"Before you judge me...take a look at you!" --Metallica, from "Holier Than Thou." on the "BLACK" album.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Why the nimrods who picked this month to foster awareness of mental health clients and issues is beyond me. For it was in May that the Romans honored their dead...which is also why you see very few May weddings as well.

I have been dealing with my illness since I was but a tyke. Nearly forty years later, I daresay I have seen some progress...but we still have a way to go before our society stops treating the infernal pantheon of mind-and-mood disorders called "mental illness" for anything other that what it is.

All mental illnesses are, indeed, serious. Serious enough that professional help is required to treat the illness-at-hand. The results of not taking care of your illness can mean that your illness will take care of you...by wasting you via self-destruction. Be it fast (a one-way swan dive from the Coronado Bridge), or slow (chain-smoking, drinking to excess, self-medicating with street drugs), there is one factor common to both ways--your demise is assured!

Recovery from a mental health crisis is long, slow, and expensive. Besides talk therapy, you often will need to take at least one medication. Now, do not let those "not in the know" feed you a bunch of Bravo Sierra about you "not needing your happy pills." In their ignorance lay the seeds of your returning to a terminal "downward spiral." If you require meds, you need to take them according to your doctor's orders. With them in your system, your ability to properly function in daily life increases. However, if the meds-in-question are giving you nasty side-effects, talk to your doc before telling your meds to take a walk! That is why your psychiatrist is in the loop regarding your treatment regimen...their training as a medical doctor is invaluable to proper regulation of your medications.

Still, many folks see the mentally ill as they see a pet rat. With the rat, they often get "The Willard Syndrome"...an unreasonable fear of rats brought on by a two-bit horror film called--natch--"Willard." With we mental health clients, it's "The Blood-Crazed Psycho" syndrome, in that a lot of folks think that a typical mental health client is a violent-and-dangerous psychopath one step from a gore-filled killing spree. This stereotype can be laid at the feet of the slasher flicks of the 1970's-1990's genre. Lots of blood, gore, nubile victims--and at least two untreated psychotics running around with sharp instruments and power tools in every flick.

It is no small wonder that some bozo in Sacramento hasn't tried to re-open the State Hospital System and shove every "Psycho"--treated-and-otherwise--back into the hospitals, where most of us do not belong in the first place. With the recent budget slashings, however, that greatest fear of all may yet come to fruition.

In the end, however, you will, indeed, find that any treated mentsal health client isn't in the least a killer waiting to unleash their fury. In fact, we clients can often be hard-to-tell from the general population...until you ask us.



magicsfive May 27, 2009 @ 3:06 p.m.

Nice. Opening with a quote from Metallica!! I love this blog. I understand you too. My time working at County Mental Health was the most amazing experience of my life. I began to see the homeless and the mentally ill as individuals, as people, rather than a statistic or a nuisance. I couldn't wait to get to work and dreaded the end of the day. I know that sounds strange but it's the truth. You are so right about taking your meds, if they are prescribed to you and you find that you do not like taking them, please tell your doctor, as quitting cold turkey could have dire consequences. I suffer from anxiety. I take meds for it. they work for me, it is as simple as that. I wish you all the best, my friend. xoxo


lallaw May 28, 2009 @ 12:26 a.m.

Magics! I almost wrote you to point out the Metallica quote!! LOL...glad you found it on your own, and glad to find you again period. :) LOVED LOVED LOVED your blogs...know how you can tell a good Mom? Read her daughter's Mother's Day poem ...

Thank you, Robbiebear, for having the courage to blog your story. So much more needs to be said about this topic...while we've come a long way from imprisoning the mentally ill...we still have a very long way to go. So often there is a biological basis for what people suffer psychologically...and yet, the prejudice continues. Stay strong.


magicsfive May 28, 2009 @ 6:58 a.m.

LOL nothing like a friend who is really getting to know you ;) thank you lallaw...i've missed you guys! thank you for loving my blogs... Isn't this a wonderful blog though? i am so happy he had the courage to write it. oh and Micah is a little boy lol....it's ok, i get that ALL THE TIME... mmmuah xoxo


sam June 14, 2009 @ 10:57 a.m.

Hey - I want to read more of your stuff. Where can I find it? I'm a sibling of a mentally ill person, and I want to connect him up with survivors of the system who not only understand where they are and where they've been, but have a (rightfully earned) attitude about being treated like pet rats.

Let me know Sam


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