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Thread: Why so much stigma surrounding mental illness?

  1. #1

    Default Why so much stigma surrounding mental illness?

    I posted this on Facebook, and will also post it here. But here we can go more in-depth, as many times we seem to be one of many targeted groups.

    If a person is mentally ill, sometimes they are committed and sent somewhere where they are separated from the rest of society, and often locked up, sort of like animals.

    The worse the person's behaviour gets, the less human(ely) they get treated, sometimes being restrained to various degrees, and if bad enough they get restrained in a way that they cannot move at all.

    Then they may also be given "medicine", either orally or through a needle going up the ass. It is to "calm them down" but often they end up sleeping for several hours. In a way, the ways that these poor people get treated has vastly improved from what it was in the 1800s and earlier. But, much of it has in fact still not changed.

    Why can't society treat the mentally ill the same way the otherwise ill are treated - with tons of sympathy rather than ridicule? Folks can still be unnecessarily harsh, and this is the 21st century! Come on - where is the understanding? In the developed world at least, even the treatment of AIDS has been completely reformed, and it has only been identifiable for less than 50 years, yet mental illness has been around for hundreds of years. That makes no sense.

    And finally, there's us - the adult babies, the diaper lovers, the littles. We must keep our lives a secret from the majority of people we know, or else they may abandon us and/or start treating us as if we are mentally ill, as described above. But are we true lunatics? What really makes someone a lunatic anyway?

    What are your thoughts, guys?

  2. #2

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    We are not looney! I think we're lucky. As far as mental health.... I believe most family's have mental health issues and they go un diagnosed. So we don't take it as serious as we should, sad!

  3. #3

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    Here in CT we closed most all the loony bins and sent them home to their familys to live a normal life. Now we have to accept responsibility for Adam Lanza's actions.
    Yes that was a bit harsh, and intended as somewhat sarcastic but there is some truth there too. We need to be able and willing to offer help and or restraint if needed, to who need it if it is beyond their family's ability do so without being abusive.

  4. #4

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    I have a friend who is schizophrenic, and there have been times when she was kept in a padded room at a mental facility. It was done to protect her from herself. When her meds didn't work, she would get out of control, so something had to be done.

    In Virginia, there is an ongoing case involving a man who ran and lost for Governor and his son. His son was bi-polar and had a severe episode. The father, Cree Deeds, tried to get his son into a residential facility, but they told him they didn't have any beds. He returned home with his son, and hours later, the son attacked him with a knife, stabbing him several times. The son then ran up to his room, got a gun and committed suicide. As a result, the entire mental system in Virginia is being revisited by the Virginia legislature.

    When I was in college, just being gay could put one into a mental facility against their will. When my mom discovered my gay porn, along with my diapers, she sent me to a psychiatrist, also at a large, residential mental facility. I was an out patient, but I knew I was close to becoming a resident. That's how they treated us in 1970.

    There are times that people with mental illness need to be hospitalized, because they are either a danger to themselves, others, or both. Back in the 60's and 70's, homosexuals were considered a danger to others. We have come a long way, but like so many things, we have a way to go.

    If you have been in the "mental" system, I suppose you are stigmatized. Though it's a small percentage, some people who are emotionally ill, are by their symptoms, dangerous to others. It is then that society has to step in.

  5. #5

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    I'd say it largely stems from the fear of being different, or the fear of those who are different than yourself.

    Either way, things are being done about it. There's some companies jumping on the bandwagon of mental health (Ironically, Bell, the company who owned and operated the Globe and Mail when they fired journalist Jan Wong after she claims to have been in a bout of depression).

    Most of the experts I've heard speak or have spoken to (Two of which are/were chairs of the Mental Health Commission of Canada), stress that addressing mental health problems at an earlier stage is better, going with the tactic that eliminating a problem before it becomes more complex is the right way to handle it. I'd agree, at least for some cases. A lot of stuff goes on with kids, and sometimes it's something as simple as talking to someone about your thoughts that can keep you sane.

    For someone who is looking to do more to help reduce stigma, it's easy: Don't judge people as being any different just because they need some help from time to time. Heck, talk to them if they're open to it.

  6. #6

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    In a medical respect. Mental illness has improved several time over from the old day of "the laughing academy". (Literally the term "Laughing Academy" came form the public was encourage to go through the hospital and Laugh at the patience because they were being "silly") The improvements have been such that now Autism is a mainstream complication that is dealt with in an out patient bases.

    However, Society has not changed. To most people "Denial" is a river in Egypt, and self medication through alcohol and or recreational drugs is more appropriate then admitting to the problem and obtaining help through therapy.

