Professing Mental Illness

An article, Woman says stigma the worst part of living with mental illness, in the Intelligencer about upcoming Mental Illness Awareness Week in Canada features Tony Wade’s story. I would imagine there are other people with similar stories, and that they just aren’t brave (or foolhardy, as the case may be) enough to come forward.

For the past sixteen years, she has been taking medication to control her schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and post traumatic stress.

I just had this vision of a hand dipping into a hat containing slips of paper, and on each of these slips of paper was printed the name of a psychiatric disorder, in a psychiatrist’s office.

Some people, as you can see, are just too aware. I would imagine this woman has spent a little time in a psychiatrist’s office that might have been better spent elsewhere. This pertains not only to her, but to her entire family as well.

Both of Wade’s biological parents suffered from schizophrenia, as well as her brother and sister.

I have seen a lot of people, and I’ve seen a lot of families, but I’ve never in my life seen a schizophrenia. People with this schizophrenia, are they easily distinguishable from people with cats and dogs?

She’s seen the same psychiatrist since she was 21, and they get along swell together. Yeah, but I’m thinking maybe her relations with other people aren’t optimal, or she wouldn’t be seeing so much of him. Her psychiatric forays would have come to an abrupt end long ago.

I guess this article doesn’t need anybody else in it with this woman’s story.

I’d like to point out that there are better ways to spend your life than in mental health treatment, but what’s the use.

If I had one question for Tony, I think it would go something like this: Don’t you think that there is a more practical profession in the world for you to pursue than the profession of mental patient?

I don’t think it a moot question.

3 Responses

  1. Once upon a time it were mainly the elderly, retired people living on their own, and feeling lonely, who were said to sometimes pursue a new career, as patients. Today it seems this has become the career to pursue for everybody, disregarded age – even toddlers, well, representing their parents that is – who for one or the other reason finds any other career dissatisfying. While people also seem to have spotted the unlimited possibilities for promotion psychiatry, opposite to other medical specialities that require certain qualifications like having a real disease, has to offer them: ” ‘Schizophrenia’ isn’t enough? May we suggest some ‘borderline’, and/or ‘PTSD’? It’ll be hard for anyone to surpass that amount of misery. It’ll make you look and feel like a real success! Do you want it in addition, or instead? If at some point you’re dissatisfied with the effect, you’re welcome to come by any time and get a makeover. We have almost 300 labels to choose between. Just tell us your preferences, and we’ll design the unique misery that is just you!” .

    If you can’t be anything else, you can always be a mental patient. Never mind that it requires basically nothing to become one.

    • Yes, or a mental health worker. Recovery at a snails pace, someday somebody will get out of the mental health system entirely. The old argument was that ex-patients could do a better job than traditional mental health workers because they had been there. The new argument seems to be that ex-patients can become traditional mental health workers. It is my opinion that sometimes recovery can come as quick as a snap of the fingers. It’s like the kind of amazing insight that brings a Zen buddhist to enlightenment. It’s the kind of insight that says the system is crazy. Who needs it?

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