Mental health stigma

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Asguard, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    There was recently a discussion which touched on mental health stigma, i was asked to hold off posting this for 2 weeks and to post it in a new thread to alow everything to cool down so here it is.

    However i cant help but bring up some of that discussion in order to show the very stigma this thread is about.

    Firstly an observation, all chronic diseases are compared to either cancer or CVD in health litirture in terms of there morbidity, mortality and quality of life.

    On this specifically why is she so offended? Acording to the ABS the leading causes of death in 2009 were:
    1 Ischaemic heart diseases
    2 Strokes
    3 Dementia and Alzheimer disease
    4 Trachea and lung cancer
    5 Chronic lower respiratory diseases
    6 Diabetes
    7 Colon and rectum cancer
    8 Blood and lymph cancer
    9 Diseases of the kidney and urinary system
    10 Heart failure
    11 Prostate cancer
    12 Breast cancer
    13Pancreatic cancer

    Ie Suicide ranks only 2 behind breast cancer in all deaths

    However these results are inacuate (by there own admission 80-83. They dont even record deaths as suicde for under 15s because its so sensitive for coroners and familes and the statistics are likly to be higher in other groups

    Compare this meadian age to that for cancer

    The link between CVD and Mental illness is also strong

    I leave it to you to read about the 3 fold increase in mortality for people with depression following CVD and the other links explored in the artical

    The following artical containes some interesting
    statistics on Depression

    A 15% mortality rate by suicide alone ignoring the CVD

    This is higher up the list than in Australia and its not suprising concidering the avilability of guns

    (Just to show my above point)

    The third leading cause of death, acidents, homicide and then suicide.

    As far as disease burden is concerned

    So we have delt with the Mortality rates which show clearly that far from being "a bit down" or even equivilant to a broken arm or relitivily minor injury depression and other mental illness are serious, potentually FATAL conditions which are well justified being treated as seriously as cancer. It has a much lower median age for fatilities than does cancer.

    In the case of quality of life

    This artical even found that the quality of life of children was effected by there mothers depression.

    But what really is depression? Is it feeling a bit sad? is it feeling down after being diognosed with an illness?

    There are depressed people who are so depressed they are catatonic, others who have alzimhers symptoms but rather than being dementia related its caused by the depression. Scizophrenia may well be the most "impressive" mental illness and im sure her parents arnt exagurating in saying they are trying to fight to be herd over the voices but because depression isnt as impressive doesnt make it any less debilitating. Try fighting that voice in your head the whole time saying "you a worthless, why do you bother doing anything you are just going to fail, its a waste of time, you just hurt everyone you care about, they would be better off if you were dead, the whole world would be better without you, at least then x could find someone who makes her happy, you will make a crap father, why dont you just step in front of a car, it will look like an acident, everyone will be better off, why dont you do it, stab yourself with that knife and everyone will be betetr off ect ect" in your head day in day out for 10 years. Constantly you are swiming against this trying to make YOURSELF herd. Some days i have sat for hours with a knife held between my ribs wondering how much it would hurt, or on my wrists, wondering if i had the corage to do it, the "voice" (i put that in quote marks to distinguish it from a halucination) abusing me for not even having the guts to do that properly.

    So now we move onto stigma

    So how did that other thread answer chimpkin question?

    Well quite easerly, bells's out rage because i said i would rather have cancer than depression which i have lived with for at least 10 years now, going in and out of remission but never gone for good shows exactly the attitude this:

    refers to.

    At this point i want to move over to a remark bells made which is getting under my skin, i never said that "if i wanted to do it properly i would use differnt pills". I DID want to die, i tried my best TO die, i even scraped up the pills i vomited back up and swollowed them again SO i would die. I didnt know what i was doing so i picked the wrong pills, i used what were a quite mild seditive when the SSRIs themselves would have worked well. I told this to show how hard it really is to kill yourself.

    As far as jumping in front of a train, fear of pain is one of the most common reasons for suicidle pts "chosing" the paticular methods they do. I tried to cut my wrists but it hurt to much. If i had a gun i would have used that but i didnt have access. Jumping in front of a train (in my mind) would cause me alot of pain and also traumitise the train driver.

