The Internet both helped and hurt my mental health. I truly believe the internet has done wonderful things for those with mental illness in our day and age. Before the internet, if you had a relatively rare mental illness, you might have felt completely alone or at fault for your situation. Those feelings persist today, but I think the internet has played a huge role in decreasing those feelings.
Politics of Mental Illness
Is it possible to be grateful for mental illness? Some days, I hate having mental health issues and would do almost anything to make them go away forever. But other days, on my better recovery days, I'm almost grateful for my mental illness. It feels weird to be grateful for something that makes me so miserable so often, but at the same time, I think it's the natural result of living with a chronic condition. After all, the reality is that I can't make my mental illness go away, so I might as well find some silver linings.
Halloween mental health stigma can be especially harmful and offensive. For some reason, many people still believe "asylum" themes are appropriate for their haunted houses and costumes like "escaped mental patient" are fun because they get to wear a straightjacket. I believe stigmatizing mental illness in your Halloween celebration only serves to ostracize and insult an already vulnerable group of people, and it is time for it to end.
Have you considered using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help your mental health recovery? Many people with mental illnesses are employed, but working with a mental illness can be challenging. Stress can cause symptoms to break through, and there may be times when you need time off. Would your supervisor be supportive? Could you apply for benefits under the FMLA to help your mental illness recovery?
Working while on disability should not be penalized. I used to work in a restaurant for $8.25 an hour for 20 hours a week. I reported this income to Social Security, and my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were terminated. Not only that, but the government told me they overpaid me and I had to pay the money back--all at once. This is not right. Working while on disability should not be penalized.
There are three myths about hospitalization that keep people from seeking mental illness treatment when they need it most (Facts About Psychiatric Hospitalization). When I first started having symptoms, I believed all three myths. They kept me from seeking psychiatric treatment for about two years. Ironically, if I'd sought treatment when I first started having symptoms, I might have avoided the first hospitalization. Here are the three myths about hospitalization that keep people from seeking mental illness treatment.
It's clear we need a sensible drug policy in the United States. My generation grew up with a government policy of 100 percent abstinence from illegal substances. We became the most drug-addicted generation in history. When you explore the racist history behind our current drug policy and read what the science really says about illegal drugs, it can easily lead to one conclusion: We need a sensible drug policy in the United States.
There are many myths about involuntary treatment for mental illness (The Realities of Involuntary Treatment). Involuntary treatment is extremely controversial, and that's an understatement along the lines of saying, "The Arctic is kind of chilly." Part of the reason it's so controversial is because we rarely do it for other illnesses. We prefer to let people "die with their rights." While I'm hesitant to recommend involuntary treatment become standard operating procedure, I can discuss three myths about involuntary treatment.
It's time to reform the mental healthcare system. It's been time for years. While the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations made great strides, all that progress could be lost under the new administration (Mental Health Care [In A Perfect World]). Already, Congress voted to reinstate pre-existing conditions (which prior to the Affordable Care Act many insurance agencies used to refuse to cover an individual with mental illness or refuse to cover mental healthcare). Congress also voted to prevent Medicare from negotiating with drug companies to lower prices. And legislation that would have lowered drug prices was shot down--you may have seen the meme naming which politician voted against it and how much money they've received from pharmaceutical companies. President-elect Donald Trump needs to take action and reform the mental healthcare system.
Because of my youth, I wonder whether mental health screenings should be done in schools. Much of my childhood was spent being shuttled from doctor to doctor in an effort to figure out what was wrong with me (Why Can Mental Illness Be So Hard to Diagnose?). Everyone agreed there was some kind of mental health condition, but no one could decide on a treatment. So most of my childhood was spent depressed with occasional bouts of psychosis. This led me to ask, "Should mental health screenings be done in schools, just as vision and scoliosis screenings are?"