Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Personal Encounters with Mental Disorder


“I think that we're all mentally ill. Those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better - and maybe not all that much better after all.”

  --Stephen King

Drawn by early 20th-century commercial cat ill...
Drawn by early 20th-century commercial cat illustrator Louis Wain near the beginning of his mental illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Was There Something Wrong with Me? 

        When I was in high school I became concerned that I might have had or had been becoming afflicted with a mental disorder.  I felt out of place, unable to fit in well with the culture of my peers.   Most of the time when I wasn't at school I stayed home watching television, reading, writing--doing solitary activities.  Having few friends, I was certain that there was something not quite right with me.

        In my concern, I began doing research about "mental illness".  I read every book and article I could find on the subject.  When I enrolled in college, I started out with a major in psychology with my aim set on become a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst or something related to these fields, partly in hopes of curing my own affliction.

       As I was completing my second year in my pursuit of my major in psychology, I began to rethink my original intentions.  This was partly due to my struggle with the required statistics classes which I could not understand why they were important to what I wanted to do.  In retrospect I wish I had focused better on those classes as statistics is now a topic that does interest me.  At the time it just seemed like another difficult degree requirement that I would have rather not had to contend with.

       That's when I changed my major to English and pursued a general liberal arts education that left me with a fairly well-rounded acquisition of appreciation of fine arts and general knowledge in a whole realm of different subjects.  This is the course I pursued for five years until dropping out of the University of Tennessee just a few credits shy of a degree.

         Soon after that I found myself with a career in show business traveling on the road and discovering that I wasn't any more mentally ill than most average people.  What I had earlier mistaken for "mental illness" was merely a state of mind called adolescence and then later it went on to become aimless meandering of young adulthood.

          Reflecting with old friends and acquaintances as years went by I discovered that not only many of them had the same self doubts and fears that I had, but some suffered to a greater degree.  Through the years I've seen people I know struggle with problems of dependency and depression.  A few even committed suicide.  Some came out of those years just fine while others fared far less well than I.

          I guess we've all had our moments of craziness and periods when life tried to batter us down. I can't think of anyone that I've known who hasn't at least considered therapy, counseling, or some kind of treatment whether it be from someone else or their own pursuits of self-help.  What we ourselves do with major or minor mental crises determines how our own stories turn out in the end.

My Brother's Story

         My youngest brother by eleven years difference began his own struggle with mental disorder after he entered high school.  By that time I was mostly away from home so I wasn't close to what was happening in his life or the lives of my parents.  I didn't understand the seriousness of his condition until after he was hospitalized with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.   And being away like I was, the situation didn't have that much of an impact on me.

         My brother's condition was a great burden of sorrow on my father until the time of his death at age 67.  My father kept my brother in the best hospitals until his insurance would no longer cover the cost.  Over time my father researched the disorder and sought out whatever treatment he thought might help and yet to no avail.  His youngest son seemed to be hopelessly ill with no cure that would even bring a semblance of normalcy to his life.  There came a resignation that his youngest son, my youngest brother whom I discovered that I had never really gotten to know very well, would probably be institutionalized for the remainder of his life.

        After my father died in 1990, my mother was left to shoulder that burden which was a burden that she carried mostly on her own (with the help of the mental health professionals) for the next 24 years.   Fortunately she did meet a kind devoted man who became her partner in 1997 who did help her tremendously until his death in 2012.  And though I spoke to my mother regularly--and after 2009 almost daily--on the phone and visited her as often as I could, she being in Tennessee and me in California, and she received some emotional support from my other siblings, this was still a relatively small solace in contending with a mother's baby who was in such a sad condition of mental health.

        Then my mother died in November of 2014.  Still institutionalized in Nashville, his closest family living three hours away, my brother was an orphan in his fifties.   The responsibility of attending to his affairs fell upon me.  Correspondence and reporting from the care facility is directed towards me and now it is I who is responsible for making important medical and life decisions for my brother.