    So it is a catch 22. There is the group that get help and function in a "normal" fashion. While others are "judging" those who are getting help as "weak and Not Normal" with less then social activities that are "normal" i.e. "rednecks" that beat the crap out of somebody because they are (enter what ever stereotype here).

  7. #7

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    Part of the problem is because modern services for mental illness is in fact not very good or effective necessarily because because there's so much that we simply do not know. Most of psychology is in fact theory. The next best alternative is to lock someone up against their will before they become a threat to themselves and/or to others. What most people forget when they ridicule the mentally ill is that words hold power and that whole "sticks and stones may break my bones....." crap is actually wishful thinking at it's worst. With my words here I could theoretically either motivate someone to literally try to stalk and kill me or theoretically I could save them from suicide possibly and inspire them to become something so much better. I think we should have a special article that simply teaches everyone to learn how to respect each other when we hate each other's guts theoretically. Yes I know there's already one I just think we should try to make an even better one actually.

    People are afraid of those like Adam Lanza. That fear does in fact lead to bigotry that is mishandled by society and because of this the mentally ill can get worse depending on circumstances. At this point I am not talking about what is fair I am talking about justice and some of those who are mentally ill will never see even that. If someone is going to say something about this post by all means please do so but can I respectively request permission that we all bring up correlative data from any credible source to back up what is being said regardless of any stance you may or may not take up to this post please?

  8. #8

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    Mental illness stretches the bounds of society. Those that cannot live within the hard limits of society must live outside society for the protection of society. On a more personal level, we naturally befriend those who enrich our own lives and reject those giving us problems.



    Quote Originally Posted by memorychick View Post
    Why can't society treat the mentally ill the same way the otherwise ill are treated - with tons of sympathy rather than ridicule? Folks can still be unnecessarily harsh, and this is the 21st century! Come on - where is the understanding?
    When was the last time you received true care for your health? In clinical settings, everything is regulated, regimented, and documented to the point that many focus on the task required that they forget to care for the person they are treating. Rules rule instead of considering what is best for the patient?



    Quote Originally Posted by memorychick View Post
    If a person is mentally ill, sometimes they are committed and sent somewhere where they are separated from the rest of society, and often locked up, sort of like animals.
    For this to occur, either the safety of the patient or others must be a concern before one may be committed. For the benefit of the individual and society, we have rules to provide a clinically safe environment for those needing assistance living in society. Again, it is hard to keep caring for them when they are causing problems.



    Quote Originally Posted by memorychick View Post
    The worse the person's behaviour gets, the less human(ely) they get treated, sometimes being restrained to various degrees, and if bad enough they get restrained in a way that they cannot move at all.

    Then they may also be given "medicine", either orally or through a needle going up the ass. It is to "calm them down" but often they end up sleeping for several hours. In a way, the ways that these poor people get treated has vastly improved from what it was in the 1800s and earlier. But, much of it has in fact still not changed.
    Modern techniques focus on verbal communication and medication to prevent the use of physical restraints; however, the medication is often seen as chemical restraints. Trust me; I have first hand experience with "take this, it will make you feel better." Shortly after, I was sleeping at the nurses station on a patient desk. Physical restraints are the last option to protect the individual and the staff. I own a nice set of medical restraints which help me to calm myself; no medical professional granted my requests to be restrained. Rules and laws are in place to protect the patients from undue restraints, but patients dictate by their actions how humane they may be treated.



    Quote Originally Posted by memorychick View Post
    And finally, there's us - the adult babies, the diaper lovers, the littles. We must keep our lives a secret from the majority of people we know, or else they may abandon us and/or start treating us as if we are mentally ill, as described above. But are we true lunatics? What really makes someone a lunatic anyway?
    Publicly sharing information which should be private demonstrates an atypical thought process. Lunatic is the old term for mentally ill. Other synonyms include deranged, dangerous, foolish, or unpredictable. When someone starts stepping out of normal bounds of society, people naturally get concerned how far they may go. Add in diapers and pacifiers, serious flags are raised. Improperly sharing with others disrespects them and gives evidence of foolish decisions: the definition of lunatic. We should keep our private matters private. The difference between secret and private is who wants the information. The general public does not want to know your private life.

    I agree that we need to be more understanding and caring for those with mental illness. However, this has proven difficult as we get more focused on ourselves and our own life. The first psychiatrist who treated me had difficulty understanding me because I was outside of her area of expertise. Until she understood, her ability to provide care suffered. She cared for me as a person and put forth the effort required to understand. We would all do well to care more about others and seek understanding before making poor choices on our involvement in the lives of others. May we be kind and gentle to as many as possible.

