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Mental Illness and the Associated Shame Run in Families.
Mental Illness is Curable. Shame Can Be Prevented.
We CAN Learn How to Be Proactive, Open and Supportive.
Please read this article in the NY Times- linked below.
Many people opt for suicide because they see no way out of their depression. Many years ago a young woman, age 22, who was from an affluent CT family, and who was absolutely brilliant, was a patient in a CT health facility. She was hospitalized about 50 miles from home because her father did not want anyone in their wealthy community to know that she was ill. This young woman had been a student at MIT. While she was hospitalized for 3 weeks -- before signing herself out AMA (against medical advice) -- neither of her parents visited her. They were concerned about being seen, recognized by members of the medical community. In sharing her distress with me, the young woman said "If I go to New York, and get hospitalized there, the possibility is greater that they might visit. They cannot afford to be found out in CT that they have a crazy daughter." The most distressing part of our conversation was when she said to me -- "If I could bring myself to believe that they would be devastated by my death, I would off myself just so they would know what it feels like to be in pain. The truth is my mother would take to bed for a few days, but would be prescribed a sedative and she would recover quickly. My father would most likely say - it's for the best. I cannot give the bastard that satisfaction."
Please take a little time to listen, ask questions, share perspective, offer hope, and extend kindness. In most instances, it's very helpful when people know that someone cares.
“In January 2012, two weeks after my discharge from a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut, I made a plan to die. My week in an acute care unit that had me on a suicide watch had not diminished my pain.
Back in New York, I stormed out of my therapist’s office and declared I wouldn’t return to the treatment I’d dutifully followed for three decades. Nothing was working, so what was the point?
Shame runs in families, too, and no one in mine talked much about mental illness.
The first time I was hospitalized for wanting to kill myself, as a teenager, my dad visited me a few days in. I made an effort to greet him with a firm handshake; he shared a few jokes with me. Dad was visibly concerned and told me he loved me. Only after his suicide a few years later did I learn that he, too, had been hospitalized, for depression, when he was in his early 20s.
Setting out to start my own life after college, I felt that suicide was a clear and present opportunity, one that glowed more brightly during my depressive episodes.
But I had an ambitious plan to beat it. I’d be a performer: work hard, keep my goals in the line of sight at all times, and make as much money as I could. Professional success would be my first line of defense to keep hopelessness at bay. In parallel, I’d find excellent doctors and be a compliant patient, take my meds and show up for talk therapy.
And for a long time, through my 20s and 30s, that plan worked.
“Suicide rates in the United States are at a shocking 25-year high. They spike in the spring, for reasons not entirely clear. But depression is treatable, and suicide is preventable. Don’t lose hope.”