Who Are The Sick? From Here to The Moon.

Michael Jordan, Slamdunk Contest, Chicago, IL ...

Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #162 – Know your need for self-care.

Question:  In FriendToYourself.com, am I writing to people who are sick?

I was speaking with Beth Jusino the other night, when she asked me this.  I thought I’d ask you in turn.  You readers might be interested in commenting.

What is mental illness?  Are you writing to people who are sick?

Beth is smart.  She’s heard of Major Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia and such.  She didn’t ask me this question so I could read her the DSM IV-TR.  She was asking how far mental illness is allowed to go before it gets named.  And how about the space beyond?  Are there bits that aren’t named?  Does it drift along an arch between Crispy Health and Completely Ill?

What do you think?

One reason I like to write #mentalillness hashtags on @Twitter is because I have a theory that people who have allowed themselves to be named, who have accepted to any degree a need for help, who have released their history and claimed their future over and over again – well I have a theory about these people that explains why I write to them.

These people are more able to hear the knocking sounds of wanting.  These people are more available to grow.  These people accept the gift of health and any space between here and there where they find themselves, all the while pressing; a courageous forward effort to freedoms.  These people care about self-care and they know they are accountable for it.

I remember this,

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

It makes sense.  However, it isn’t as easy as calling a spade a spade, and not because I’m lacking honesty and directness.

I heard a variation of this analogy years ago and I don’t know who said it first.

If you ask me to compete in a slam dunk contest with Michael Jordan, competition would be over before it began.  I’d trip, travel, and carry my way to the net and not get air.  But move the basketball net to the moon, ask us to dunk and the competition is just as over.  The space of air between my shoes and the earth is not much different from the space between Mr. Jordan’s shoes and the earth when we are both shooting for a basketball hoop on the moon.

Maybe you get where I’m going with this.

What do you think?  What do you say to Beth or anyone on this?

22 thoughts on “Who Are The Sick? From Here to The Moon.

  1. Re “being named” In my 34 years as a high school teacher I have seen the availability of mental health assessors and providers increase and expand but still reaching a far too inadequate number re the size of the “in need” population. Too many seriously dysfunctional families and children remain unassisted. On the other hand it seemed every kid “gets named” with something. Their seems not only general compartments of mental illness but individual compartments so that entire populations can be typed, identified and remediated. Everyone can be “named’. That sounds crazy. How did all the people before us ever survive and build civilizations without talk therapy and/or meds? I guess that everyone has levels of mental illness, neuroses, and insanity and the fittest of the species in the history of humanity were able to be productive without help or in spite of not getting help. Is that a logical conclusion? Or is the entire field snake oil fraud?

    • “everyone has levels of mental illness, neuroses, and insanity and the fittest of the species in the history of humanity were able to be productive without help or in spite of not getting help”

      …either that or

      “the entire field snake oil fraud”

      – u don’t mince do u Carl. got to luv ya’!

  2. My psychologist hated it when I said I was mentally ill. Emotionally, yes. Mentally, no. But there was a time when I absolutely could not participate in a blog site like this (I don’t think there were blogs back then!) without becoming so undone that I would end up in the emergency room just because I was trying to tell my story. I was too sick to want to believe my own story, and I certainly didn’t want to admit it to anyone else. It was hard enough getting it out to my therapist, and it took years of hard work to do it. I think that was mental illness.

    Today, my best friend’s Mom (whom I loved, too)died and I can’t get to my friend and her family – half way across the country – because we’re headed for California this weekend. So I cried and was depressed and found it almost impossible to get through the things I needed to do today (even took a nap which I don’t do that often anymore)…and tonight the fibromyalgia flare is so bad it’s hard to breathe or have anything touching me. But that’s emotional and I can write about it (and be grateful to have people who, even though they don’t know me, care enough to read what I write), and then I can take a klonopin or two for the anxiety and the muscle spasms and I will sleep tonight, call my friend in the morning, cry with her and keep packing for California.

    Mental illness – I was paralized and incapable of doing anything for myself. Emotional instability (Call it illness, if you wish) – I know how to take care of myself…and, even better, my husband knows it, too, so we won’t spend the night at the hospital.

    You’re right, Sana. Those of us who have been there know. Glad you’re working with all of us – sick or well or somewhere in between. God bless you.

  3. I was thinking that, basically, we’re all on the spectrum of being ill in some way…and I think this is what you mean with your analogy. I am not sure what Crispy Health would look like… Our biology is so fragile. Maybe the basket on the moon represents the ideal of health…can anyone reach it? Can we even define perfect health?

  4. J.R. has said to me before, but “I just don’t’ think of you as sick.” I can tell you that as someone with BPD and MDD, I am ill. I suppose there are different spectrums of the word however.

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  6. I think the more important question might not be ‘who are the sick?’ but ‘who is in power?’

    I have been under psychiatric care since 1996 in the UK. I am now not, but the serious diagnosis which they know I do not accept and always had to have forced on me has not been rescinded. Over two years ago they decided I was no longer in their care, without rescinding the diagnosis.

    I told them about stalking and harassment and they insisted on treating my belief in it as a symptom of deteriorating mental health, and arriving unexpectedly without engaging in communication to put me in hospital for treatment for schizophrenia. One professional even asked me why it mattered to me, if it was actually happening.

    All that time they believed I was a paedophile and that I had chased my neighbour up the street with a knife, but they never told me any of this themselves. I had to ask them, somehow I worked out these might be possibilities, with the ‘help’ of the ‘media stalkers’ themselves. Mentally delete whichever set of inverted commas you feel appropriate.

