take a quick survey please! :D

so La Sabrosona reblogged a bit from Just Plain Ol’ Vic about a survey that Public Insight Network is putting up.  ::phew!!::  that was a lot of linking!

anyway, it’s to help with a book about mental illnesses.  which is great and all.  but it’s even better because it’s for MARYA HORNBACHER‘S NEW BOOK!!!

I own (and have actually read) all five of her books.  The Center of Winter is a nonfiction piece.  Madness and Wasted are respectively about her bipolar and eating disorders.  Sane is about working the 12 Step Program with a mental illness; Waiting is about working the program without having to endure all the God-talk (or for “non-believers”, as she says).

anyway.  Marya is one of the women I was supposed to become: a crazy, fucked up writer with tales of adventures and misadventures, who eventually got her life together and even got published.

I remembered after I finished reading Madness and Wasted, I emailed her about connections I noticed between the two and how she and I shared similar behavioural patterns.  she actually responded to the email fairly promptly (and it seemed legitimately like her, and not a lackey).  anyway, it was rad.

so I looked further into the aforementioned survey, only to learn it was open:

Author Marya Hornbacher is working on a book about mental illness. Her book will profile the lives of people who have a mental illness or who work in the field, and she’s trying to develop a deeper understanding of how the public views mental illness.

Please answer the questions below to help Marya with her reporting. There aren’t any right or wrong answers, and she appreciates all responses.  If you know very little about mental illness, she’d love to hear from you. Or, if you are personally connected with mental illness, she would love to hear from you as well.

Marya won’t publish any of your responses without your permission. Marya or a journalist from the Public Insight Network may follow up with you for help with reporting.

and I decided, “what the fuck, let’s fill it out.”  and I’d really appreciate it if you filled it out too.  

my answers are below.

How would you describe your knowledge about mental illness?

I am very knowledgeable about mental illness.

 

Has mental illness affected you personally? If so, how?

It was suggested I had struggled with depression and anxiety when I was younger, as it was evident in my family history. However, hesitant to give children medication, no one gave me a proper diagnosis until I was in high school. In my young adulthood, “bipolar disorder” got attached, as well as other afflictions such as OCD, eating disorders, et cetera. My father is bipolar, as is my brother; my mother has severe depression. A great-grandfather of mine underwent electroshock therapy at one point.

Two of the biggest reasons I do not want to ever have children is because 1] I would hate for them to have to endure a mentally unstable parent, and 2] I would hate to pass on this curse to them too.

 

Do you think the effects of mental illness on society are being addressed? Why or why not?

I believe that many people are doing the best they can to spread knowledge and compassion for mental illnesses.  However, it’s difficult to do so because we still know so little about it.  I honestly don’t think that they will ever be given the respect they deserve nor will the the stigmas against them ever dissipate until the general populace has a better understanding of them.  And currently, even specialists do not have a fully competent understanding of them.  It’s only natural for “normal” people to fear what they do not know.

 

Is there enough social and medical support for people with mental illness? If not, what would you change?

My friends and those I keep close are very supportive of me and my afflictions. But that is because I take care not to associate with those who do not understand. I think that documentaries, movies, and shows that *accurately* depict mental illnesses would be excellent in further informing the public about the truth.

Medically, it is very difficult to get assistance. Medications are expensive; the procedures of finding and meeting with a are doctor emotionally taxing in and of themselves; and even then, often times an employer is not compassionate toward a sick person trying to make themselves better.

 

How do you feel when discussing or reading about mental illness?

As a mentally ill person, I think too many of our kind look for pity and make excuses.  We should be raising awareness, not asking for loopholes.  I worry that some of the more recent, dirty approaches to spreading knowledge are actually misrepresenting many of us.

The mentally ill should know more about their own diseases than the general public.  And I find many of us do not educate ourselves.

 

Do you associate mental illness with violence? Why or why not?

Not at all.  I mean, just as with anything else, violence may be present in a situation wherein mental illness is also present.  But just because some cases of rape involve a car doesn’t mean all do; nor do all cars automatically suggest a rape is going to occur.  Correlation does not imply causation.

 

How would you respond if a group home for people with mental illness attained a building permit in your neighborhood?

