Mental Illness Lack Of Awareness Week

18 10 2010

Mental Illness Stigma, Mental Health Awareness WeekThe first full week in October every year is Mental Health Awareness Week.  Congress declared it in 1990.  I’ve been around for a while and I wasn’t aware of that.

Last week I was reading a popular liberal blog (not saying which one because I really don’t want them to profit from such blatant ignorance).  This blogger was promoting himself as an advocate of the mentally ill.  I read:

“…In celebration [of Mental Health Awareness Week], well meaning mental health advocacy organizations are busy hosting events to reduce the “stigma” of mental illness.  But I don’t believe there is ‘stigma’ to having a mental illness.”

HUH?  I said to myself, “Am I going crazy or did I just read that this prominent guy thinks there is no stigma to having a mental illness?”  I had to re-read it a few times to make sure I didn’t have a few billion neurons misfiring or be suffering from a hallucination.

Let me state for the record, and you can quote me on this, “There most certainly is stigma to mental illness.”

Those who are blessed with mental illness must deal with internal  and external stigma.

The internal stigma begins when the person realizes that ‘normal’ is no longer what they are.  I’m sure it’s no joy reading a chapter on abnormal psychology in a psychology textbook and realize the author is writing about you.  It’s not an external brand or tattoo, nor do you have to wear a ‘Scarlet Letter,’ a yellow star on your clothing or endure an external wound, scab or scar, but the stigma is real and internally poignant and tangible.

The external stigma is evident on many interpersonal as well as societal levels.  Imagine when a mentally ill person tries to apply for a job in the military, FBI, CIA or any law enforcement agency and has to fill out the questionnaire section on mental health and being refused employment.  How about running for a political office, or participating in the National Rifle Association (can’t buy a gun legally).  How about speaking freely to anyone about why you missed work or where you were during summer break from school.  Is that person comfortable revealing or trying to explain the intangible central nervous system wound?  What if you simply want to have a moment of full disclosure with someone that is starting to fall in love with you?

Some of the serious illnesses include but are not limited to Major Depression, Manic Depression or Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Borderline Personality Disorder.  What would be your favorite?  The first date with my wife was to see, “As Good As It Gets” with Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinear and Cuba Gooding Jr.  It was a fantastically well done movie that highlights OCD in a realistic and sensitive way.  I recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

I figured that I could help enlighten the blogger gent a bit so I replied to his post and innocently waited for my reply to be reviewed by the rest of the reading public.  Part of it was:

When I read your statement, “But I don’t believe there is ‘stigma’ to having a mental illness,” I said to myself, “Is this guy nuts?!!” … Perhaps it’s just a little semantic quibble about what STIGMA means.

The general definition is: a mark of disgrace or infamy or a stain as on one’s reputation. In the health arena it is defined as: a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease.

If you have your own definition of what stigma means, please share it … but if you’re having a crisis of definition, please use some sort of dictionary before wantonly tossing out your nouns.”

Was I to harsh?  Is that the reason he didn’t allow my reply to see the light of day?

My dear departed grandpa was a guinea pig for electro-shock therapy and only the Lord knows what other shot in the dark methods.  I’m just grateful he didn’t lose his mind in the days that frontal lobotomies were the favored experiment.

That reminds me of a joke I made up.  Old Prospectors Never Die, They Just Lose Their Minds. Rimshot.

No Stigma, huh?  I suppose the blogger would feel a bit differently if he were able to feel it, but for now his attitude is:

“Stigma, we don’t got no stinking stigma!”


Let The Whining Begin

12 10 2010

In the immortal words of Steve Martin ….Excuuuuuse Meee!

In the face of record national debt and deficit, the Obama Administration is doing a little something to stem the tide of red ink (barely a scratch but something is better than nothing). Social Security recipients will go through a second straight year without an increase in monthly benefits.

In an AP article, Paul McNeil a 69 year old retired state worker from Warwick, R.I. said, “I think it’s disgusting … They’ve got this idea that they’ve got to save money and basically they want to take it out of the people that will give them the least resistance.”

Puhh-leeeze! The senior crowd has been one of the loudest, obstinate and demanding voting blocks in the U.S. Whatever Grandma and Grandpa and AARP want, they fight hard for and in many cases they get what they want.

Does the existence of Medicare Prescription Drug Program ring a bell. How about Medicare itself. The list is long of abuses and freebies demanded by those who drive around in RV’s with a bumper sticker, “We’re Spending Our Kids Inheritance!” Ever see those bumper stickers?



We've Already Spent Our Children's Inheritance

The Bumper Sticker of AARP


Now, Don’t Get Me Wrong.  There are those lovable seniors who are also reasonable.  In the same article there were some honest and non greedy comments:

“I’m kind of glad in a way,” Stella Wehrly, an 86-year-old retired secretary, said of the freeze. “One thing depends on the other and when people aren’t working there’s not enough people feeding into the Social Security system.”  We have a generation now that we’re not going to leave a very good legacy for,” she said.

My beloved grandmothers are gone but I’d like to adopt her as my new favorite.

Cap and Lower the Federal Debt National Debt

3 10 2010

It’s obvious that there are massive disagreements between most people of how to reign in spending and be fiscally responsible as a nation so…

The ONLY solution is to put a cap or ceiling on the National Debt, the National Debt Ceiling or the Federal credit card.

My proposal:

  1. Congress, or if they won’t do it, the people, must pass a law to put a lid on raising the debt ceiling. This law must have strong measures that the ceiling can only be raised for one purpose, national defense and a vote of 85% of the Congress is required for the raising of the ceiling.
  2. At the same time, institute debt elimination of the National Debt by 3% per year. Of course that would eliminate the current budget deficit and force Congress and the Executive branch to hammer out the details.  Instead of over a Trillion deficit per year the debt reduction of 3% mandate would be around $400 Billion per year.  The battles of how the reductions would be made would not have to be worked out before the fact.

All rational and thinking individuals who have any responsible financial bones in their bodies know that there is a gigantic gaping hole in the hole of the ‘USS’ Constitution.  We all agree that bankrupting the country and national debt is a bad idea (Except Pete Stark, of course.  See the 2nd video on this post).

Of course, the Obama and Bush Administrations have not been fiscally responsible at all.  Bush’s legacy on fiscal responsibility receives a failing grade.  Obama accelerates the drunken sailor binge.

I don’t want to speak ill of drunken sailors because my father was in the Navy.  One day he was in a bar drinking with some friends.  For some reason he looked at his buddies getting sloshed and thought that he was wasting his time and didn’t want to turn out to be an alcoholic.  He said goodbye to his buddies and never took another drink.

That is what we as a country must do.  We must push away from the binge of destructive spending and get under control and never drink from the cup again.

ZERO DEBT NATION is the goal!

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