         He calls me several times a week and sometimes several times a day mostly to talk about music CD's he wants me to order for him.  Most of that CD conversation is redundant if not a bit perplexing to me since he seems to be buying music that he has owned in the past that has been lost or stolen.  All of the music is from the seventies and eighties or newer releases that those same artists might have put out.  Sometimes he tells me about other things he needs like clothes.  The CD's, the clothes, and whatever else he wants or needs I order online and have drop shipped to him at the hospital where he lives.

          Occasionally, I'll try to get him to change the subject of what he wants me to order for him to something about him and his life.  In some rare instances he'll talk about the past or he'll talk about his life now.  Often I don't quite understand what he is referring to or the stories will seem so outlandish that I don't know if they're real or not.  He often tells me about his pain, mostly due to his legs and neck being broken. I tell him that he wouldn't be able to get around if his neck and legs were broken, but that doesn't convince him that they are not broken.

         Some readers of my previous posts of the past week might have thought that I take the topic of mental disorders lightly.  Believe me, I have first hand experience with the subject of mental disorders.  I understand the difficulties that those directly affected by mental afflictions go through as well as the pain and sadness that the families and others might face.  Mental affliction is a serious matter and yet like most serious matters you can laugh about them sometimes.  One almost has to laugh about them now and then.  Life can heap enough pain, sadness, and misery upon us that can wear us away and even destroy us if we allow the negatives to beat us down.  There are times to weep as well as times to laugh, so laugh I will when I feel like laughing and laugh I will in the face of defeat and adversity.  Laughter is, as the cliche goes, the best medicine and that is something I firmly believe.

        I have a great tendency towards being a patient person.  I also attempt to be one who will try to reason with those who are being unreasonable.  This is partly why I've taken on my President Trump Acclimation Series.  I've been hearing the craziness all around me for eighteen months now.

         Unlike trying to reason with my brother, I have hope that some of the vehement anti-Trumpers can be reasoned with.  There are also times I tip to the edge of humor with poking a bit of fun at what I see as lunacy on the left.  Even my brother has brief flashes of what seems like a brilliant clarity that makes me want to believe he's been scamming all of us all along.  However, I know that's not true but only my glimmer of hope that one day he'll suddenly say with lucidity that he wants to come back and be a part of the reasoning world.  When he explains concepts of wants versus needs or contemplates spiritual issues I have a hope that the man that my father dreamed of my brother becoming one day has finally emerged from a distant dim place of confused thinking.   When he comes up with an insightful bit of wit that brings laughter to the both of us, I feel like somehow he gets the humorous aspect of life's darker sides.

          I don't really expect that he will be better any time soon because he has been medicated for too many years and probably could not exist without being in some type of institutionalized setting where others have to make decisions for him.  It's doubtful that he can ever live normally like most of the society around me.

          Then I look at the insanity that is going around in this supposedly normal society.  In my post Is Extreme Anti-Trumpism a Mental Illness  I might have seemed to be making light of a serious situation, but I was indeed as serious as I could be about this current socio-political phenomena.  Consistently taking things to an extreme and fixating upon them can, in my opinion, start leading to some serious problems within an individual as well as within our society.

A Closing Thought with Example

            I realize this has been a long post, but I felt a need to clarify where I'm coming from about mental afflictions and fixations and such related things.  Before I close, I'd like to leave you with an exchange between myself and a blogger who has seemed to have developed what I think is a peculiar almost unhealthy fixation regarding President Trump, Trump supporters, and the beliefs those supporters have.  I've decided to no longer identify or link to this blogger, but as illustrated in an exchange which began prior to Donald Trump's announcement to run for president and continued to shortly before his inauguration.  The nature of the relationship as it progresses strikes me as weird, but I'll let you decide.

        To set up the comment thread, the original post was what I found to be a rather cynical, but entertaining review of the film Whiplash.  Take note that I was interested in the conversation with this blogger enough to remember the initial exchange and return to the conversation over a year after it began.  Here is the thread that ensued with dates of each comment and response:


Very funny review.

I've been hearing so many good things about this film that it's had me curious to see it. Then your review reaffirms the bad things I've heard about this film. I might see this one eventually when it makes it to DVD, but I might forget to see it too. This sounds like one of those films that will end up on my Netflix queue toward the bottom and never make it toward the top because I keep putting other films above it.

