Let’s Stop Calling It Mental Illness

Hello dear reader(s)!

Currently, I am coming down with a cold.  I can feel it.  One of my housemates also has a cold.  Hers is much worse…so far.

When someone has a cold, the rest of the healthy people don’t call it a sinus illness.  They don’t call it a chest illness.  Sure, sometimes they call it a sinus cold and chest cold to differentiate where the ick is happening, but usually it is just a cold.  Especially if you get body aches like with the flu, it isn’t just specific to one system.  The run down feeling you get with one affects your whole body, and sometimes even your cognition.

So why when someone has an illness in their brain, do we call it a mental illness?

I have PTSD.  It is actually hardly a mental issue at all.  It has more to do with inappropriate adrenal function than much of anything else.  When I am startled, and all the muscles tense up, I get goose bumps, and my heart beat increases, how is that just a mental illness?

I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  When I have a panic attack, my vision can be affected.  My heart rate also increases.  I have trouble breathing.  My stomach gets upset.  It is a full-body illness.

The brain is not only very much a physical part of the body, it is the single most important part of the body.  You can survive if your heart stops.  Try being brain-dead.

So why then are we still calling these very physical and real illnesses “mental illness”?

In doing so, we just add to the stigma that people with mental illness face.  Stigma echoed by Trump and his blind-sheep supporters, who equate mental illness with weakness.  A draft dodger, and some veterans who know nothing about the way the body and the mind are supposed to function who assume that because they didn’t end up with PTSD, those who did must have been weaker than they are.  A coddled billionaire, and some vets with a YouTube channel are dictating a conversation about health.  Think about that for a minute.

I’m getting pretty sick of people who think that the mentally ill are anybody more than sick people who need treatment, the same as they would think if their mothers got cancer.  Or would these sociopaths call their grandmothers weak for that?

Well, I smoke and I don’t have cancer, but my grandmother does, so obviously she couldn’t handle it because she isn’t as strong.”  – Trump logic

Mental healthcare should be brought into regular healthcare.  There should not be separate insurance visit limits and requirements.  Just like any other illness, it should be treated.  Psychologists and Psychiatrists are medical professionals and should be treated as such.  Furthermore, preventative mental health check-ups should be like any other preventative care benefit.  The segregation of something so important needs to stop.

Regardless of what is called, what is classified as mental illness affects society as a whole.  All of the shootings that Republicans blame on mental illness should constitute a public health emergency.  If they really aren’t because of guns, then can we get some damn reform already?  Or…is it just an excuse?  Either way, treating the mentally ill as weak or bad really isn’t working out all that well for us, is it?

One of the reasons I am getting this cold, and my housemate already has hers, is probably because of stress.  There has been a lot of stress involved with moving, stress of getting repairs made, and stress of having new housemates.  Stress, the mental issue, likely knocked down our immune systems, allowing the cold to take hold.  This illness, born out of the mental issue, is very much physical.

We need to demand from our insurance companies that limits on mental health are removed.  We need to demand that they pay the professionals the same as they would pay any medical specialist so that more people enter the field.  We need to write to Congress and demand that they pass legislation requiring insurance companies to quit treating those in need of mental health treatment as second-class citizens.

And then we all need to go see a therapist.  Just to talk if we think we are fine, so that we all stay that way.

#IllIsIll

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

63 thoughts on “Let’s Stop Calling It Mental Illness”

  1. I don’t even really get why commenting. I “liked” the post, cause I like it, but whatever. Most illness that aren’t even mental are usually associated as that. Yeah. I learnt that. I guess what I want to say is I understand what you’re saying? Let me just end it here😧

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I heartily agree–thank you for posting this.

