I’ve been treated for major depression for 22 years.
I tell you all this because it’s time that those of us with psychiatric diagnoses cut the chains of stigma that keeps mental illness locked in a closet, relegated to whispers, viewed as a sign of weakness, poor parenting, indulgence. Just as it’s time to have an honest discussion about gun control in this country, it’s also time to have an honest discussion about our mental health system.
We still don’t know if Adam Lanza, who killed 26 women and children last week and then shot himself, had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. But I’m pretty sure there is a mental illness in there somewhere. I’m pretty sure his mother went through hell trying to find him treatment and help. And I’m pretty sure she was stymied at every turn.
I know this because I’m watching my friend go through the same thing with her 9-year-old son. Like the heartbreaking essay by Liza Long now circulating widely on Facebook, my friend has a son with serious mental health issues. One day he’s a lovely, smart, kind little boy. The next he’s completely out of control, a danger to himself and … Continue Reading