broken leg of the mind

Mental Health 101. The subject of class today. What does manic mean, what does delusion mean. Depressive states. Mood disorders. Suicidal ideation, etc.

As someone fairly well-acquainted with general all-purpose craziness, the class was at once boring and discouraging.

Boring because I remember without much interest the Adventures in Non-Compliancy encountered at the shelter where I used to work, and my own upbringing with the manic highs and depressive gutter-balling of my crazy parents. Plus my own immersions in navy blue, trying to derive some benefit from licking the shitty psychiatric end of the healthcare stick.

Discouraging because although we are future front-line professionals, the responses of classmates kept creeping into the yeah but aren’t THEY basically dangerous? line.

We are tolerant of physical infirmity but leery about mental stuff. You’d give a ride home from the hospital to someone who’s just getting out of carpal tunnel surgery, but not someone who’d just been discharged from psych. Because yeah, but. Because well, you never know. 

The stats say 1 in 6 be crazy but people still act like it’s a rare thing. Or rather, it’s as if what we “know” about mental illness, what we know about the people we love who have a mental illness, is still nudged aside by the lumbering cliches of essential unreliability, of hidden violence just waiting to blow.

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