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Month: July 2016

I Believe Mental Illness Remains Misunderstood

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Alongside animal rights, another thing that I believe in is proper mental health care. I remain stunned that in the 21st century, there is still so much stigma attached to mental illness: it’s “all in your head,” suicide is “selfish,” depressed people should just “snap out of it.”

If only it were that easy.

I suffer from mental illness—a few, actually. It’s not always fun being me. I shut down from depression, cut people out of my life, sabotage myself in ways few would understand, and listen to my brain repeat itself . . . and then deal with the resulting behaviors from that repetition.

I have hurt many because of my actions, and you know what the problem is aside from the actual hurt? I can’t tell them why. Nope. I can’t. Not even after nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, countless prescriptions, and therapy. Why did I behave that way? I can’t tell you, because I don’t know.

The good news is that I have made many breakthroughs, and I have come a long, long, long way. Through intensive and painful therapy and a ton of self-healing and reflection, I understand better from where my mental illness and behaviors originate.

I am healing from and am successfully combating the crap I have been through and the crap I have going against me. I still can’t explain to you why I feel the way I do or behave the way I behave sometimes, but I’m working on it.

I don’t bring this up for sympathy, or even empathy. I don’t want it. I have fought to get better because that’s what I have chosen to do. It’s my battle. I bring it up because I see so many others struggling, including people I love and have loved, and few receive the care or understanding that they need.

I live in a country that has advanced medical technology that is respected worldwide. I live in a country that is built upon a constitution that affords freedoms many others do not enjoy . . . yet I live in a country that is inept, painfully, at treating people with mental illness.

I honestly don’t understand it.

Mental illness is a genuine, physical illness, and mental health care is a genuine need. Those suffering really can’t “snap out of it,” and they do stupid things to sabotage themselves and their lives for no apparent reason. They aren’t just dinking around—they can’t help it.

I had a psychologist who said it best when I held on to the stigma of mental illness myself. I refused to take my anti-depressants, and he said to me in frustration, “Why do you think this is any different than a diabetic needing insulin?” I nearly fell out of my chair. He was right. I was ill. It’s not different.

This misunderstanding, this inability to recognize and treat mental illness as a genuine, life-threatening condition is a huge injustice in my humble opinion. There are people out there who are as helpless as those battling terminal illness and yet others don’t seem to care as much.

Maybe it isn’t as glamourous to support those who feel that taking their own life is their only option, and before you see red, I’m not discounting those who fight terminal illness. Someone I love very much is in a fight right now, and I will do whatever it takes to support and help her.

What I’m saying is please understand that others don’t commit suicide because they’re being selfish. People commit suicide because in their mind, where the brain chemistry misfires, they believe it is their only option. She or he is disabled to do otherwise, much less even get out of bed at times.

We live in the beginning of the 21st century. Are we going to go back to the beginning of the 20th century and ostracize those with mental health issues, or are we going to finally reject the stigma and support proper help and care for those who suffer from the mental illness’ debilitating conditions.

I, for one, know how awful it can be, so I choose to help.

 

Please note: This blog post is written from my personal experience and expresses my opinions only. I am not a medical professional, nor am I qualified to dispense medical advice. If you believe you are suffering from depression, please contact your health care professional or the emergency mental health care hotline in your area immediately.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Platz All Rights Reserved

Another Sneak Peek . . .

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In August of last year, I published the first sneak peek of my novel, which I’m currently shopping to literary agents. You can check out that blurb by scrolling down. Here’s another excerpt from my “baby.” I hope you enjoy it . . .

Casey and Shaelyn seated themselves next to each other on a table across from the case board and swung their feet like kids. Rachel brought them coffee. Casey stared at Shaelyn while she studied the board. She felt his gaze and asked, exasperated, “What?”

He smiled. “I just can’t believe it’s you . . . and look at you. You grew up to be the most beautiful girl in the world.”

