I am 32 years old.
I have two children, and I'm in my second marriage.
I have been in a psychiatric hospital, 1999, because I was 3 weeks pregnant and had just joined the military. When they told me I did prefer to kill myself then go home a complete and utter failure, but I had no plan, just feelings of despair. So instead of dealing with a headcase (hehe) they sent me to a psychiatric hospital to sit until my separation paperwork was completed. While there a psychiatrist, who looked utterly bored, saw me for 15 minutes and decided that I was borderline personality disorder. I was depressed, sure, but borderline? nah.
So why am I saying this? Because I have a history of depression, I get down sometimes and always pull myself back up. I used to be a self-harmer, but am not anymore after a great deal of soul searching and some therapy. But now I'm in my last year and a half of a master's program to be licensed as a mental health therapist (in most states its called a professional counselor) and I feel as if that taboo to not talk about your mental illness is alive and even stronger if you're going to be a therapist or psychologist.
You would think that would be a strength, right? I've acknowledged that I've battled with depression and when things get too overwhelming in my personal life I can just cry for an entire weekend. But then on Monday, or whenever a friend needs me, I can move it to the side and help them. That last sentence is the one that scares people.
Watching a couples weightloss television show this past weekend, both the men were reluctant to attend couples counseling and thought that therapy was for crazy people. Crazy people..
What does that word mean? Someone unpredictable? Unreliable?
It can be a good thing, when someone is crazy enough to do something daring. It can even be a compliment, like "that was a crazy show!". But in every day life, crazy seems to make a lot of people frightened. But is someone who has been depressed in the past crazy? I just didn't want to be unhappy anymore and feel like I couldn't understand or control it. Now I have that sense of control and understanding, even compassion for my depression episodes. I know where they come from and why they appear. I know what function they serve. I'm not afraid of my dark side.
But in class in my graduate program, it is still taboo to talk about any mental health problems you've ever had. Patch Adams was a very depressed man, but he found himself through those experiences and became someone so much bigger and more expansive, loveable! I feel that way. I feel that because I've felt suicidal, because I had a traumatic childhood, because I've been through an abortion I shall regret for the rest of my life and mourn with so much guilt, because I've actually stayed at a psychiatric hospital, I can understand and sympathize what that feels like in others.
I had already decided to walk on my graduation next May. Perhaps I should do it in the nude :D.
Nah, that would be really crazy! (tongue in cheek).