Shame & Mental Illness

The police officer told me mental health no longer held a stigma as it once did.

I told him he was mistaken.

Challenged I told him that where they were taking the man in question, to the local ER, they would encounter someone who had no tolerance for mental health cases.

He cut me off.

But I knew the person quite well and sure enough the man was medicated after being told, if he just took the pills then he could go home.

It’s not right, but what patient under the Mental Health Act is in a position to argue when they have two paramedics and two armed officers standing over them and called into their GP check up by their inexperienced GP? There are too many horror stories in the news to take a chance and speak up.

I think that is partially why I didn’t let on after I had my only child a couple of decades ago that I suspected postnatal depression. I had a history of anxiety/panic disorder and major depression. Admitting to it made me fear that with my history I could end up losing my child.

It’s very liberating to be able to write about it in memoir form now that she’s an adult and we can even talk about times when things weren’t so great.

Writing can help in the processing of old wounds but it can also shine a light on some that have been hiding for year, perhaps even decades. I’ve found a couple of those. In a cathartic way I will work through the old and new, the seen and hidden, and at the end there will be a manuscript, albeit a tear stained one.


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