Then again, based on your review, I might have to see it just to see what you've described. It sounds pretty crazy.\



  1. anon blogger          January 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM
    Lee: It is pretty crazy. But what I find more crazy than the movie are all the things people who like it are saying about it. It's like, maybe, they are blinded by the music aspect of the movie. Or, maybe, they all had experiences with a band director who yelled at them for screwing up, so it's some kind of "experience" to see the movie. I don't know.
  2. Finally a year later my wife and I watched this film. We both liked it a great deal. Everything you've pointed out above is true, but I guess I'm often more than willing to suspend disbelief for a film like this. I'm not as forgiving these days to suspend my disbelief for a lot of the sci-fi that I watch (which I find myself watching less as time goes by).

    Whiplash was entertaining for me aside from the parts that annoyed me. I can be pretty forgiving about a lot of movies while others (e.g. Prometheus) I find my assessment to be rather harsh.
  3.               January 7, 2017 at 12:51 AM
  4.                I guess that just serves to demonstrate that you have a fucked up, distorted view of actual reality.
  5. (Yes, I am only just now seeing that you left this comment.)

  6.        Have you ever felt like you were experiencing some sort of mental affliction or breakdown?    What have been your direct encounters with people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder?   Does the example of the comment exchange I've provided seem odd to you or do you find it totally acceptable?
  7.              




48 comments:

  1. Most interesting Lee, As your quote says "We are all mental". It's not a subject I like to dwell on as I have the discrimination about being Epilepsy being a mental desasse ( which it isn't.
    Enjoy your week.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, for the sake of clarification, the quotation is not mine, but from Stephen King and it was part of a broader article more related to his thoughts on why people enjoy horror stories and films.

      Lee

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  2. I was introspective as an adolescent and started college with the intent of becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist. After two years - and loving Abnormal Psychology - I decided to go into teaching instead. After working with first graders for years, I have come to the conclusion that most adults are just tall 6 year olds. Some are younger. It's an interesting world from that perspective.
    I've also found that criticism from most people comes from those who have NOT had experience in what you are talking about, and thus cannot even fathom the use of humor in these situations. I, however, can find it funny. You MUST make light of heavy things or they can sink you!

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    1. Donna, your experience sounds very much like my own and I think many young people feel this. Fortunately, most figure things out along the way and understand themselves better. I had aims of going into teaching until I got sidetracked. I think your choice was a wise one.

      So many people labor us with their own need for gravitas about everything. Serious things need to be taken seriously, but we should also see a humorous side to it all. Some of the great works of literature and film have dealt with mental affliction not only from a humorous standpoint, but from a perspective of horror, drama, mystery, and even romance. Mental affliction is just another part of human existence and there is more than one way of looking at it.

      Lee

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  3. I'll be the first to admit I'm a tad off my rocker, but in a good way lol I hope. But I never had anything or such thoughts that I ever thought I needed help for, as I fear I have common sense, which a lot of these people who talk to someone professional don't, at least the few I've known over the years. Either that or they wanted a pat on the back or someone to whine to. I don't think I ever met one who I knew was going to therapy that I thought ever needed it. All they had to do was get off their butt. But then I'm no professional, so power to them.

    I haven't had any mental illness in people or family I know, that I'm aware of. Down Syndrome in a family member, but that's a whole other can of worms. Although I've seen through that how it can wear on the entire family at times, knowing they'll never be "normal" and such.

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    1. Pat, and really, in our society as it is, what do we determine to be "normal"? Being a bit different in an off-the-rocker now and then sort of way is not really bad, but kind of interesting.

      Lee

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  4. I look forward to the day when better treatment and recognition of schizophrenia is available.
    Have a good day Arose,

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    1. Ann, better treatment is very much needed. We depend too much on treating with drugs and then moving on to the next case with more dosages. I think a misguided mind needs a good deal more than drugs that possibly do more harm than good.

      Lee

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  5. Arlee Thank you for stepping out on this issue. It is a pretty brave step to take. Many people really don't understand unless it affects them personally. It is a subject not talked about enough. As for your questions, when you love someone addicted to drugs you deal with mental health issues and often as the addiction spirals out of control the issues manifest into dire crisis. As for the question about the comment and mental health I see those types of responses a lot on Facebook. TY again for sharing. I enjoyed reading.

