost. Canning and freezing to preserve vegetables also causes nutritional deterioration. So even if we try to avoid processed and packaged foods that  are high in preservatives which give them s long shelf life, our food handling of healthy fruits and vegetables and meats can cause us to feel unwell. We all suffer from malnutrition to some extent and some of it is totally  unavoidable because of how we gather our food and prepare it.

If someone has a food intolerance to an apple, eating an apple can make one feel depressed. If someone really loves apples and eats apples regularly, the constant eating of apples can cause one to suffer from depression, and by identifying apples as a source, by removing apples from one’s diet, one can alleviate naturally some or all of the depression that the person is experiencing. Dairy is a very big offendender. By simply removing dairy products from one’s diet one can very easily clear up the their deoression.

Heavy metal toxicity. Lead, copper, mercury, cadmium, all can cause depression. Lead pipes, copper pipes, mercury dental fillings.

A five day fast can help one identify if the problem is in the diet. After five days, gradually implement one food at a time back into your diet. Say start off with strawberries. Then mark down if there was a change in mood from the strawberries. If no mood changes happened then strawberries are good to eat but only eat strawberries once every four days so that the body does not develop a food intolerance to the strawberries. Next meal try say eating a steak. If the steak does not affect your mood then a beef steak is ok for you to eat once every four days. Then try eating a kiwi or some other type of food. If the kiwi makes you feel worse then it is an offending food and it needs to be removed from your diet. A five day fast and a roratatipn diet has worked for some who have not responded to other other treatments.

If over the course of the five day fast you do not notice any gradual improvement then a food intolerance or combination of offending foods is not your problem.

WWWTT

Thanks for that comment Misfit! I'm somewhat aware of watching intake. Especially cutting out potato chips and other junk foods and fizzy pop drinks. I know for a fact from my reactions of eating chips, that potato chip manufacturers put something in the chips to make them addictive. I would actually go through withdrawal without them for the first couple weeks! I see the same reactions from my children as well. I suspect that this goes for other drinks and foods.

But it sounds like you've taken your awareness of diet to a whole new level!

Misfit Misfit's picture

One time in mid December about 20 years ago I was studying for my final exams.  I bought a package of seasoning and baked some chicken wings to eat for supper. That evening while I was studying  the most extreme depression settled in over me and I went through deep anguish and despair. 

I could no longer study. I went to bed and rolled around in the deepest and most futile anguish and contemplated taking my own life to end the pain. I cried all night. Then at 5:20 in the morning it all fluttered away and I was back to normal. I went to sleep.

when I woke up in the afternoon I wondered what had happened that would cause such a strong effect on me. Then I realized that the time frame lasted about as long as it takes to digest a meal from the evening before.

i went on a three day fast to try to get all the crap out of my system and I Started to feel a little better each day. That is all I lasted. I ate an orange and got depressed again. I loved oranges but I didn’t eat any until three weeks ago, so that is about 20 years without an orange. I felt better without eating oranges and after a 20 year hiatus the oranges had no effect on me.

i talked to my doctor 20 years ago about what had happened and he laughed and dismissed my food role as being pure garbage. He offered me anti-depressants instead which I did not fill out.

The i love chicken too much to give it up and it is like playing Russian roulette with my moods. Sometimes I am ok eating chicken and at other times I react to it making me depressed. So I think it depends for me on where the chicken comes from and what it was fed or maybe the hormones in the chicken that I react to.

foods do play a massive role in how we feel.

watch the movie “the Aviator”. The movie portrayef Howard Hughes drinking massive amounts of milk and that perhaps the dairy played a role in his mental degeneration over time.

I believe that hyperactive children are reacting to the foods that they eat and all the candy and junk food that they are given. Hyperactive children are given Ritalin and parents pop drugs down their throats to try to calm them down when all they need is s proper diet and food consumption that doesn’t make them react inappropriately.

 

anyway, we tend to look to doctors for a solution when we sometimes need to take ownership of our bodies and do these simple steps ourselves.

again not all depression is food related but some of it is and we need to look more at what we are consuming in our lives. A simple cucumber can set someone off into a depressive tail spin and a cucumber is  considered a healthy food. . We are all unique and we all react differently to the foods we eat.

