Mental Health Awareness Month | 14 Pop-Up Thoughts from One of Us (that would be me)

Mental Health Awareness Month | 14 Pop-Up Thoughts from One of Us (that would be me) post image

The list is long and familiar – anorexia, depression, panic attacks, schizophrenia, borderline personality “disorder,” stress, compulsive behavior issues, bipolar “disorder,” OC”D,” autism – and a whole lot more. May is about all of us. And that got me to thinkin’…

Well, I’m not much of a follower. Actually, if I’m asked to do so I’ll likely find another way – just ‘coz. And tradition? God help us all! Not much for that either.

Still, by whoever’s declaration, May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, rather than help you find activities in your area or organize a poster contest, I decided to present some pop-up thoughts – straight-off-the-top – pertaining to this emotional/mental health biz. Ah, what my mind manages to come up with!?

Those 14 Pop-Ups…

  • Isn’t it time to dump terms such as “mental health,” “mental illness,” “… disorder,” and probably a whole lot more? They’re outdated and only perpetuate stigma. Hey, how ’bout something like “neurological illness?” I mean – what – cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease are legitimate neurological illnesses and schizophrenia isn’t? Oh, by the way, dopamine is at the foundation of both Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.
  • Why don’t symptoms generated in the brain get the same attention as symptoms generated – say – in the heart?
  • Are we so hung-up on odd thought/behavior and poor hygiene that untreated schizophrenics don’t deserve respect and help?
  • Why are so many psychiatrists seemingly insensitive and inconsiderate?
  • Why are so many therapists afraid to put the manual aside and meet a client where s/he is – and go with it?
  • Why don’t so many psychiatrists and primary care physicians fully explain the pluses and minuses of the meds they prescribe, including potential cessation issues?
  • How can Big Pharma run atypical antipsychotic (Abilify, Seroquel, etc.) TV ads that make using them come off like popping Flintstones Gummies?
  • When it comes to publicity, research, and funding – how come our stuff takes a back seat to cancer, HIV/AIDS, and the “legitimate” neurological illness Alzheimer’s?
  • Can you imagine how hard it would be to avoid “outing” your emotional/mental circumstances for fear of stigma and negative reaction?
  • Would anyone even think about telling someone with acute chest pain to pull up their bootstraps and get over it?
  • When will physicians and consumers wake-up regarding the negative impact of long-term benzodiazepine (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, etc.) use?
  • When will psychiatrists, parents, and education/entitlement administrators realize giving antipsychotic, antidepressant, and anticonvulsant meds to children is taking the easy way out – and just wrong?
  • Why do health insurance companies think they know what’s best for everyone?
  • Okay, National Mental Health Awareness Month. So we’ve been aware of these situations for centuries. How ’bout we quickly transition to National Mental Health Action Month?

What think you? Well, here’s an invitation. Scroll on down to the comments section and let me know if you think I’m off my rocker. And don’t forget to share pop-up thoughts of your own. We’re in this together, right?

Again, we all know the list – anorexia, dysthymia, PTS”D,” schizoaffective “disorder,” borderline personality “disorder,” conversion “disorder,” Asperger’s – and a whole lot more. These NEUROLOGICAL ILLNESSES aren’t breaking news. But, go figure, we’re still hairline deep in stigma, lack of respect, and sub-standard treatment.

National Mental Health Awareness Month? Let’s flip to action!!!

Like the featured image? Kudos to West Tucson Mental Health, Inc.

Yo! Looking for buckets of mood and anxiety awareness (and action)? 600 Chipur titles oughta’ do the trick.

  • Dr. Herby Bell May 7, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Not only are you not off your rocker, You are a superstar, perception changing Rocker. I heard a guy say the other day, “Hey, what do we expect when talking about whether “fat” is good for us or not? I doesn’t have a chance with how it’s been subjugated, so how ’bout callin’ it “lipids?” BAM.

    Holy Court Jester, talk about some game/mind/culture changing inquiry and language that NEEDS to happen. I truly appreciate you rocking tradition and convention to well, god dammit, maybe save some lives?!

    Here’s to The 14 Pop Ups, your excellent thinker/feeler/beinger and to climbing out of this boiling caldron of insane, conventional wisdom.

    Rock On, Bill White.

    • Chipur May 7, 2014, 3:17 pm

      Hey, thanks for your visit and comment, Dr. HB. Always swell having you here.

      Yeah, go figure – how ’bout we save some lives?! And what I’m trying to accomplish here is akin to what’s going on in your neck of the woods – transitioning from “addiction” to “compulsive behavior issues.” It’s modern, clean , with no stigma attached.

      We think alike, Herby – scary, but true. Let’s cut through the crap and impact lives!