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    1. Gossip Girl, Thank you for leaving your comment. There are many conversations to be had on the subject of the various mental disorders. There is no one blanket answer or solution so we need to look at the subject from many sides and from the inside and out.

      Lee

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  6. Wishing you well, good Sir Arlee....
    ... and hello from Marshville

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    1. Stacy, as always, thanks for stopping by.

      Lee

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  7. It’s a safe bet every one of us experienced the kind of adolescent doubt you described. Had we been able to articulate our fears, helpful explanations would have been gladly received. Though I don’t know how one would ever explain mental illness, the stigma attached to those merely associated– or the fear of it being contagious, as I mistakenly thought for nearly half my life. I guess that’s why I don’t even joke about it. Like you, I (had) a family member who was extremely challenged by the disease. In the end it was difficult to discern which had accelerated her demise, the disease, or the drugs they gave her. My best to you and your brother.
    The response you received from that blogger was indeed odd…terribly defensive (must be media), and flat out rude!

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    1. Diedre, adolescence can be a confusing time for many and not a time when we often feel confident or comfortable in telling others about what we are feeling. Just talking about things can help a lot, but the question is often a matter of who do you talk to?

      As far as the blogger's attitude towards me, it changed to an extreme once this person discovered that I was a Trump supporter and then our relationship took an ugly turn from that person's perspective even when I was still willing to desire rational discussions. It's really kind of sad.

      Lee

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  8. This was a powerful post. First to show that your experiences in the subject are much the same as everyone elses- then veer hard right to show your experiences are FAR more than most of us- then tie it together with everything else you have been doing. I know someone who could really do with reading this, and I may just send it to him...


    Now the movie thing, that's just bizarre. So this guy got mad because your take on the movie wasn't in COMPLETE accord with his?

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    1. CW, thank you for grasping my intent and my methodology in using this particular post tied in with previous ones. I think a number of people could use the message that I'm attempting to deliver, but I doubt whether they would heed much of it.

      No, the blogger actually was disturbed that I had not only voted for Trump and my logical reasoning against anti-Trumpers (such as this blogger is) seems to really bug the blogger who continues to rant in what I think are posts partly in response to what I've been doing. It's like a secret battle.

      Lee

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    2. Obviously, Lee, as a Trump supporter you will bash movies that non-Trump people watch. You'll probably be tweeting a review next, and recommending that anyone who liked this film be banned from travel.

      LC

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    3. Larry, I don't know about that, but I do encourage everyone to boycott watching the Oscars and don't go to any Meryl Streep movies--I never liked her even before what she said about Trump.

      Lee

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  9. My dad was bipolar, which at the time was called "manic-depressive" bordering on "paranoid-schizophrenic." They didn't find out until his self-medicating interfered with family life, but he was drinking, using drugs, and carried on with another woman. I never quite understood what was going on, because I was so young, and my mom never told me the story until part of it slipped out one night and I made her tell me the rest. I think I was in my mid-thirties then.

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    1. John, sounds like your parents did a pretty good job covering up if you didn't know the story until you were in your mid-thirties. When family secrets emerge it can really start putting puzzle pieces together.

      Lee

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  10. I've written previously that I would give Trump 6 months, which I may extend to a year, to make good or fall on his face. However, I find it curious that you find it necessary to defend him now that he has been elected. Specifically, you wonder about the sanity of his most virulent opponents.

    I defer to your superior education in psychology. Possibly. you can clear up another of my wonders, Lee. Is narcissism a mental illness or only a personality disorder?

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    1. Jack, as I've explained in previous posts, my frustration with the nonsensical mass media distortions and diversions from the truth as well as the outrageous illogical outcry in the social media has prompted me to correct the untruths, fallacies, and misunderstandings with what I feel to be rational argument and discussion. I see the repetitive railing and ranting as mostly unfounded claims from an unhinged liberal left who has been driven nuts by Trump's win, which I fully expected, and the loss of the candidate that everyone had anticipated winning with a sweep. And it's also made for what I think has been a pretty decent blog series with substantive content even though it has made me unpopular with many I suppose. Free expression is part of what I think blogging is all about and there are certainly enough bloggers writing about writing, posting short fiction, or talking about their pets. I see what I'm doing as a sane voice in a crazy world who is just trying to make sense of it all.