Pondering

Although I was not diagnosed until I was 16 it started by the age of 4 or 5 for me. I wasn't picked on. I had no reason to be sad. I was just sad as my natural state of being. I have also tried various medications but I gave up for years at a time because of the side effects. Then I would get desperate and start trying again. I had terrible side affects with all the SSRIs. Around 15 years ago I went in for yet another try for some kind of treatment and the doctor asked me what I wanted to try. I was a heavy smoker, pack and a half a day, and I had heard that Zyban/Wellbutrin was actually an antidepressant and was a new type, not an SSRI. It is a reuptake inhibitor for norepinephrine and dopamine instead of serotonin. Within 12 hours I knew it was right for me even though I could not be feeling the antidepressant effects. I just felt really awake and within days felt like I could appreciate colour so much more. Then I got hives. I had to stop right away. I was so upset. I found a message forum and a woman had had hives too. But she said after a month off she was able to get back on but just had to increase the dosage more slowly. I asked my doctor for that and thank goodness he agreed. The really awake lovely colours thing went away with the hives. 

I still managed to go back on. The hives didn't return. The brighter colours and awakeness came back much subdued. I tried stopping several times, not exactly deliberately. I would run out and think "I feel fine, it's my head, I can manage now" but I would be in bed all day within a month. Warned it could stop working permanently I stopped doing that. I accept that it really is a physical ailment like an irregular heartbeat that has to be treated. I wonder if all those years I cycled through various antidepressants if they had just started me on them slowly if they might have worked.

I ended up on the right medication after decades because a doctor asked me what I wanted to try next and an internet forum gave me the information I needed to ask my doctor to try again. Treatment really is a crapshoot. 

I too tried various approaches, yoga, light therapy, which did not work individually but I find I still have to supplement the Wellbutrin with other techniques and in that sense they do work. While light therapy didn't work I did love the brightness. I now have 10 5000k LED lights in my living room on timers so they are on all day even when it is bright and sunny, and I am on the 5th floor facing southwest. I'm going to be putting 5000K in every room eventually. I find it makes a huge difference. It isn't just the brightness it is the colour of the light. The way things look under it. The lights near the window only matter on rainy or cloudy days but the rest matter all the time. 

I avoid disaster porn turning to written news. Sometimes I detach 100%. A while back a new cemetery of indigenous children was found. I tried to tell my daughter about it on the phone but it brought tears to my eyes, even now, to think of those poor children and how they and their families suffered.  It isn't just that they suffered. It's that they suffered needlessly as a result of pointless human cruelty. I react like that now so you can imagine how upsetting the world was when I was depressed. 

I mindfully listen to music every day. Exercise regularly but whatever I want to do not actual workouts. Wii, walking on the mountain, dancing, anything that will convince me to get off the couch. Being grateful for my great good fortune from where I live to family and friends, doing good deeds in the form of helping neighbours by picking up groceries etc. for those with limited mobility, volunteering with babies, and plants so I have greenery in the house all winter. 

Clinical depression and OCD are reaching greater public acceptance in part because many stars have come out and "admitted" to them. Some of the other mental illnesses not so much.

We are in the infancy of treating the brain as an organ that can malfunction like the heart or liver. Mental health care needs to be split into two clear separate categories. 

There are issues caused by physical malfunctioning of the brain, and there are issues that are better treated by a life coach or improving social skills or having a healthier lifestyle. Someone could need help with both but they are separate things. It's like putting people who need exercise in the same category as people who need medical treatment. 

Pondering

You make excellent points Misfit. I do believe that I absolutely need the medication I am on but there are layers of depression. It can go from a passing mood to depths of despair. The medication I take keeps me out of depths of despair territory. It isn't a happy pill. My mood still varies depending on other factors.

I've never explored food from a mood perspective other than I love chocolate cake, and cookies, and chocolate milk, and ice cream, and fudge, and cotton candy, and popsicles, and maple syrup, and whipped cream and beaver tails and doughnuts. Every night I eat chocolates, and not that dark healthy stuff either. If I have had too many sweets I switch to chips and pepsi or coke, I'm not fussy in that regard.

I am miraculously not overweight, do not have diabetes nor high blood pressure. After 10 years of not smoking my lungs are clear. 

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Yum you made me hungry.

