The New York Times recently published an article, Caring for a Mind in Crisis that left me with so many emotions. As you may recall, I recently published a post about how society is maturing in a sense that it is beginning to move from tolerance to acceptance for persons who have behavioral disorders. Once upon a time, I worked for a company that did public relations and advertising for various organizations around Utah and some globally. One of their clients used to have a haunted house that was one of the most popularly attended events called the Rocky Point Haunted House. The advertising campaign that my company put together was thrilling and amazing (just see the website)! I personally found the graphics associated with an asylum to hit my ‘scare button’ to the core. On another note, The Utah State Mental Hospital opens its doors every year to thrill seekers as it transforms its patients and rooms into a haunted house. For some reason, this appeal seems WAY too scary for me. GENIUS PR, or was it exploitation? Regardless, I started wondering why my reaction to the mentally ill made me so fearful. Isn’t there a quote or thought that says something along the lines of “we fear what we don’t understand”?
I realized that I really don’t understand minds in crisis. The article says: “Of all the afflictions that fall upon us, few remain as misunderstood and stigmatized as those that affect the mind. Despite efforts from advocacy groups and individual patients to increase awareness — as well as empirical evidence linking psychiatric disorders and treatments to biologic changes in the brain — there’s the nagging sense that many psychiatric diagnoses may be arbitrary and subject to social conventions, or that many affected patients could, with a little willpower and hard work, get better. As a result, patients suffering from illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia must tackle not only their diseases but also the discrimination that often prevents them from getting the care they so desperately need.”
I had a friend who jokingly said that it was about time she “embraced her crazy.” At the time, it was funny…and it still is a little if I am not trying to be PC. After reading this article, I realized how much I need to embrace how fragile the mind really is. And by educating myself on mental disorders and issues, I will come to understand mental illness and get over the stigmas associated with my fears.