On World Mental Health Day

I recently started to get treatment for my depression and PTSD after suffering more than 40 years with it. As many posting to Twitter have mentioned about their depression, mine was initially dismissed as teenaged angst, then as “just they way you are” and “being serious for a change”. There was also the problem that more than 40 years ago when this mess started 1) there was no such diagnosis as PTSD 2) even if there was nobody would believe you could get it by changing schools several times at the wrong point in your life. I think that started some time in the ’90s when the DOD noticed that adults who had been military dependents as children had suicide, drug addiction, and alcoholism rates almost identical to combat veterans from Vietnam. I never went through any suicide attempts and couldn’t afford drugs or booze, I think that was the only reason I didn’t join that statistic. There was also the mistaken belief that young people couldn’t get depressed, mainly because at the time nobody knew that depression can happen to people not actually in serious conditions because it is a disease, a disease that manifests as an emotional state, not just “being real sad” all the time. To give an idea about how much I changed from before to after depression I got a “Motormouth Award” at scout camp for being lively and talkative and joking all the time. That was the Real Me (Not Depressed), in the 7th grade. By my senior year in HS, less than 5 years later, I had already had one major and countless minor bouts of depression.

So, several things here: 1) Mental Illness is a category of real illnesses, like heart disease or kidney failure. 2) Anyone can get Mental Illness at any age. Seriously, it’s like childhood cancers or Type 1 diabetes. 3) Having Mental Illness does not mean you have a weak mind or are morally deficient or any other negative stereotype, it means your brain is not functioning within design tolerances. Nothing more, nothing less.

Please share this with your friends.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet.

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