      As to your question I guess the answer would depend on degree. We live in a pretty darn narcissistic society in the first place and it's all heightened in the world of the celebrity. Show me a person who enters politics who is not narcissistic to some degree and I'll show you a person who probably hasn't gotten very far in politics. Donald Trump is a public figure who thrives on what I guess many of us regular folk would consider to be narcissism, but that's why he's been in the positions he's held and is the guy he is.

      To say that President Trump is more narcissistic than Hillary or Obama might be a stretch in my opinion. Cult of personality is how leaders become leaders, stars become stars, and celebrities become celebrities.

      With Trump I see as much altruism as I see narcissism--at least equal in comparison to most presidents and presidential candidates. I certainly wouldn't say Trump has a mental illness nor would I define it as a personality disorder. I'd say it's more of a mechanism of survival in the arenas of his pursuits. I commend him for what he is doing and I think if more in the media would see it as I do there would be far less hysteria and ridiculous discontent than what we are seeing of late.

      But that's my opinion to which I am entitled as anyone is entitled to theirs. And if they can logically defend their opinion without resorting to the tactics we've been seeing from much of the opposition then all the better for their argument.

      Lee

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  11. Great post Lee thank you. And well done on continuing care of your brother. Thank you for sharing your story with us. A man we know (who is the younger brother of two friends of ours who live abroad) is in a care facility for the disabled a little way away from where we live. We fetch him every now and then to spend a Sunday with us - it's hard work. He comes up with amazing insights and wit every now and then. I have a family member who is severely depressed, on medication etc and it is extremely painful to witness from afar his illness.

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    1. Susan S, it's good to do what we can to help those who struggle with their mental conditions that obstruct their abilities to function in normal ways, but it can also be a bit of a challenge.

      Lee

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  12. Lee,

    You have a closer look into mental illness more than most of us. I believe I shared with you before my sister was diagnosed as bi-polar in recent years but before that she was always moody, looking for illegal drugs to boost her spirits. Honestly as much as I'd like to understand, I do no. I believe mental illness is a real issue. Some people can live somewhat productive lives with their illness and others like your brother can't without special care. I get where you're coming from with the people being a bit more unhinged these days, especially when you don't agree with them. This blogger is a prime example of such behavior tipped to the extreme. Some folks can't deal with opposing viewpoints. I believe the only time I felt whacky was in my teens. The rise and fall of adjusting hormones is overwhelming but I believe the trick to surviving it is I basically grounded. I instinctively knew my problems were not any bigger than others and what I felt was probably normal for most girls my age. I wonder what makes one person better to deal with these sorts of things over another still puzzles me but I guess it all has something to do with the chemical make up of the brain. It's great that you and your siblings continue to care for your brother. I know that's not an easy thing to do because on the rarest of occasions my sister calls me I have a horrible time following her conversations. :( Have a good day, my friend!

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    1. Cathy, we can't really get into another person's head let alone always understand what's going on inside our own minds. I've always been more in the camp of those who see mental affliction as more a result of conditioning, environment, and misadventures related to the mind (such as drugs, cults, etc), but I also believe there are conditions that are genetic or the result of physical trauma (such as severe head blows and such). Since it is known that the brain produces chemicals in response to certain external stimuli I might question a brain just randomly producing the chemicals, but there is so much not yet known and much research is still needed.

