14 December 2007

That original moment of Ohhh three years ago

Two quotes I encountered yesterday in a long comment thread about treatment for mental illness:
    127. Once I got help it was like putting on glasses for the first time and realising that I wasn't seeing anything the right way.

    72. I understand the hesitation in talking to friends. When I first went on medication for chronic depression and anxiety, I was astounded at the change and told everyone I knew. It was a miracle cure for me. It was interesting to see the varying reactions amongst my friends. That was an eye opener.

    I'm still open about taking medication and seeking help when needed and I encourage others to do so. But I am sometimes less ready to blurt it out to just anyone. That's a shame.

There's a special kind of sadness that happens when one has an epiphany and suddenly the whole world makes sense - but the rest of the world has the opposite reaction. And one realizes that the joy cannot be shared with one's closest friends and family without losing them.

It happened that way for me too, when I first discovered that I'm not an ugly duckling among ducks and geese at all, but really a swan.


Janiece said...

You're still my knight, MWT.

I think mental illness is like any kind of medical condition. I wouldn't think twice about someone getting treatment for a microbe-based illness, and I feel the same way about mental illness. I just think treating mental illness is harder than microbe-based illnesses, because there's so much we don't know.

MWT said...

Heheh. I'm beginning to feel like the lumberjack, wondering at what part of the song does "and I'm okay" stop applying. ;)

To clarify though, my particular epiphany wasn't about mental illness. It was more that I understood the sentiment when I read the comments.

Anonymous said...

Huh, that's an interesting perspective. I loved Dooce's article and took it at face value.

The additional insight you found is interesting - sometimes you just can't explain your worldview...

And you are ok. ;)

Janiece said...

MWT, finding value in yourself (and maintaining it) is an aspect of mental health, at least in my opinion.

MWT said...

Oh, I think I'm awesome. :) It would just be more fun to explain why that is if people wouldn't immediately think I'd lost my marbles if I ever did (in a non-highly-metaphoric way). But the world is slowly getting better at it, one category of strangeness at a time. Back in the 50s, physical deformities were viewed with great shame and something to hide away, and now those are okay while mental illnesses are in the same place that physical deformities used to be. Back then it was black people fighting for rights, now it's gay people. Etc. Things acceptable in Europe today will eventually become acceptable in the U.S. tomorrow. The wheels are still slowly turning. ;)

Glad to hear I'm still in the "and I'm okay" category so far. ;)

Jim Wright said...

Well, I find you a damned interesting fellow, MWT :)
I think it's part of growing up, finding confidence in yourself and reaching a point where you're happy with who you are - of course, some people never reach that point and they spend their whole lives working to be something that they think others want them to be. I think true happiness (and mental stability) comes from being happy with yourself, the way that you are. And I think that until you reach that point - it is unlikely that you'll accept others for who they are.

Though I have no hard data, and can't point to any supporting scientific studies, I often suspect that many of the folks who profess hatred for X (pick your poison: gays, women, jews, minorities, etc) come from a deep seated hatred of themselves. Most fundamentally religious people that I know, for example, seem to base their entire world view on the fact that they are fundamentally flawed, sinful creatures - and you must be too. Bah, I can't buy into any 'faith' with that as it's first tenet. I like who I am and I accept my flaws, hell, sometimes I revel in my flaws.

Jim Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Wright said...

Back in the 50s, physical deformities were viewed with great shame and something to hide away

Heh - that's one of the reasons I love Stephen Hawking. He's out there every day. Hell, he took a ride on NASA's Vomit Comet last year! I defy anybody to say that he should be ashamed of his illness - the man has done more with what life handed him than most people who think of themselves as 'normal.'

The best way to stick it to the small and close minded? Live your life, have fun, be you to the fullest. Nothing pisses those people off more. Bahwahahahaha!

(reposted because I think much faster than I can type - I'm so ashamed.)

MWT said...

I think true happiness (and mental stability) comes from being happy with yourself, the way that you are. And I think that until you reach that point - it is unlikely that you'll accept others for who they are.

Hmmm. I've known unhappy people who are perfectly fine at accepting others as they are. In fact, some of them reach out to find out as much as possible about others as they can, as a form of escapism from themselves. And then there are others who are unhappy but don't hate people, but will sometimes try to rationalize that others hate them. It probably depends on what they're unhappy about, and also whether they're in denial, whether they have trouble accepting others as they are.

Jim Wright said...

MWT, I hadn't thought about it that way - as usual you've given me something new to think about. Thanks. See, that's why I find you interesting :)

Janiece said...

*Beams with pride*

See? Both my Shippie and my Knight are interesting fellows.

Jim Wright said...

MWT pinged me asking for a little clarity on the statement I made above: Rereading it I can see that it could be interpreted as "I think unhappy people hate everybody"

Not what I meant at all. I have a habit of typing fast and assuming that everybody will fill in the blanks in my thought process - yep, I'm a bonehead sometimes.

Here's what I actually meant: it is my experience that those who seem to express hatred and vitriol toward certain groups (gays, races, sexes, people in general, etc) seem to be themselves an unhappy lot - and especially unhappy with themselves. Larry Craig comes to mind. I've known a number of folks who seem to hate everybody - and are never happy, most especially with themselves.

HOWEVER, I don't think the converse is necessarily true, i.e. unhappy people as a rule hate others. I've known many folks that are unhappy with themselves, who they are, how they look, etc - and yet they are good people to know, kind, interesting, thoughtful.

What I meant to say was that I think it's easier to accept others as they are - if you accept yourself as you are. I'm not saying it's necessary, just easier. I also think that sometimes liking yourself, for yourself, is the most difficult thing of all. At least for me. Time was I didn't like myself all that much, or anybody else either. I like myself just fine these days, and I mostly like everybody else, though I'm a judgmental jerk sometimes. I'm working on it - my wife is making me :)

Hope that clears it up.

MWT said...

Thanks very much for the clarification. Everything is all better now. :)