Let's face it - there are bigots of all kinds in the world. As you point
out, "mental" illness is often a physical deficiency that affects the
mechanisms of the brain.
My mother was "mentally" ill most of her life, and we suffered greatly for
it. Near her death (heart failure resulting from an allergic reaction to an
iodine compound given for a liver test) it was noted by me that she became
normal after a dialysis treatment, and gradually faded back to certifiable
after about 6 weeks.
The best guess at this late date is that she suffered from a dopamine
imbalance. Oh how I wish that she had some drugs available to help her (and
my father and four brothers) then.
I have run into allergy bigots (it's all in your head), addiction bigots
(you just have to gut it out), mental illness bigots (just grow up), etc.
Like Jim sort of suggests, take your pills and tell 'em it's insulin.
Jim Cobabe wrote:
> My regular diatribe on this question--
> Those of us who now need or have needed psychotrophic drugs for personal
> maintenance face serious enough challenges in life, without having to
> contend with unqualified people who presume to know all about our
> illnesses and afflictions. And sadly, there is no end to the stigma
> attached to any manifestation of mental illness. In spite of all the
> talk denying that such unfair discrimination exists, anyone who has been
> there has probably found himself more tightly restrained than by any
> strong guys in white coats, strait jackets, or padded rooms.
> When we need drugs to sustain our lives, a chemical that restores
> balance to the physical function of the brain is not different from the
> insulin that allows a diabetic to supplement the insufficient function
> of his pancreas. There are any number of additional parallels. Yet
> sufferers from mental illness are still a special class of people in our
> society, reserved for generally unwarranted special treatment, and
> generally unfavorable discrimination.
> Please never attempt to discourage anyone from taking the drugs that are
> in the current array of defenses against mental illness. Many of these
> drugs have unpleasant side effects that we would just as soon not have
> to deal with. Even more important, we inflict the shame of stigma upon
> our own selves, and taking medicine for such an illness seems like
> admitting to yourself that you're something less than an worthy person.
> Yet these drugs might well help some of us make something hopeful and
> worthwhile from a life that would otherwise languish and be wasted in
> If you need such drugs, don't let anyone discourage you from taking them
> as directed by your doctor. Always remember to take your pills on
> Remember too that we are not alone in bearing such burdens, and don't be
> discouraged by the idle talk of people that don't understand your
> problems. We do what we must to survive, and face another day. To
> endure to the end is our mission. Even if it takes a few pills to help
> us get by.
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