Sean in Ottawa

I am so sorry to hear about your experience and loss Meg. Thank you for your courageous  post.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Although I was not diagnosed until I was 16 it started by the age of 4 or 5 for me. I wasn't picked on. I had no reason to be sad. I was just sad as my natural state of being. I have also tried various medications but I gave up for years at a time because of the side effects. Then I would get desperate and start trying again. I had terrible side affects with all the SSRIs. Around 15 years ago I went in for yet another try for some kind of treatment and the doctor asked me what I wanted to try. I was a heavy smoker, pack and a half a day, and I had heard that Zyban/Wellbutrin was actually an antidepressant and was a new type, not an SSRI. It is a reuptake inhibitor for norepinephrine and dopamine instead of serotonin. Within 12 hours I knew it was right for me even though I could not be feeling the antidepressant effects. I just felt really awake and within days felt like I could appreciate colour so much more. Then I got hives. I had to stop right away. I was so upset. I found a message forum and a woman had had hives too. But she said after a month off she was able to get back on but just had to increase the dosage more slowly. I asked my doctor for that and thank goodness he agreed. The really awake lovely colours thing went away with the hives. 

I still managed to go back on. The hives didn't return. The brighter colours and awakeness came back much subdued. I tried stopping several times, not exactly deliberately. I would run out and think "I feel fine, it's my head, I can manage now" but I would be in bed all day within a month. Warned it could stop working permanently I stopped doing that. I accept that it really is a physical ailment like an irregular heartbeat that has to be treated. I wonder if all those years I cycled through various antidepressants if they had just started me on them slowly if they might have worked.

I ended up on the right medication after decades because a doctor asked me what I wanted to try next and an internet forum gave me the information I needed to ask my doctor to try again. Treatment really is a crapshoot. 

I too tried various approaches, yoga, light therapy, which did not work individually but I find I still have to supplement the Wellbutrin with other techniques and in that sense they do work. While light therapy didn't work I did love the brightness. I now have 10 5000k LED lights in my living room on timers so they are on all day even when it is bright and sunny, and I am on the 5th floor facing southwest. I'm going to be putting 5000K in every room eventually. I find it makes a huge difference. It isn't just the brightness it is the colour of the light. The way things look under it. The lights near the window only matter on rainy or cloudy days but the rest matter all the time. 

I avoid disaster porn turning to written news. Sometimes I detach 100%. A while back a new cemetery of indigenous children was found. I tried to tell my daughter about it on the phone but it brought tears to my eyes, even now, to think of those poor children and how they and their families suffered.  It isn't just that they suffered. It's that they suffered needlessly as a result of pointless human cruelty. I react like that now so you can imagine how upsetting the world was when I was depressed. 

I mindfully listen to music every day. Exercise regularly but whatever I want to do not actual workouts. Wii, walking on the mountain, dancing, anything that will convince me to get off the couch. Being grateful for my great good fortune from where I live to family and friends, doing good deeds in the form of helping neighbours by picking up groceries etc. for those with limited mobility, volunteering with babies, and plants so I have greenery in the house all winter. 

Clinical depression and OCD are reaching greater public acceptance in part because many stars have come out and "admitted" to them. Some of the other mental illnesses not so much.

We are in the infancy of treating the brain as an organ that can malfunction like the heart or liver. Mental health care needs to be split into two clear separate categories. 

There are issues caused by physical malfunctioning of the brain, and there are issues that are better treated by a life coach or improving social skills or having a healthier lifestyle. Someone could need help with both but they are separate things. It's like putting people who need exercise in the same category as people who need medical treatment. 

I am also sorry to hear about the personal challenges you have had finding the right medication. I have had people close to me suffer through this. One, an artist, had to deal with medication that a side effect was to numb her creativity. It is very true that what helps can also harm of create problems. I hope you are able to find things that you are able to tolerate and that help.

I think the number of people who are never diagnosed and who have to cope on their own would be staggering. I think that while people got used to getting physicals, it would be better if the entire population would also receive supportive mental health checks as well. It is likely that almost everyone could benefit.

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I am also sorry to hear about the personal challenges you have had finding the right medication. I have had people close to me suffer through this. One, an artist, had to deal with medication that a side effect was to numb her creativity. It is very true that what helps can also harm of create problems. I hope you are able to find things that you are able to tolerate and that help.

I think the number of people who are never diagnosed and who have to cope on their own would be staggering. I think that while people got used to getting physicals, it would be better if the entire population would also receive supportive mental health checks as well. It is likely that almost everyone could benefit.

Thanks Sean,

As Meg noted it is important to speak out. Wellbutrin does work for me and I will take it for life. I just don't rely on it alone. 

I like the term "life-coach". Ministers or Priests used to provide life advice, some still do. Most churches require people take pre-marriage counselling now.