    Just one added note: “mental illness” (PTSD, anxiety, depression, whatever it is) exists in every country. But countries with more restrictive gun laws do not have anything like the mass shootings we experience in the U.S. Better health care for people who need it, yes. But that won’t be sufficient by itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for posting this Josh. I too suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, etc. as a result of things that happened during my childhood and I know that some of my “physical “health problems are because of the stress that this has put on my body. Mind and body are connected and they shouldn’t be separated by insurance companies as to how their treated. As far as Trump goes, I’m not even going to go into that. After all, this is the man who can’t even sit through a debate prep because he doesn’t have enough attention span. This is the man who basically pulled out all the stops to avoid serving, yet says POWs shouldn’t be considered heroes. Is it any wonder that he sees vets who come home with PTSD as not being “strong”? Darn. I did just go into it didn’t I?😕 Anyway, feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t have any of that supposed ‘logic’.
    I have had the healthiest year of my life *touches wood* and even though I keep saying that *touches wood* I have been very hard to wake in the mornings this week and am feeling achy and tired still. BUT! I do not have a fever (yet) and am otherwise coherent. I aim to eat some lasagna and bread, take a bath, and hit the hay early tonight. I had for a bit, thought it was the onset of the dreaded fall allergies, but now I’m not sure…
    I don’t think my stress is high.
    I have PTSD, GAD, PD, and OCD, and the worst thing for my brain seems to be too much caffeine and not enough sleep.
    I hope we both feel better tomorrow, Josh 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This isn’t just a good post, it’s an important one. To just say I agree with you is insufficient. I’m bipolar, among other things, am on medication that seems to work perfectly for me, I have a good job, strong family but do have stresses that maybe affect me more than others. But when people hear bipolar I get jokes that show they don’t have a clue (no I don’t hallucinate…that isn’t bipolar) . I’ve also literally been told that I’m weak because if I were stronger I wouldn’t need meds. Okaaaaaaaay. May your cold end up not developing! Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s true, although I don’t know anyone with bipolar I that has had hallucinations. I have Bipolar II which seems (I’m no expert) to have a better response to meds. I take mine religiously, just as I would if I had to take meds for diabetes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If I remember from my psych classes, the hallucinations are usually only due to prolonged manic episodes and periods of insomnia that result. But like you said, you take them just as if you had diabetes. Physical medication, for a physical illness.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Josh
    While I agree on some points, you are way off base speaking on mental illness. No longer saying someone has a mental illness? WOW!! Mental illness is a serious illness the same as cancer, losing a limb or going blind. First Cancer has no cure, you want to just say oh, there sick? Instead of calling someone an amputee, oh they lost their leg, this person sufferers from endless pain battling their brain, the good and the worst. When someone is in a dark depression and wants to kill themselves, oh, they had a bad day. They don’t have an illness. I usually don’t reply to you because you seem to like getting people worked up. I draw my line at mental illness, I don’t know anyone how says I deserve more treatment than the nest illness because I have mental illness. Are all people with mental illness living the best like possible, hell no, nor are other with or without a flu or long term illness. Mental illness is a dysfunctional of the brain, there are several categories/symptoms that help doctors diagnosis and work to find the right mix of medication. I’m 52, diagnosed at 19 years old, I’ve stayed in a Psychiatric Hospital to prevent me from killing myself, on more than one occasion. My depression can get so bad I can’t function in reality and need ECT to reset my brain. I’ve had 20 ECT Treatments, if you lookup what is involved and the risk, I think you would agree a very ill person would go through ECT. I had a Vagal Nerve Stimulator implanted in my chest, it looks like a pace maker, leads are attached to my right Vagus Nerve. Clinical Trials were promising, many saw relief very quickly, I was not one of those. I have taken responsibility for my illness, as I would any other illness I have like, Chronic Lyme Diseases.
    Yes I agree Medical company discriminate against people with mental illness and Lyme Disease when writing policies.One way Insurance companies screw patients over is benefiting from other organizations who determine in all their wisdom, this is the treatment and how long the person needs treatment. I’ll give you an example of Chronic Lyme, the CDC does not agree Chronic Lyme exists or the need for long term treatment is not needed. The CDC says all Lyme cases can be cured in 4-6 weeks of antibiotics, 8 weeks at most. If the CDC takes the position of only short term treatment is necessary, Medicare/Medicaid will only cover the recommendations of CDC. If Medicare/Medicare and other government agencies do not pay for long term treatment, the insurance hope on the train, because it saves them money. They only pay what the CDC recommends if coverage at all.
    My insurance company refused to pay anything towards treat meant except RX’s after co-pay just like other. I spent 9 months on IV Therapy, tons of meds and supplements, traveling to DC once a month while on IV’s. Each visit which included some IV supplies and meds. The cost per month $6-8K a month. We have spent over $150K to reach life without IV’s, now my prognosis is 12-18 months to get well. Yes, I understand all to well how patients get fucked over. Mental Health is the same, you are covered but at a lesser rate. There are thousands of bloggers on WP with a mental illness, I can tell you for certain, they will not agree the name of our brain illness should go away. You get enough people on a committee who think shallow about what is and isn’t an illness and you’ll have every disease you don’t respect or understand on the take the name of illness way.
    Blogs are open for everyone to speak their opinion, you’ve done that and now other bloggers have the right to disagree and let you know about. Maybe next time before throwing a thought out, you should do some research to understand others and their struggles. My gut tells me you are to selfish to think of anyone else.
    Reading the comments of followers are quite sad. Good day for you, they all agree.

