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To My Friends Suffering From Mental Illness

I'm sorry. It's not that I ever denied the existence or authenticity of mental illness. I never would've said that depression or bipolar disorder or PTSD aren't serious or just as real as any other ailment that afflicts the heart or lungs or liver. But while I never would've said those things, I'm not sure how much I really believed them. I think part of me thought, "Depressed? Sure. If you were a stronger person you could pull yourself out of it if you wanted to. It just takes willpower." But it has nothing to do with how strong a person is, or willpower, or anything like that.

I am doing my psych rotation right now, and I had my first patient today. She has bipolar disorder and presented to the unit with sever depression and suicidal ideations. Her hopelessness is like an endless abyss and she feels helpless to do anything to change her situation. She cannot see a future of anything other than this illness. Her anxiety consumes her despite the plethora of medications. She wakes every two hours with night terrors, not of horrible monsters, but flashbacks of a time when her life was happier that now seem like too distant memories. Half the time I hardly knew what to say that wouldn't seem like a trite platitude. When she burst into tears her pain was so palpable it stabbed at my core. I felt helpless that I could do nothing to ease her pain. No one could. And I just wanted hug each and every one of you.

Her pain was just as real as the pain from a tumor, or a wound, or a surgical incision. Maybe worse because those are things you can pinpoint, they're tangible. Mental illness is serious and terrible and I am grateful to Luci for making it real to me when even those closest to me couldn't.

So, I'm sorry. And I am always here for those of you who need it. I love you.



Sep. 13th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Yes. This.
nurse. leo. attention whore. punk rock princess. flexitarian. space case. deltasig. browncoat. fangirl. professional bridesmaid. lover. geek. only child. dreamer. former market researcher. aerialist. uconn husky. internet addict. twentysomething. enfp/j. crazy cat lady. gryffindor. bohemian. new england gangsta. democrat. narcissist. daughter. friend.

just me.

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