Regarding the best

Day 10: What is the best thing in regards to your mental illness(es)?

The best thing remains that having official diagnoses means a focus for treatment plans.   It also gives you peace of mind that there is something wrong with you and it is not an imaginary illness.  It also means you are not alone and can often join support groups with people experiencing similar symptoms etc to you.  I find it hard to think of anything else that might be beneficial in having these and the experiences that created them.

Of them those I have, I think PTSD is probably the most “acceptable” because of the connection to soldiers on the battlefield.  The causation factor of a trauma seems to be acceptable as a rationale for what is happening.  PTSD is “supported” in NZ in that it is able to be claimed as an accident under a sensitive claim.  I am never convinced that “accident” is remotely the right word.

Depression is not greatly understood or respected. It has its “role models” like John Kirwan in NZ and the recent suicide of Robin Williams attributed to it.   But for many people, they struggle to understand why people can not just get over it, comparing their own experience of sadness or grief with someone diagnosed with depression.

Agoraphobia and anxiety are probably rife in society but because sufferers of these are often out of the public eye, their plight is less well known.  The last thing an agoraphobic person can do is go out in the public eye and be seen.  The same applies for someone with anxiety, they will quite often hide their symptoms in order to avoid more stress from being noticed or remain close to their homes.

The worst thing anyone can do is assume they know what a diagnosis means to another person, even if they experience the same mental illness.  The clinical list of symptoms is not a true reflection of an individual’s experience of it.


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