    And yet you mock me for that, you remind me of bob katter mocking gay marriage.

    Anyway enough of that, back onto the stigma

    That artical is correct, i made the mestake when i was first diognosed of being honest with my boss as to why i needed time off. He fired me not long after that because I "might go mental in the kitchen". The disease itself makes me feel paranoid and self concious and when its actually reflected back its even worse. I avioded seeing my shrink for 6 months because i was afraid of what she would think if i told her i had relapsed. My family and friends? forget it. If your lucky you might get sympathy\empathy for the imidiate inital illness, but after that the comments become "why arnt you better?" "Pull yourself together" ect.

    There is one other thing which i havent touched on with regard to stigma yet and thats the attitude displayed by PsychoTropicPuppy's posts, ie compleate denial. Scientology is the most extreem example of this sadly.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    In other words, you are offended that I told you your depression is not comparable to a child born with schizophrenia and suffering from severe psychosis as a result of her disease?

    Which you have taken completely out of context.. Why didn't you post my whole response to Chimpkin's question Asguard?

    I don't think anyone actually knows..

    Some of Jani Schofield's friends don't like her little brother, Bodhi.

    Sometimes they tell her to hurt Bodhi. And sometimes - even when she doesn't want to - she listens.

    If she doesn't, Four Hundred the cat might scratch her, or Wednesday the rat might bite her.

    One day, without warning, 7-year-old Jani started to gnaw on the toddler as if to eat him. Tears streaming from her eyes, she repeated, "I'm going to eat you, Bodhi. Bye, bye, Bodhi. I love you."

    Her parents then say that they have to acknowledge her hallucinations, and at times compete with them.

    To help her parents and her, pschology students spend time with her, keeping her occupied at all times and also studying her. But most importantly, it allows her to remain under constant supervision and keeps her mentally stimulated at all times to keep her happy.

    Have a look through the web and you see there is a mountain of anger towards this child and her parents.. Some who think she's full of it, others who think the parents are and are exploiting her, some who deem her to be sick because she has been abused, it goes on and on..

    There is little help for her because of the nature of her disease.

    Do you know what bothers me about you Asguard? Your inherent dishonesty and your need to complain and compare. You suffer from depression. Okay. That does not mean you can demand people to take you seriously when you try to claim that you and a child born with schizophrenia and constantly psychotic are somewhat the same.

    I never once said that depression is something that should be ignored or taken lightly. What I did tell you was that your depression cannot be compared to a girl who was born with schizophrenia. They are not comparable. You also made the claim that you would rather have cancer than suffer from depression because then people would take you more seriously.. I find statements such as that to be selfish, idiotic and frankly, ridiculous. I have been battling the disease for the last year and yes, it brought on severe depression. It also caused depression in my husband and abject fear for my children. For you to selfishly claim that you would rather 'get cancer' than depression so people would be nicer to you.. yes, it made me angry.

    Again, taken completely out of context and you appear to have me mixed up with another poster.

    You suffer from depression. You are fully aware of your illness and I would expect that you are seeking professional help for said illness. In other words, there is help there for you. For the child being discussed in the other thread, there is no help out there for her. Her parents and caregivers are simply trying to keep her alive (ie not kill herself because the animal voices in her head told her to). But prior to developing depression, you had the chance to develop your personality and understand the complexities of life before a lot of it was weighed down by the depression. This girl never had that chance. Now, you attempted to claim that you and this child are somewhat akin, because you both suffer form a mental illness. My comment to you was that your disease cannot compare to hers. It does not make your illness less serious. It just means that you cannot compare to a child born with schizophrenia.

    You suffer from depression. So do millions of other people, myself included. Don't whine because I told you the illness is not akin to a child born with schizophrenia who tries to kill herself and those around her because the psychotic voices in her head tells her to.
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    It should be noted that people tend to have this kind of attitude toward all problems that other people have.