Shaelyn leaned over and bumped him. “I’m not falling for your ‘sweet talk’ buddy. Your reputation precedes you.” They laughed. Casey’s partner stood against the wall beside the whiteboard and observed them.

She motioned to the board. “So, give me some facts.”

“Fifteen dead so far and this guy works fast; kills every four or five days. He doesn’t leave anything traceable behind—nothing. The bodies are cleaned post-mortem, and there aren’t any organs. We’ve contacted our peeps on the black market but nothing’s turning up—”

“Nothing will,” Shaelyn said. “He’s eating them.”

There was a pregnant pause. “He’s hunting,” Casey concluded from Shaelyn’s lead. “He’s hunting his prey, killing it, properly cleaning it, and then consuming it.”

Very good, detective.” She bumped him a second time.

“Wait. Are you serious?” Casey’s partner said. “He’s eating people? This is way out of our league.”

Casey shot the young man a dry glare. “Yes, well, this would be why she is here.” He motioned to Shaelyn. “She’s the expert on this kind of shit, and no, Kennedy, this is not out of our league. These are homicides,” Casey waved at the case board, “and we are homicide detectives.” He waved between the two of them. . . .

 

Copyright © 2013 by Sharon Platz All Rights Reserved

Missed Memo: Only Other People’s Values Count

Black Boxing Gloves / Photo by: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina
Black Boxing Gloves / Photo by: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina

I got into my first (and hopefully last) Facebook fight over the weekend. I have a policy of never engaging in Facebook fights, and those who are my Facebook friends know that I rarely discuss politics, religion, or my personal beliefs on the platform, with the exception of the occasional uplifting quotation or petition that I hope others will sign.

One of the reasons why I keep this low profile and bore my friends with perpetual cat pictures and coffee references is because I don’t share many of my friends’ political and religious beliefs, yet I understand that they have a right to their beliefs, so I agree to disagree in my head and move on. Other people don’t show this same courtesy . . . hence, my Facebook fight.

I don’t want to draw attention to it, but a person belittled those of us who expressed continued sorrow on the year anniversary of a tragic circumstance and not only devalued the subject of our sorrow, but also told us to “get over it.” When I called this person out for the unnecessary comment, it was reiterated that we should get over it and worry about what this person felt important instead.

Hmm . . . okay . . . Let me make sure that I have this straight: I don’t have the right to express sorrow over something that I value because you don’t value it. Instead, I should get over my values and only support what you value. I see. Okay, got it, and I apologize. Apparently, I missed the memo issued that lists what I am allowed and not allowed to believe in personally.

Now, why am I bringing this up if I don’t want to draw attention to it? Because it helped me realize something that I would like to share in the hopes that it will not offend but make others think. In my humble option, this attitude is part of the reason why everything is upside down right now, and headed in the wrong direction fast.

In my second-to-last comment to this person, I agreed that are “greater problems” in this world, and that one of those problems is people who think their ideals are the only ones that count and feel it appropriate to belittle others for their ideals simply because they don’t agree with them. What makes one person’s values more important than another person’s values?

The other problem with this entire situation is that somebody chose to insult people who wanted simply to express their sorrow on the one-year anniversary of a tragic occurrence that was close to their heart. What gives anyone the right to insult people over this? It is no person’s place to tell others over who or what they should feel sorrow, much less how long they are allowed to express that sadness.

Why is everything upside down? I believe this attitude is part of the reason. Everyone, please get over your own agendas. If you don’t agree with something, that’s fine, disagree, even open up a healthy debate, but please don’t feel as if you have the right to insult others over their values, and by all means, don’t push your unrelated values on those people to defend that action.

On a separate note, I’d like to thank this person for the Facebook boxing match. It taught me something important about myself, as well, and that is that I must continue to work hard to respect the beliefs of others, even if I don’t agree with them, even if I feel that they cause more harm than good. Who am I to tell somebody else what she or he should value? Who am I to judge?

 

Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Platz All Rights Reserved