Wednesday, October 9, 2013

US National Mental Health Awareness week.

This is a good time to reflect on mental health awareness week. Practically no one knows about the awareness week so I posted the crap out of it on FB. See 

I demand presents! 

Seriously, people should know that one in four people suffer from some kind of mental illness whether it's depression to schizophrenia; whether its professionally treated, or God forbid, not professionally managed.

The only way I really survive is with a sense of humor. I am, as you can read a few posts ago, very well medicated. I can't feel the medications, except for seroquel. It makes me dizzy or sleepy. I can't or shouldn't take it when I'm going to drive somewhere. I always drive okay, primarily because I don't drink and drive and avoid any distracting activities. 

A police officer wouldn't know the difference in my driving under the influence of seroquel, but I wonder if my timing is just a bit off. Like if someone makes an irrational stop right in front of me. I have had rabbits and other animals run out in front of me and I've never even ran over the remains of an animal, but I still can feel dizzy, so I don't drive on seroquel. The rest of my meds do say "can make you dizzy," but they don't. I'm probably just used to them. 

If I did get into a crash and I maybe acted a little off, I wonder how they could tell if I had just taken a seroquel unless I told them. I have so many drugs in my system I doubt a blood test would be useful anyway. I just have to rely on my better judgement. I have my wife or one of my sons drive me around when I do feel dizzy or sleepy. I think driving sleepy is one of the worst things you can do. It should be up there with driving drunk (well probably not that extreme), texting (also that extreme), and eating which I find distracting. I have been known to eat while driving, but I think I'll stop doing that.

Well, there's one thing. Mentally ill, depressed, bipolar... ect... shouldn't drive if they don't feel perfectly aware. I know that's not what they mean by "Awareness Week," but it does make me think.

What does it feel like to be lumped into the category or stigma of being mentally ill. It took me a long time to come to grips with the connection between being bipolar and being mentally ill. That's why I really prefer that people refer to or think that bipolar disorder is really manic depressive illness. 

Some mental illnesses like depression can be treated and forgotten. Some people are chronically or clinically depressed which is something else all together. One shouldn't lump behavioral illnesses with chemical illnesses like manic depressive illness (Bipolar) or schizophrenia. 

You hear a lot about mental illness on the news, almost always, say 95% of the time in a negative way. For instance, the guy who opened fire on the audience of the movie theater, coincidentally about fifteen miles from where I live and on the same night that I was watching a movie myself across town from this deadly massacre. It could have been my theater. My movie. I just got lucky I guess. They said he was "mentally ill." Of course he was. More recently, the poor woman who ran the police on a short car chase in Washington, DC. They said she was suffering from mental illness and had stopped taking her medication. How about the guy who poured gas all over himself on the National Mall also in Washington D.C.. Of course they were mentally ill, but I hate when they just say the words "Mentally ill." That could mean anything, but no one ever follows up the story with the facts.

We know, without a doubt, that someone that stops taking the kind of meds that I am on, will become delusional and dangerous to themselves or others. 

The most important things that Mental Health Awareness Week can do is end the stigma and open the healing or management and help people realize that the mentally ill need help from their families and friends. I have a very strong circle of family, friends, therapists, and psychiatrists who watch me all the time. They keep track of any irrational thing I do. They make sure I'm safe. I feel aware and safe today.    

1 comment:

  1. Don't focus on the end; take it one step at a time. Don't give up and don't look at how far you have to go, just start today!

    Kopi Luwak