My New Therapist Called me Self Aware This Week…

I knew mental illness was going to end up as my post this week when I (hated myself and) tweeted into a trending topic. But — these topics frequently make it into my fuck budget because mental health issues keep touching my life in various ways. It’s not invisible to me.

Truthfully though it is invisible because people who suffer with one aren’t really able to tell their employers or friends without fear of stigma. That reality was what a lot of what people were tweeting into the #MentalIllnessTaughtMe hashtag. Brutal truth.

But it’s not just trying to get out of the label and stigma associated with it, it’s trying to get the (right) diagnosis and help in the first place.

The healthcare system is completely unable to deal with mental illnesses, and this goes doubly so if you’re a veteran. There’s been a lot written about the poor treatment of vets who come home with terrible PTSD from combat. Not enough has been written about who they go home to and the devastating impact on families. Medical acceptance and understanding of what’s happening to those who serve is getting better, but it’s still a long ways off from “acceptable”. Watching a partner try to get help from the VA is the most mind blowing experience because it is just so incredibly terrible.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you that it’s fucked, we also have generations of women who never gotten the ADHD diagnosis they needed. Which is also to say that mental health issues can be completely ruthless, life-destroying, and indiscriminate. You probably know more than one person who has experienced or is living through one. Bonus: with the healthcare system as is, trying to find “normal” feels like a game of roulette until you find the right doctor, medication, technique, etc.

Perhaps some mental illness is less invisible than we think, but that requires people funding research about it. My family history hints at this genetic tie and potential cause of schizophrenia, but it’s nice to see it as a structured paper.

If you’ve never experienced or been touched by mental health issues — I’m pretty sure you just weren’t paying attention to everyone around you.

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