It’s just in your head

Mental illness is a condition. We must remember that. A recent comment on a post led me to make this a post, since it was getting a bit long for a comment and contained issues that I wanted to express to the general public readers.

Some people have “pulled themselves out” of depression. But what does that mean?

If you pull yourself out of mental illness and get back to normal functioning… I don’t know, I’d be hard pressed to call that mental illness. Sure, you might be able to get to some form of function, but completely recovering by yourself to the same place you were before in my opinion is not mental illness.

Clinical Depression is mental illness.

Mental illness is by definition highly debilitating.

“In addition, for a diagnosis of major depression to be made, the symptoms must not be better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.”

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx22.htm

One of the problems with depression is that people treat it differently than bipolar or schizophrenia, because for one reason or another only bipolars and schizophrenics are “crazy”.

For many people I would argue that they cannot get out of it themselves. I mean, think of a broken leg. Ya you can let it heal, but you’ll often be debilitated for life because of very badly healed bone.

People often do not treat mental illness and “physical” illness the same way. For some reason antidepressants are a “crutch” that isn’t necessary, while a physical crutch is at least temporarily necessary if you want to be able to deal with anything more than laying down. Antidepressants are more like a wheel chair in many cases. A paralyzed person can work without a wheelchair, but it’s damn near impossible. I don’t see why people assume depression or bipolar or schizophrenia is necessarily different.

There are cases of temporary mental illness, that is, mental illness that seems to be healed after a certain amount of time. And I do believe that can be real depression. Just like pneumonia is a temporary illness if you get it dealt with, in some cases depression can be temporary.

We must be careful though. Depression is not just the feeling or the apathy. If it is truly a brain chemistry issue, fixing your own physical brain is extremely difficult or possibly impossible. Depression can entail a lot of things that are very hard to deal with. In my case (with bipolar) I had psychosomatic aphasia and paralysis. I also have Tourette’s and OCD. Those two are often comorbid.

Attempting to deal with it completely by yourself is what people usually do before they get help. No one wants to think of themselves as mentally ill. You have to get to the point where you can’t get out of it yourself and are willing to admit that you’re ill. Or to the point where you’re a danger to yourself or others.

I really am not trying to single the commenting person. First, the position given was vague and I don’t want to impute intent or meaning when I’m not completely sure. Also it’s a common position and should be addressed to everyone. I’m not mad about what the person wrote. Honestly it gave me the inspiration to write this post. And I certainly do not impute all these beliefs to that person, I’m relatively sure that person didn’t mean everything that I wrote down. It just reminded me and I wanted to write out the possibilities thoroughly.

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3 thoughts on “It’s just in your head

  1. I see you’re viewpoint. For a writer, I expressed myself poorly. Let me say…I just posted recently to a fellow follower my belief that a person who suffers from depression or any number of other similar disorders are not able to “snap out of it.” And I know this to be true.

    I’m more sympathetic than you know. I lost my mother, and recently a brother to suicide. Both suffered with depression. I’m very sensitive to the nuances in speaking about what one can and cannot do. I suffer from anxiety. My remaining brother hides from life behind alcohol.

    I was simply referring to the fact IF no rope is offered (medication, therapist, a family member, a friend etc.)–if we can somehow get past our negative thoughts and inability to take action because of the depression, we are sometimes able to crawl out (and I do mean crawl) of the hole using tools (inner tools) we already possess but have forgotten–using the one grain of hope that is left you forgot you had–that type of thing. Whatever it is, it’s what drives you to go ahead and go to class even though you are unwashed. You were able to go to school because you stood on that mound of dirt to get out of the hole. You are still depressed. You may be apathetic too. But you used an inner tool or you wouldn’t have gone to class at all.

    I am mortified my comment came across as insensitive and shortsighted. My heartfelt apologies for driving you to make a new post on the comment. I sincerely hope this isn’t another one.

    • You left a comment on another blog and I think I left a response

      http://marissamullins.me/2012/01/22/you-know-youre-sick-right-how-lethal-is-mental-illness/#comment-19

      I think that’s the one you’re speaking of.

      I tried, sadly unsuccessfully, to make it clear that you only reminded me of the sentiment, and that I figured I had misunderstood. I most assuredly did not assume you held all those beliefs, if any.

      To be fair though, I did initially feel some anger. Then I realized that

      A) it probably wasn’t what you intended
      and
      B) I was way overreacting

      And to be fair, if I tried to make it clear that I was not targeting you with all of it, than I too made a mistake in clarity.

      So, please don’t be mortified, and you don’t need to apologize.

      And I tried to relate in this post that you can deal with it by yourself but it’s sort of like trying to walk on a broken leg that’s badly healed. You might be able to do it, and most of us do when we’re ill but either don’t want to admit it or don’t get help for one reason or another, but you won’t be in perfect shape.

      That’s all.

      Please don’t be embarrassed.

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