I think this is a wonderful idea.  It would encourage community, compassion, and accountability.  It would allow those more at risk to be better monitored and supported.

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5 thoughts on “take a quick survey please! :D

  1. My responses are below. I filled it out before reading your responses so I could avoid influencing my responses.

    How would you describe your knowledge about mental illness?

    I am somewhat knowledgeable about mental illness.

    (I would rather say I am very knowledgeable about MY mental illness, and less knowledgeable about all mental illness.

    Has mental illness affected you personally? If so, how?

    I have dealt with depression and bipolar all my life, and have been extremely suicidal. I once spent a week in a mental institute because I was a danger to myself.

    Do you think the effects of mental illness on society are being addressed? Why or why not?

    I think the valuable resources of a great many brilliant people are being squandered because we A) stigmatize people with mental illness so they never seek treatment or are ashamed of the treatment they need, B) treat every difference as illness when sometimes it offers the potential for great reward if it can be understood, C) do not treat people with the individual attention required to help them be themselves, instead of just “not a burden”.

    Is there enough social and medical support for people with mental illness? If not, what would you change?

    No, there is not enough social support for people with mental illness. Mental illness needs to be as destigmatized as the common cold. People with mental illness need to be able to discuss their problems openly with anyone without fear of reprisal out of fear or distrust.

    How do you feel when discussing or reading about mental illness?

    I usually feel frustrated at the prejudice shown to mental illness, or helpless to aid people who need it.

    Do you associate mental illness with violence? Why or why not?

    I associate untreated or mistreated mental illness with violence. Beyond that, I believe violence is specific to the illness and I don’t associate mental illness, the category of problems, with violence, the symptom of some elements in that category, any more than I associate illness with bloody noses. Some sick people get bloody noses from their illness. Some mentally ill people are violent due to their illness. It is a possible symptom, not a characteristic of all mentally ill people.

    How would you respond if a group home for people with mental illness attained a building permit in your neighborhood?

    I would seriously consider volunteering at the group home.

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    • thanks for participating. Marya’s writings have a done a lot to help me, personally, survive and sometimes even nigh thrive with my various illnesses, as she and I share many. so the idea that she’s working on putting out a piece that can help the negative stigmas is wonderful.

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  2. I got a follow up survey request:

    Q: Do you consider mental illness a chronic physical disease? Please explain your response.

    A: I have developed a fairly complex personal model of mental illness. I believe mental illness can be primarily mental, primarily physical, or primarily spiritual. It seems to me that treating the illness in the wrong sphere can help, but cannot effectively treat a mental health problem long term. A problem in one sphere affects the other spheres, but the most improvement long term comes from properly identifying the source of the illness and treating it appropriately.

    Q: Do you think the lives of people with mental illness can be substantially improved with sufficient resources over time? If so, what would that improvement require? If not, why not?

    A: Yes, the lives of at least some people with mental illness can be substantially improved over time. I do not have sufficient knowledge or understanding to say if all mental illnesses can be substantially improved over time. I have personally experienced great improvement in my life, specifically with regards to ongoing depression.

    Q: Do you think the current boom of research into the brain will result in better treatments for psychiatric disorders? Why or why not?

    A: I think the boom in brain research has the potential to further the understanding of mental illness. It gives us more insight into the potential physical causes of mental illness and the ways those can be treated. I am concerned that the medical community does not seem to acknowledge that mental illness is not exclusively a physical illness, and that over-reliance on physical treatments means that some people are left getting the wrong treatment that isn’t effective.

    Q: Have you heard of the recovery movement? If so, what do you know about it?

    A: I am not aware of the recovery movement. I’ll have to research it now.

    Q: Do you think there is a need for more public attention to mental illness? If not, why not? If so, what do you think still needs to be addressed?

    A: I absolutely believe that mental health and illness needs to become a subject of common knowledge. It needs to be destigmatized, recognized, and less feared. Friends should be as capable of recognizing signs of depression, psychotic breaks, etc, as they should be capable of recognizing heart attack and stroke. We should spend as much time in school learning about mental health as we spend learning about physical health. Mental health education should be as common as physical education.

    Like

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