      Lee

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  13. You know, actually, from your last post, I actually felt you thought of mental illness very deeply and understood more. The last thing I thought of was that you were taking it lightly. What you have experienced and continue to happens to many, many families is sadly, more often than rare. My cousin has schizo affective disorder but he is able to live on his own and is on medication. My hubby's nephew, I am certain, has a learning disability and some sort of mental illness or as I like to say, brain illness. His mom, I don't think, wants to see that he has something wrong and she, and her husband, have enabled him so much that he feels entitled. He has been into hard drugs and is leaving jail today after being in there since October. Many people end up on drugs and in prison due to some form of brain illness. The brain is an organ that we know little about but due to too much...or too little hormones, dopamine, serotonin or whatever, it can cause the brain to not function in the correct manner. People still judge when one says mental so that's why I say brain. Now I have used words like "nuts" or "fruitcake" but I am joking but when I am serious, I take mental illness very seriously. I think everyone of us have experienced something in our lives. When I was a child and teen, due to the extreme bullying, I was not in good shape"mentally". When I separated from my husband, I need to go see someone to heal and relearn who I am and again, when I had to deal with my mom's dementia, my husband's job loss, ADHD and rheumatoid arthritis plus financial constraints never mind my pain, I had to revisit...like a tune up:) I see nothing wrong with this and we could all benefit from this. I deal with people every week who have some For of mental illness in my office and they need respect, non judgement and patience which they rarely get.

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    1. Oh...and that statement, when written is ..um....judgemental to say the least but if the person was in front of you and said this, you both may have laughed...maybe. On another note, I still have to see this film.

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    2. Birgit, unfortunately many people do enable loved ones with problems often to avoid or reject any attached stigma to whatever might be wrong. Ultimately though it is how we ourselves deal with whatever life difficulties we face, but if we aren't armed with the tools and knowledge it can be difficult to overcome the struggles we encounter in life.

      I agree that the blog exchange if in another context might have been a friendlier exchange, but looking at the connected events leading up to the statement I can only conclude that the blogger was being very serious in the belligerence shown.

      Lee

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    3. You are so right about how we deal with crappola. We all carry baggage but it is how we carry it that makes the difference. We can be slogged down with it not knowing which way to go and not accepting help or we can find another way to carry it so the load feels less weighty. As for the comment...oh, that's just sad

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  14. I have a couple of relatives with diagnosed mental illnesses. It's painful to deal with on many levels. I have no answers. I wish I did.

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    1. Patricia, answers would be nice, but even the professionals don't seem to have absolute answers about what to do. If they did I guess the problem of mental afflictions would already be eradicated.

      Lee

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  15. My mother was diagnosed as a "paranoid-schizophrenic manic-depressive" when I was nine. She was in and out of institutions the rest of her life, depending on whether my father could arrange for whatever level of care she needed to be at home. As complex as her condition was, I think it made more sense to me than what's going on in this country right now.

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    1. LD, having a parent with such a condition has to be difficult for a child. And I agree that when it's something that seems outside the bounds of ones control it makes more sense that people behaving in unreasonable manners just because they are in disagreement or don't get what they want.

      Lee

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  16. Except for my own, I do not have much experience with mental illness. I have often wondered if we're quick to call some things these days an illness (and prescribe a pill for it) or is it that things went undiagnosed before.

    I kind of subscribe to the "never promised you a rose garden" theory-life is gonna have highs and lows-if you're lucky, more highs than lows.

    There was a great scene on the Sopranos between Gandolfini and Alla Schaeffer-what she says about thee minutes into the scene kind of sums up what I have often thought is the case for the modern America-we cannot accept any adversity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkXoZJx-_rI

    But I do recognize there are real people out there with real problems. It just seems like there are so many more of them.

    We also seem to have problems talking about the problems, something George Carlin illustrates well in the clip below.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n2PW1TqxQk

    I do have a cousin who sounds very much like your brother, although because that side of the family does not communicate much, I have no idea what happened to him after his parents passed.

    But I must confess-I have no experience with the problem first hand.

    LC

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    1. Larry, the Carlin clip is a classic and what I like best about his humor. Our society gets absurd in trying to be more delicate about issues and more politically correct. This nonsense thinking causes more confusion I think and in a way makes us all socially paranoid that we're going to say the wrong thing so we just avoid a lot of issues. It's nice to be respectful or delicate at times, but sometimes the simplest explanation is the easiest to understand.

