Why Do We Hide Mental Issues in America?

It has come to my attention that if a person tells you that he has Asperger’s* and you tell another person that the guy has Asperger’s, that is a bad thing. If the guy had a broken leg or a bad heart, and you tell others of those things, it’s okay.

Mental health and mental health disorders have been stigmatized since forever. Think of the jokes people STILL make about schizophrenia, autism, being bipolar (manic depression), having OCD, and so on and so forth. Depression is also a bad thing– don’t let anyone know.

She’s mental. He’s schizo. She’s retarded. He’s a nut case.

I’m about to watch a movie, a romcom about a man with Asperger’s and a woman without mental health issues. It is called Adam, and it was recommended to me by a man with the same condition. He said I should watch it. I put it in my Netflix queue, and it came today.

Netflix queue? Aren’t you streaming? I can hear your comments through cyberspace. I do both, and there’s a lot more available with the mail-in kind of Netflix than the streaming kind. I like old stuff, and you can’t always get old stuff when streaming.

But I digress.

After I watch the movie, I’ll have more to say.

I’m really hoping we can destigmatize mental health issues and quit hiding them from others. Sharing that information would sure help people understand one another better.

I have OCD, and I tell people how it isn’t about keeping everything neat and tidy. I am SO not that person. Mine is about imagining the worst-case scenario in everything, all the time. I’ve learned how to tamp it down, but it has taken me decades to get there.

I have friends with adult schizophrenic children. They tell others to help them understand. A man with the condition used to work for me. He was very sweet and loved my dog. Eventually his meds made him unable to work for more than two hours at a time, and he didn’t drive. I had to let him go.

I know a woman with epilepsy who doesn’t drive.  Why should it be any different to talk about schizophrenia than it is to talk about epilepsy?

Depression meds are lifesavers for some and only work part of the time for others. I feel bad for younger people who spend most of their time inside and on screens. Too much of that makes me agitated. I need nature, physical exercise or physical labor to get me into a good place. I like to be physically tired at night so that I will sleep well.

I exercise, hike, garden, and clean to get myself physically tired. My motivation also stems from the fact that I have thinning bones, and weight-bearing exercise makes them stay as strong as possible without drug injections. That is coming my way someday, but I’d like to put it off as long as possible.

Time to eat some dark green veggies or a piece of salmon.

If you’re still with me, sorry for wandering off topic, yet again.  Mental health should not be something to hide from others. Embrace your OCD or whatever.

That will help you conquer it and will help others get you and get where you’re coming from.

*Asperger’s Disorder was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994 as a separate disorder from autism.

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