Friday, May 4, 2012


So thinking on compassion all last night, I just had more questions than anything. How can I expect myself or others to be compassionate about something we all most obviously do not fully understand?

Talking to my husband, who is not a "talker", I had to ask...."What do you think of me having a mental illness?"  His response, "I don't really think of you as having a mental illness."  Hum...But I go to a psychiatrist and I have taken meds for the past, uh, 20 odd years....But he doesn't see me as having a mental illness?  He doesn't see my panic attacks as a mental illness, my obsessive thinking that plagues my every move, my blatant social anxiety, not liking to have friends, not liking to put myself out there,'s just me??  He sees it as me just being me? How can this be.  Maybe I need to look up the official definition of mental illness, something I honestly have never done in all the time I have suffered... wonder I have never looked it up...there are a million different definitions!  Here is one from the
Mental illness, n : Any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, mental disorder

Or another from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

Psychological? Biochemical? Genetic? Infection or head trauma?  Good Lord, there's a run of the gambit.  Yes, I knew it could be psychological, yes, I knew it could be Biochemical, and even genetic....but infection or head trauma?  Wouldn't that be a sucky way to get "blessed" with such a condition!  I think I fall into the Biochemical, genetic category.  Not that anyone else in my families history ever went to a doctor for a psych problem before me. But we are talking about a medical field who some might say is still in it's infancy.

My dad always called any therapist or psychologist a "Shrink."  No way he was going to go let someone pick his brain! But yet he has suffered obvious self esteem issues and been (in my opinion) a "self medicating" person.  My mom might have been considered OCD by some. Keeping a spotless house, and she was always a self proclaimed "worrier".  All my grandparents self medicated with alcohol...all 4 of them!  But it was just a normal round of drinks each night, that they would be damned if they would ever miss!

So how would I know if I had a genetic predisposition to mental illness when no one in my past has even ever admitted to anything "mental"?  Why do they see my illness as something that needs to be treated, but do not see their own needs? 

Wow, I am now more confused than ever. And honestly I thought my mental illnesses were "normal" mental illnesses. LOL  But the NAMI defines them as "serious".  I have serious mental illness. I see a psychiatrist and I take medications. I will probably do this the rest of my life. But for some reason, I and others don't take this as serious as a physical illness, like diabetes or arthritis.  How do we change this way of thinking?  How do we accept those with mental illness, accept ourselves, and work towards acceptance, and compassion?  I guess that will be my next round of stay tuned.



  1. My next question to your husband would have been what does he consider all these issues you have if not mental illness? Is he the kind of guy who doesn't like to label this stuff or does he just not like to think of his wife as such? Forcing yourself to say your spouse is mentally ill is probably really hard for some people. As for your family, those are older generations and it probably wasn't as ok then as it is now to label yourself as having a mental illness.

    1. I totally agree about the older generations in my family. I mean, even now I hate thinking of myself as having a mental illness...I'd rather just say I have "issues". I guess we all like to see things in a better light than they actually might be in. My husband says he just sees me "as me". This is the only way he has ever known me and he has learned to live with me and accept me how I am. Guess I am really lucky! Thanks for commenting! Makes me happy! LOL

  2. Well, that is good. Acceptance rather than denial on his part. Yeah, no one wants to SAY they are mentally ill but acknowledging the problem is so much better than denying. If it is any consolation, I have ocd issues and over think things on a regular basis. The older I have become, the more I have learned to let things go and give it over to God if it is completely out of my control. Had to practice this quite a lot in the last year, not being able to be with my daughter and Samuel. Can't wait to be able to move- I feel like every day not being near him is a day lost and it can bring me to my knees mentally in about half a second.