  9. #9

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    I have had more experience with persons struggling with mental illnes than logical stats or numerical probabilities should allow. I, since an early age, have sought company with those who are struggling with mental illness. I was entirely unaware of it until my early twenties when I began to question those that I was attracted to or attracted. I have dated those struggling with schizophrenia, manic-deppresion, compulsive lying, severe alcoholism, acute depression and multiple personality disorder. I am not trying to throw shame: these traits were what attracted me to them even perhaps without my knowing. I am subconciously attuned to these characteristics even without any social or behavioral ques.

    The reason for my response is that this subject is very near-and-dear to my heart. I have witnessed these struggles in great detail. More than I can illustrate here. My heart goes out to all who have been given this plight of mental illness and being institutionalized because of it. Yes, it is unfair and they deserve the best treatment.

    My first GF out of high school had a brother that was admitted 'for life'. He had unpredictable bursts of rage since being a child. He was finally admitted as a young teen. He rarely had visits from family and was considered an outcast. I was fortunate enough to meet him one day when he was allowed to visit his mother for half and afternoon. This encounter haunts me to this day. In the living room I got to talk with him for a bit. I saw the confused look in his eyes even through the medication. I felt utterly sorry for him and helpless that I couldn't prevent him from going back to the ward. I still think about him to this day often. His name is Frank.

    Before I met Frank I was fortunate enough to get to tour a mental facility (a large one in Phoenix) for a sociology class that I took in summer school. This was the very facility that Frank was housed in.

    I then met and dated a charming and fetching woman a few years later. She was confusing to me at times when she seemed erratic and soulfull and other times very serious and dark. We were able to spend a few good dates being young adults and being carefree until she began to degrade into serious bouts of bi-polar disorder and without the proper meds for managing it, she eventually ended up on mental tranguilizers. The last time I saw her she was almost zombie-like. It crushed me.

    Since then I have been aquainted with a few others battling social destructive behavior or frequent loss of defined reality. (not the sublte type)

    Some movies that depict this struggle and would be a fair look into the world of mental illness include:
    Mr. Jones (Richard Gere)
    Girl Interrupted (Angelina Jolie)
    Prozac Nation (Christina Ricci)
    Jacob's Ladder (Tim Robbins)

    Some movies that depict the internal struggle with addiction: (not entirely on-subject but deal with those who quickly fall through the cracks of society to destruction)
    Leaving Las Vegas (Nicholas Cage)
    Gia (Angelina Jolie)

    Movies that depict loss of reality, disasociation or multiple personalities;
    Shutter Island (Leonardo Dicaprio)

    There are many others but these come to mind.

    The topic in this thread deals with how should we treat those who are inflicted with disorders. The realities of it are unfathomable to each of us who have witnessed it. The question lies in how can we prevent throwing a human life to an invalid system only designed to treat them with indignity and callousness; a way of not having to deal with the realities of those less-fortunate and who are still today looked upon as being incurable. This when there is always an option better than being stuffed away like a piece of garbage.

    Of course our medical knowledge and field has improved giving many a chance to over-come personal mental issues and struggles. This is not to say that it cannot be much improved.

    There are a vast many stories out there regarding personal battles involving this topic. I find it scary that we as a human race regard anything as normal. There is no such thing.

    Perhaps the one thing I've learned so far is that once we lose the ability to self-assess our cognition is when we may need help. Cognition is the basis of reasoning. Without it we lose a basic grasp on our lives. Perhaps most struggling can be given, taught, or reminded of that tool: Cognition. Perhaps it can be substituted in lieu of medication or institutionalization.

    We owe ourselves' more than simple answers to difficult questions.

  10. #10

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    I believe there needs to be a distinction made about the type of mental illness and how it affects the person and the poeple around that person.

    Firstly: For a fetish of any kind, most people will NOT define anyone as a "Lunatic" or try to get someone comitted to a mental health facility. (maybe there's the rare individual case - but certainly not on the big scale, not anymore).
    So people might look at you and say you're weird or perverted or whatever - you might endure some social stigma - but that is with all things that deviate from the "norm".
    For example for the average male to admit liking anal stimulation - despite NOT BEING gay (it has nothing to do with being gay in the first place I guess) - is something that most men will never admit to because they would be labeled as "gay" (I don't mind gay people and I certainly don't label anyone anything for whatever sexual preferences) - just putting it in a large social context.


    Now to true mental disorders:
    IF its something "harmless" I certainly agree that it should be looked at and treated with the greatest sympathy / respect etc. else, just as with any other form of illness that can or can not be cured.
    None the less I'd say if it is something that makes living wihtin society complicated there can be an need to treat it differently in terms of what you do and what not.

    BUT if the mental illness includes seriously agressive behaviour, violence, etc... then, well illness or not that individual is a serious threat to society to other human beings.
    And in that case I say that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one...

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