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.