When I publicly (Face book...30 e-mails) announced my diagnosis of Borderline Personality disorder, combined with this blog, stigma's and just lack of information...I felt isolated and abandoned. I was faced with either complete silence or "you'll be fine, shake it off" mentalities. One feeds abandonment the other doesn't allow for healing by pressuring someone or assigning a time table. It invalidates how I feel.
As I have tweeted this blog, I have often included the sentence "We need to talk about this every day". I believe that 100%. It takes a mass shooting or some other great tragedy to bring attention to the problems with Mental Health treatment in this country. Specifically as it applies to depression and even more specifically as it applies to teenagers with depression. Some statistics place depression as high as 80% for the reason teens commit suicide. That is staggering.
Now, if any other illness had an 80% (co) mortality rate, it would be front page news everyday.
I must admit finding a solution is tough. I tend to have some real libertarian views on government involvement. As in stay out of our homes. Yet...as we look at these teen mass shootings, it begs the need for some solution. Let's look at Jaylen Frybrg. Back on August 20th he posted
Your gonna piss me off... And then some shits gonna go down and I don't think you'll like it.
Your not gonna like what happens next
Here is where the stigma and frankly ignorance of the masses begins to appear. I have heard numerous times comments such as "He was homecoming King, we didn't see the depression" or "He was laughing and joking at practice the day before"
And that all means.....????? That he wasn't depressed? That he wasn't hurting? Folks- Depression is NOT the flu. We don't "get over it" rather we have some days better than others. The very nature of depression is he could have been fine Thursday and a killer on Friday.
Depression is a very lonely disease.
There was also a young man who sensed something was wrong. Don't remember the name, but he had specifically reached out that day to see how Jaylen was doing. He wasn't completely satisfied with Jaylen's response but basically accepted it.
First- MAJOR kudo's to this young man who identified there may be something more going on. However, he wasn't trained to know what to do with those feelings, suspicions and with the stigma, lack of training, lawsuits, etc..., he really had no where to turn or go.
We are so afraid as a society to address anything that is behavioral from a mental health stand point. It's never a comfortable conversation, its highly stigmatized and that makes it hard to want to seek treatment. Even harder for people to want to intervene.
So....what do we do? Is the onus on the those that suffer to seek treatment? Does society continue to take a reactive approach? Do we learn how to meld Science (Psychiatrists) and therapy?
A blog or so ago I mentioned that there were several men in my life that profoundly impacted me. After that blog I wrote to many of them and some of the responses I got were really helpful. I'd like to share one in particular
No matter how bad things seem my friend know that you have been a success and that you have had a major impact in peoples lives and continue to do so every day. I may not have bee around lately but I know you! Your a fuckin super hero because you stand up for what is right and you face things for real and you love genuinely. People like us with dynamic lives that aren't sheep are bound to pain because of the nature of the universe. Your body is worn from resolving conflict. Wear your pain like a medal, its yours. Maybe when all is said and done all we got was this lousy t-shirt but its our lousy t-shirt and only those who suffered its price get to wear it. Stay strong brother
Maybe that's all we need. Just someone to show they care. Some affirmation, some commitment to helping those too afraid to get help to seek it out. Just an arm around our shoulders and someone to say "Hey brother I understand"