      Lee

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  17. I've definitely had a few major breakdowns and I've been damn close to ending things on many occasions too. It's hard to get through it. I did have a hard time with my ex-husband and his bipolar issues though. Medication didn't really help him much and by the time I finally left, his liver had just about given out and sending toxins coursing through his brain.

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    1. JoJo, life isn't always easy all of the time and we all need proper coping mechanisms. I don't think medications are always the best answer and rarely, if ever, the cure. But it can be a real struggle for some with no easy solutions readily at hand.

      Lee

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  18. Full marks, Arlee, for standing behind your brother.

    My only direct experience of 'mental disorder' was a cousin of mine that the family tried to pigeon-hole. His own family classed him as mentally disturbed, especially when he tried to live his own life and chose a job 'below his social station.' He was forced to commit suicide to escape. He was as sane as me, but not able to stand up to the family as I did.

    [But maybe as a staunch, green leftie, I'm part of the world's insanity and have been for decades.]

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    1. Roland, sometimes what others deem as who we are might be way off base and we need to be true to ourselves. We should be in control of our own lives, but we should also be cognizant of the social boundaries that keep us in alignment with the world around us.

      Lee

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  19. I appreciated your post especially today. It is only now that I look back and recognized that some people I endeavored to help and to express kindness were struggling with some form of mental illness.

    Also, I am exhausted with Trump paranoia or phobia or hate. The anarchists who riot, destroy property, assault random people are criminals. They remind me of documentaries showing Nazi Gestapo doing much the same.

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    1. Susan K, and part of the irony is that most of those against President Trump will call him "fascist" while their tactics are the true exhibitions of fascist behavior.

      Lee

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  20. I agree with Stephen King and I agree with you. I was actually worried about myself when I was in high school and even sometimes, I wish I have money to just be able to talk to a professional to make sure I'm okay. I'm really pretty normal, but sometimes, I just wonder if my approaches or reactions to things are normal. Or maybe I am just questioning myself if I'm doing the right thing, I dunno.

    Sorry about your brother. I can just imagine. I had several months of experience dealing with my mother's dementia before she passed away. That dementia was triggered by her illness. It was really hard and heartbreaking at the same time. It can take its toll on anyone dealing with someone with dementia. There were several times I became angry, but knowing it really wasn't "her", I did not make it personal. I was angrier at the situation, not the person.

    "What have been your direct encounters with people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder?"

    I also have another example, not-so-direct (thankfully), but could be a bit of an issue if I mentioned his name (he's a foreigner living in this country). One of these, I'll tell, maybe.

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    1. JG, When we're in our teenage years and even young adulthood there are so many questions that we have and it can all be so confusing. Fortunately, I think most of us are able to sort things out as we get older.

      The frustration of the condition rather than the person with the condition can be taxing on those who have to deal with the problem. It can be a real challenge that requires a lot of patience and willingness to try to understand.

      Lee

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  21. Sorry to have missed this post earlier! That's a sad situation with your brother and not unlike the one I had with my mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's and lived far away in a care home. Our high school experiences were also similar. I had few friends my own age (most were older and out of school already) so I kept to myself a lot. One of my closest friends has bi-polar disorder and it's almost like she has two different personalities. It's a crapshoot which one surfaces on any given day. Thankfully, she has become more stable in the last year. Different meds, I think. Stephen King has a point. We all have our little "quirks", yes? Who's to say what's normal, anyway?

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    1. Debbie D, so true--normalcy is all kind of relative. I guess keeping the quirks and eccentricities in check keeps us in better balance with the world around us which helps achieve a better state of normalcy.

      I've been fortunate not to have had to deal with dementia or Alzheimer's. My mother was mostly pretty lucid until the day she died at age 85. She could get pretty quirky though which sometimes put things in kind of touchy relationships, but that was kind of her personality though.

      Lee

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  22. Those of us with moderate to Severe mental "issues" are usually stuck with them for Life...
    Robert Bloch had a Great piece of advice on "how" to deal with this... "Your insanity will have formed Habits.... learn to Train those Habits"...
    Makes living with these problems Much easier to deal with in every day Life...

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    1. Stacy, I think Bloch offers good advice. I agree that nearly all if not all behavior is based on habits. We all need to train our habits.

      Lee

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