  • Kyczy May 7, 2014, 2:42 pm

    WoW 14 thought points! My brain is rolling around the first two- each one a nugget to be savored, contemplated and then remarked upon. And yes- neuro- disease is more accurate and requires a little more education of the public to get that. MENTAL was hard to understand when often it was thought of as bedevilment or lack of self control. Language takes some time to adapt to knew discoveries and understanding. There is a range, I am sure, and that offer a minefield of nuance in languaging as well.
    It is going to be slow going I am afraid to HAVE the disease of the brain treated with as much compassion and love as disease of the other organs. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start NOW in trying- just as you do- continuing to get the word(s) out. Thank you

    • Chipur May 7, 2014, 3:39 pm

      Welcome back, Kyczy – appreciate your well-considered and enthusiastic comment.

      Yeah, education – at the top of the list. Damn, all the time I spent trying to convince docs and nurses the biz at hand was about a legit medical situation when I was doing E.R. psych. It was all too often mean and cold.

      I’m with you – let’s start trying NOW to change minds and impact lives. So many need and deserve it…


  • Cathy | Treatment Talk May 8, 2014, 7:47 pm

    It’s a great idea, Bill. We so need action in the mental health area. So many are affected and it serves all of us to do the right thing and give those with mental health issues the help that they need in a kind, evidence based way. The stigma, lack of respect, and sub-standard treatment is not acceptable and should not be tolerated. Good for you for being one more voice that takes a stand!!

    • Chipur May 8, 2014, 8:18 pm

      Thanks, Cathy – glad you stopped-by once again and commented. Boy, the same applies in your field – hopefully soon to be called compulsive behavior, not addiction. We really need to turn the corner here and as Dr. Herby says, “…save some lives.”

      I attended a court hearing this morning pertaining to a petition for involuntary hospitalization and Kevin’s Law for a terribly ill young man. While the proceedings were taking place, his mother – who later appealed to the judge to mandate help for her son – leaned over to me and whispered, “The mental health system is so broken.” Fortunately, the judge granted both petitions. I truly believe the kid now stands a chance at enjoying some comfort in his own skin.

      At any rate, thanks again for participating, Cathy…


  • Patricia Miller May 10, 2014, 10:09 pm

    I am WAY on board with your pop ups and it has been so “interesting” to have conversations with people about my “disorders” when they say, “But how can you have such a traumatic childhood history? You have always been so happy?” Yeah, well there are a lot of factors that go into that sort of compartmentalization/numbing and my fear of the mental health stigma, and my fear of the perceived shame associated with labeling had a great deal to do with that reticence to seek any competent help, much less tell others about any of it.

    I can certainly add to your observation that psychiatrists and medical professionals may not be as savvy as would be hoped for in this realm. I sought a medication evaluation from a psychiatrist and in the course of a two hour intake and evaluation, kudos for thoroughness, she told me, “Oh, my God! You have the most horrific trauma history I’ve ever heard and I’ve been doing this for almost thirty years. How do you even function, much less hold down a job?” I did finish the intake. I did make it out to my car. I did make it to the next parking lot and manage to text my therapist while I sat there and cried waiting for a call back. I already knew I was defective; I didn’t need the stamp of approval from the professional to reinforce it.

    So I add my pop up to yours, Bill. Number 15 is to Stand Up when you can and Speak Up when you can. Maybe it won’t be every time the opportunity presents, but I suspect it will become more and more often as time goes by. I know it has for me.

    • Chipur May 11, 2014, 1:35 pm

      Here, here, Patricia. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. People are amazing, aren’t they? Even those to whom we turn for professional help! Okay, so I don’t think it’s a matter of intention – but come on, use your head. Right? Your #15 is excellent – Stand Up and Speak Up when you can. Heck, if we don’t, who will?

      Always thankful for your visits and comments…


  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe May 11, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Oh Bill – this is marvelous!! As someone who was bulimic for 11 years and anorexic for a year and who struggled with secondhand drinking for 40 years – this post strikes deeply. I love, love, love your list and your suggestion to move away for mental illness labels to “neurological illness”. I laughed out loud at this one: ”
    Would anyone even think about telling someone with acute chest pain to pull up their bootstraps and get over it?”
    And this one is a mantra of mine, as well:
    “Why don’t symptoms generated in the brain get the same attention as symptoms generated – say – in the heart?”
    This is all so right on!! I’ll be sharing far and wide – thank you, Bill!!

    • Chipur May 11, 2014, 1:42 pm

      Well, Hi there, Lisa! Nice to have you back, and thanks for your comment.

      Glad you agree “neurological illness” is a good fit. I mean, why not? Unless, of course, we can be convinced that schizophrenia is less a neurological illness than, say, Parkinson’s. Hey, I’m all for providing a chuckle or two. But can you imagine someone saying that to one who’s experiencing nasty chest pain? Really? It is rather funny, were it not so sad.

      Be sure to keep coming back, Lisa. Your contributions are appreciated…