I Am Not A Top Ten List

I Am Not A Top Ten List

As I read various posts, links to stories which link to other stories, I see the repeating titles: "Six Ways You Can...", "Three Things To Do To Fix...", "Top Twenty...", "First Five..."; on, and on, and on. I did a search on depression. More than half of the suggested blog posts were lists. A search on anxiety was just as bad. Mental illness is a still very stigmatized condition and so is quite misunderstood and outright denied by many people. My sister-in-law doesn't believe mental illness exists (people are just lazy). But still, to group information, both fact and opinion, into handy-dandy little popular lists I find a bit insulting.

Treating knowledge about mental illness as a list is, to my eyes, creating a list to checkmark off to make those who do not have mental illness feel they are accomplishing something helpful and worthwhile to ANYONE suffering with mental illness. Every mental illness is not the same; every woman is not the same shape, size, and color. A simple list to checkmark will not work for everyone, will not even work for most, or many. *shakes a fist at David Letterman* Top Ten List, indeed.

Depression gets a spotlight because it by far the most common mental illness. Anxiety's spotlight is smaller, but is still almost as bright because everyone has felt fear. Anxiety is a familiar feeling, the loss of control of one's anxiety is not so familiar to the average mentally healthy individual. Aside from the obvious fact that depression and anxiety are two distinctly different mental illnesses, which are distinctly different from other mental illnesses, there is more than one form of depression as well as more than one form of anxiety. Not all coughs are the common cold. Not all Top Ten Lists will be appropriate for all forms of depression.

Add to the mix that often mental illnesses like to use the buddy system, you get many people with more than one type of mental illness. Depression and anxiety. Paranoia and depression. Anxiety and hallucinations. Depression, mania, and delusions. Depression and depression. A person can have multiple forms of depression; I do.

Does your list suggest you should go into their home and do a chore? I would freak out. How about leave something on the sufferer's doorstep? My husband with his four different diagnosees would call the police. Or rather, text his mom to call the police, since his anxiety would be too high at that point to do it himself.

I know the belief that mental illness exists and is not something to be ashamed of, that belief needs nurturing and needs to be spread. Better than many I know; after a month off work due to depression I answer "I don't want to discuss that." whenever anyone asks me what I was sick with. I don't want the backlash, I don't want to be judged, I don't want to feel I can't talk about it to anyone. But I am not a Top Ten List. Some of the listed items I have read I nod my head to and think "That would be really nice." Some I just shake my head at. Some truly alarm me. And some lists had all three types on the same list.

Don't tell me to take two asprin and call you in the morning.

Related Posts

Social Media Is a Warm Gun: A Dangerous Tweet About Depression

The scary thing about social media is it has a nasty habit of allowing some dude who Googled stuff that one time and thought about some things and then decided maybe it would be fun to share them with his MySpace friends (I'm loosely paraphrasing, but seriously, only loosely) appear to be an expert of some kind.   Read more >

Sharing Our Stories: This is Why We Need to Talk about Mental Illness

Last week, I was very moved by an interview on CBC Radio with Newfoundland actor-comedian Andy Jones and his wife Mary-Lynn Bernard on the death of their son, Louis who "passed away by his own hand after a lengthy and brave battle with mental illness... age 28 years." (from Louis' obituary.) Despite pain that was practically palpable, Ms. Bernard and Mr. Jones have been doing media interviews across the country to shed light on mental illness and the very high toll it takes on those affected and their loved ones. I was very, very moved by their story, and the brave decision they have made to share it.   Read more >

How to Keep it Together When Your Child is in a Mental Health Crisis

I cried far too much today. I cried because I have a sweet little ten-year-old boy who needs me to be a lot stronger than I am. I cried because I can't seem to give him what he needs, get him what he needs. I cried because he told us he's sad all the time, he can't make his brain shut off, he feels weird and out of place in this world, and he wishes he could be more like his brothers. I cried harder still when he saw me crying and reassured me that he was going to get better.   Read more >

Recent Posts by Jennrich

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.