    The stalking has now turned to menacing and sometimes violent vigilantism, which in my recent experience has also become institutionalised when I needed to use hotels and a national youth hostel to serve as the home I no longer have since my social landlord found their long-awaited excuse to evict me. And the homelessness workers are not prepared to get involved with that side of something which is going to affect my next tenancy unless it is dealt with, because it is a legal issue. I have not gone straight into a new tenancy because I thought for my sake and my new neighbours’ sakes, and my new landlord, I should sort this out first.

    So again, I think it might be more important to examine the question of ‘who is in power?’, and ‘who are the ‘helpers’?’ than establishing who is supposedly sick.

    There is a lot of antipsychiatry material on wordpress and other sites. I am responding to this one post without reading all your others so I don’t know how much time you give that material. But at least it is your one post I am responding to, and not what others have said about you, and I am responding to you directly with the situation as I understand it, not with my psychiatric interpretation of what is happening to you based on an accepted body of belief and accusations about you that you don’t know exist and that I haven’t even told or asked you about.

    My sickness comes from constant demeaning behaviour towards me from others, being faced with the consequences of not knowing the accusations for years and others believing they are true, and having to keep a tight rein on the way I express myself and my emotions, sometimes anger – especially in my present vulnerable and desperate situation of homelessness and being constantly faced with these accusations by new hotel/hostel keepers but not directly, talking about ‘little plastic bottles’ instead of children, tampering with the words they speak to make them sound like ‘kids’, which is not what the word is supposed to be and has no place in the context of the conversation (or not calling a spade a spade) – for fear that if I lose control of my expression, even without being violent, someone will call the police and I will be put back in hospital. I admitted myself for chest pains recently and they insisted I should have 2 psychiatric assessments before they would allow me to leave. If I went in with kidney disease or as an injured passenger in a road crash, they would do the same thing, I am sure.

    They held me all day, could get no blood from my veins, and were saying things like “Sarah Swiftly”, Sarah being a key name in the accusations. And other things like that. One of the nurses was saying ‘I don’t like paedo’, but she was disguising it as pillow, making beds or something. And a black male nurse (one of the churches involved in the accusations and another close to my last home and connected to them is black, one predominantly, the other totally) was talking unctuously about people wanting to be forgiven. I have since decided that voice does not signify God’s authority or anointing, as the church would put it, but that the person thinks a lot of themselves and thinks their hearers should. But basically they were taunting me, a captive audience and a patient who went in in pain, chest pain, severe and repetitive and debilitating, with this stuff I had not brought up. Although I am a Christian, I expect hospital staff to respect the hospital environment and not to abuse their position and their patients in that way. And I made a big point of saying so and making sure other people around me understood, or it is possible they might not then have let me go. They told me I was disturbing people who needed to sleep and I said I needed the same thing and had the same rights as everyone else there but they had trampled on those rights. I was there for chest pains, not delusional behaviour. I needed the rest there, at least, that I am being deprived of elsewhere and that has led to this stress. For the first assessment they came in while I was feeling groggy and tired and not up to interview and I said I didn’t consider myself fit for interview, but they insisted and I let them bully me. I was right, I was not fit for that kind of interview which had nothing to do with what I had gone to them about.

    I am 50 now, into my menopause, and while there might be a chance I might be able to adopt, although at my age I have previously thought twice because I would want to be around longer for the child, and because I am sure I myself would feel loss of their adulthood knowing I might not survive that long, which might communicate unhealthily in the relationship, short of something out of the ordinary happening I will not be having my own children.

    I am not a paedophile. I did not chase a man up the street with a knife.
    But they have taken my life, without telling me they were waiting for me to confess to these imagined crimes they hadn’t even told me they suspected me of. They told me they thought I was a danger to my neighbour but they never told me how. The most physical contact I had with him was to touch him on the shoulder and say we could not live as we were doing as close neighbours (he was upstairs in the same building. I never had a knife in my hand while talking to him. If I ever did with anyone it was because I was using it for cooking.

    I don’t know if you put these straight through or if they have to be moderated. I know past comments I have left for wordpress psychiatrists have not appeared. That in itself makes ME feel angry and suspicious.

    I keep my own copies of my comments, though, in case they do NOT appear. I don’t think I have named and shamed anyone yet for discrimination or whatever, and this is not a threat. It is just for your information and me being open with you from the start that this is what I am doing.

    I would like to say thanks and everything, but I feel emotionally compromised in observing the niceties of communication when psychiatric professionals neither post what I write nor acknowledge it to me, very often. It drains me having to pretend that professionals are as open as I am.

    There are things I have not said, obviously, like I initiated contact with the police over this three times, the third time insisting on it and giving them a statement in writing, albeit through email which they asked me to confirm I had written.

    Since then, almost three years ago, they have not got back to me and the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) has drawn it out and asked for repeated clarifications which when – as a vulnerable female myself who has suffered sexual and other abuse and been abused by the authorities, particularly in this – I finally challenged one of those requests, they discontinued correspondence so now I officially know nothing of what decisions have been taken except what I have in my psychiatric notes where they told the housing association to handle it as they saw fit, saying I had been involved in several instances of paedophilia.

    I haven’t told you everything involved in that, but I have written as much as I feel comfortable with for this medium and made an attempt to open up communication between us

    • Thanks Sue. It doesn’t feel good to not trust your community. I’m glad you have connected with us. Thank you. Comment any time, as much as you like, just keep it “nice,” “polite and respectful” for all our readers and contributors. Things have gotten pretty scary for you along the way. Keep on.

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