    Like

    1. Some cancers are curable, and you completely missed the point. The reason we should not call it mental illness is because IT IS SERIOUS and IT IS A PHYSICAL ILLNESS. The brain is part of the body, therefore it is physical. By segregating it, you open it to stigma. That is the point of this opinion.
      Try some reading comprehension before you blast me next time.
      Also, this is my space, I decide what goes on, I am leaving your comment though, as an example to others to actually read the post before freaking out over a title. Good day,

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Some random thoughts:
    -You have an awesome readership! I hope I, one day, have enough people who value my thoughts and words;
    -I’d never thought of PTSD as more of a physical response, as opposed to mental illness; I did recently listen to an NPR article about veterans “walking off” the war by hiking the Appalachian Trail. Ever heard of that? I’m jealous, just because I love hiking and would love to get out of my routine for a few days;
    -Trump is a psycho, and the weakness comment just shows what a lack of thought he puts into his words, which is kind of inexcusable and deplorable as a sentient and rational creature

    As always, thanks for your thoughts. Health and happiness to you and yours.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you’re right about the PTSD, I think if it pretty much the same way, but it is classified by the system as a mental health condition. There are a lot of things that can help with PTSD, and I think hiking that trail could be one of them for some, but I don’t know about it completely going away. The thing about PTSD, is that it can go dormant and then sneak back up when people don’t expect it years later, from what I have been told.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I shouldn’t have used the hiking example in this situation. I think it’s good for war vets, generally speaking, but not necessarily for “curing” PTSD. I have a traumatic event in my life, and, despite feeling better, there’s no way I’ll ever be “cured.” From this point on, I’ll always feel at least a little damaged. However, not at all in a way comparable to surviving wartime experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’d be surprised how comparable trauma can be to what would rationally seem something that can’t be done. And I think the hiking was a valid thing, it can be one of the many positive treatments. Maybe one day it could be cured, who knows? Wouldn’t it be nice?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I get panic attacks. Of course, horrible shock is used to live with it, because I have never felt any fear. There is no mental illness in family. So what is it? Doctors, exams f brain, psihology tests shows high analytic brain, Intelligence, so I am going at psihotherapy, no antidepressive any more (I had bad feelings from them). I get beta-blocator Concor and Xanax. But the important is a change a life, friends, environment.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Manic depresson/bipolar disorder, PTSD and General anxiety… my doc calls them “mental disorders”. Add in my epilepsy, and I’m a walking mental illness. I’ve had people become scared of me when they hear the bipolar part. I’ve never been violent. With medication, I’m actually pretty normal. Trump is anything but normal. he is a sociopathic, narcissistic, misogynist… and he’s really not that smart. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The thing that scares me most is the stigma of coming out and telling people. I also believe that men such as us have a tougher time (although strictly internal) letting these things out in the fear of society deeming us less of a man. I think we need to “man” up and tell people what is really wrong to allow some of this pressure to be released. Great post, and a definite source of logic in a illogical world. It is funny how those with different (let’s sub in better) minds can see things for how they really are.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I agree with you. I too, have Generalized Anxiety, and PTSD. I also have Major Depressive Disorder, and ADHD. I so agree about the stigma attached to mental illness and why the illnesses of the brain have to be separate from all the other illnesses that reside within the human body. Illness is illness, no matter which part of the body is affected. I wrote a post on my blog, awhile back, about the stigma attached to mental illness and how it needs to be unattached already! Every other organ in the body is referred to as physical and the one and only brain stands alone…….being called mental illness……………….It’s so stupid. Uneducated people like to believe that if someone has a mental illness, and God forbid should we have 4……………..they must be crazy, dangerous, scary, and all the other adjectives used. Actually, we’re probably much more sane than anyone else because we seek treatment, just as we would if we had a heart problem. And, like you said, most people have some form of a “mental illness” and again, no one can tell we have these mental illnesses because they are invisible, just like the physical, only you can see some physical illnesses. So, if we choose not to tell anyone, no one will know…….This is a subject that really gets to me; the stigma attached to mental illness. Thanks for sharing your views on this. I think there are a whole lot of us that would like to have this stigma unattached, like now. Take care. Peace out! 🙂

    Like

  12. You are NOT your mental disorder 

    You are not your mental disorder. You are not your inability to read and write. You are not the social anxiety that leaves you feeling isolated and a product of alienation in a world where couples is the new norm. You are not the depression that cripples you and leaves you crying and thinking obsessively of self harm at three in the morning on the bathroom floor. You are not the voices you hear telling you to destroy. You are not the anger , the betrayal, the bitterness and the drowning. You are not a replay button of all the horrifying experiences and painful memories you’ve ever had. You are not your molest- you are instead a survivor of it.You are a Beautiful warm sunshine in a world full of dark dreary gloomy days. You are a rainbow , a paradox ,a haiku ,the moonlight shining on a still lake. You are the books you read , the music you listen , the love you give and deserve , the movies you watch . You are the things you eat, the air you breathe and the places you travel to. You are the photos you take and the poems you write. You are the smile you bring on other people’s faces, the masterpieces you create 

    So repeat after me and believe me when I say

    YOU. ARE. NOT. YOUR. MENTAL. DISORDER

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have panic disorder meaning I also suffer from panic attacks and I totally agree with you, it is such a physical experience that it is often hard to limit it simply to a ‘mental illness’. Well said.

    Like

  14. Pingback: Let’s Stop Calling It Mental Illness — My Friday Blog | Peltasplace.blog

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