The Grey of Mental Illness

When you are labeled as having any of the numerous "mental illnesses" out on the market, you have hit the grey ribbon. Also if you are diagnosed with Brain Cancer, you are awarded the Grey ribbon. This is not a ribbon that most people want to have.

In America, 9 out of 10 prescriptions written today are for anti-depressants. What does this say about our society and culture?

There are so many labels out there for mental illness; Bi-polar, AD/HD, ODD, PTSD, Psychosis, Metal Retardation, etc. Many of these are unknown but when other people hear that a person has one of these or any of the other millions of known and unknown mental illnesses there is a stigma surrounding the person that is diagnosed with the illness and people treat you differently.

How do I know? I have Bi-Polar Level 1. My condition is currently being treated with medications, but I am still unstable as I can be.

When I am open about my Manic Depression (Bi-Polar) people tend to look at me in a different light and they tend to treat me differently than any other person. I get a lot of "oh you poor thing!" These are four words that anyone with a mental disorder hates to hear.

I cannot help that I have this illness. It is hereditary in nature. I didn't ask to have this illness, and I didn't ask to have it to the magnitude that I have it at. One minute I can be as happy as a lark and the next I can be as depressed over the smallest thing. But then I have periods that last two to three weeks of little sleep and very hyper activity. This is the mania portion of my illness. Then I will quickly slide into a depression that can last for the same amount of time.

I admit I am not good with money management and I tend to impulse spend. I think that my spending habits are a cry for help sometimes, like I am missing something in my life that I feel if I don't have material things, I am not happy.

The worst part of my life is dealing with a child that has AD/HD and learning disabilities. Trying to help him cope with his own illness while at the same time trying to keep my own under control is a challenge, but somehow we manage.

AD/HD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and he will live with this for the rest of his life. I know an adult with the same disorder and she is a productive member of society with a job in a high-ranking state office. Medications and counseling helps people with AD/HD and with people that suffer from Bi-Polar. But we will have these illnesses all our lives and must learn to live a daily routine around them.

It is a livable illness, as most mental illnesses are. And I think that by my coming public that I have this illness will help others out there to know that they are not alone.

Published on August 25, 2006 in