Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Mental Health Month

It is already the first day of May, and the start of Mental Health Month.

I have been aware of Mental Health Month since I began services. Our center will be having booths this month at the town's annual Farmers Market (it starts tomorrow and runs through September). 

I now want to find some books to read for this month on the topic. I may just re-read Prozac Nation, or dive into Darkness Visible, William Styron's mental-illness memoir.  Strangely, only one of my reading challenges with monthly themes has mental illness as the theme for May. This one chose Mental Illness as the theme for August. But I think it's good to be aware all year long, especially when you are going through mental issues yourself. I've been brave enough to write about it in a book.  I was angry when the Mental Illness reading challenge I had been participating in for the last two or three years was deleted. Perhaps I can start a new one for 2019. Something to think about.

Also, many people I have encountered still aren't aware of Dysthymia, or Persistent  Depressive Disorder.  It seems I have not yet encountered others with this same diagnosis. Bipolar Disorder and  Schizophrenia seem to be more common among the others I have met at the mental health center I attend at work at. Before I learned my diagnosis, I was suspicious, from what I'd known about Bipolar Disorder, that I might have that one, or possibly its milder variant known as Cyclothymia, another condition no one I have encountered seems to have. 

Here are some facts about Dysthymia (from epainassist.com):

  • Dysthymic Disorder is a medical condition affecting the mood of a person where the person may be normal one day and may feel extremely low in mood the next.
  • It is a form of mild depression which stays for a prolonged period of time.
  • The symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder are less severe than the symptoms of a major Depressive Disorder.
  • Dysthymic Disorder usually begins in the teenage years and can last for a prolonged period of time going on for at times even decades.
  • Dysthymic Disorder is more seen in women than in men
  • Dysthymic Disorder was also in the past known by the name of depressive neurosis, neurotic depression, and depressive personality disorder.

I can honestly say I have felt more than one of those things. One thing I said at the beginning of my memoir was:

It took me a long time to realize that I was depressed--not just “down in the dumps on any given day,” but in need of an antidepressant. ...
Definitely a prolonged period of time for me.

I'm glad to have the support of the mental health center and to be one to help end the stigma toward mental  health issues.


Elephant's Child said...

Every day should be Mental Health Day. And thank you for all you do to reduce the stigma. I hope that work doesn't come at too great a cost to your own health.

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for sharing this information with us, Jamie. I wasn't familiar with Dysthymia.

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mental health month

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