    For example, if someone has financial or academic problems - sooner or later, some people will say "Pull yourself together" or "Get over it" and such.

    There are many people who also expect cancer patients to get better and who hold it against them if they don't.
    Even amputees and paraplegics are often expected to "Pull yourself together" or "Get over it" and such.

    I, and probably many others, agree with your former boss. A depressed person is a liability. Just like someone with diabetes or epilepsy or numerous other diseases.

    Recognizing that a sick person is a liability is not a stigma. It's merely a recognition of a fact - namely the fact that a sick person is a liability.

    How much of a liability depends on many factors.
    For example, a nurse with HIV that works in a busy ER is a serious liability. If that same person were to work in a laboratory, they would be much less of a liability.

    If anything, it is some of the people who have a "mental illness" who are making it a stigma.
    They do so by expecting others to go an extra mile for them - while not offering anything in return.
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  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Yes, I know I'm a liability, or at least will be viewed as such...

    That's why no matter how suicidal I get I do not go to the hospital, I do not talk about it, I do not take time off of work. Because if I lose my job I may not get another one and I get ten times worse. This pretty much guarantees that no matter how much of a threat I am to myself I personally will stay out of the hospital.

    And if I end up offing myself because I did not go I no longer care anymore. It's not like I'm going to do anything with my life anyway, I'm just killing time here until I die of natural causes.
  8. Enmos Registered Senior Member

    That is because people with big problems that wallow in self-pity tend to try and make them yours. They don't care about you or anyone else, they only care about themselves. After a while you find that they are sucking the life out of you.
    Of course you try to talk to them and help whatever way you can but often times they prove incapable of accepting help and just continue sucking the life out of you.
    At some point you have to protect yourself.

    Hey, we all are

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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  9. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    I've said it before and I'll say it again... I personally do not give a damn about your personal cases. They may be genuine, they may not. At the very least, they're all going to be genuine for you.

    What you need to understand, though, is that in spite of your little woe-is-me chapters, you don't prove a damn thing about trends and averages... and least of all, root cause. This is not (or should not be) a thread about the Most Depressed Member of Sciforums, as if there is a prize for being the worst afflicted. Neither was the initial thread, incidentally, until someone or someones tried to make it about themselves.
    You want to do that, start a little poll and put it to the vote. Start a user group and call it the Wailing Wall or something.Then you can all join up, moan about life to each other all you like, and you won't bother anyone.

    So. Let's get to Asguard.

    Firstly, you're still trying to compare depression (specifically, yours) to someone suffering from cancer. It's disgusting. Seriously.
    I'm quite annoyed you left me out of it, you know. Any particular reason, lad?
    This, you little mollusc, is quite possibly the most ridiculous piece of self indulgent tripe I have read here for some time. And believe me, that's saying quite a lot.
    30% (rough figure) of cancer sufferers don't even make it past five years, let alone ten. And that in many cases is because they'll cut bits of you out, or off. I suppose there isn't too much point into going too far into what the loss of some pertinent parts of the anatomy might do to someone's mental health. I doubt you're capable of thinking that far ahead.

    Frankly, I'm with your boss. You quoted his stated reason for sacking you. Maybe he even said that. But you'll find that, in the main, most employers are fairly understanding and reasonable people, and try to help out when you have a problem. If you have value to them, they'll try to keep you and will make allowances when things go bad.
    That he dismissed you so easily might point to something else; that he just didn't like you very much, or you didn't have much value and he leaped on the excuse. Honestly, from what I've seen of you here.... he might be a complete arsehole as you say, but I'm with him on this one.
    Besides which, no employer should be forced to retain a liability. That, though, is a whole different topic of discussion.

    Secondly. You've made a huge effort here to gather the numbers, the statistics and the evidence to point out that depression is becoming an epidemic. Furthermore, you've made the point of your thread ostensibly about suicide, linked to depression. You've linked several articles in support of your position that depression is a seriously misunderstood disease in terms of effect. All well and good... other than the fact you don't seem to have been able to avoid having a whine while you were at it.

    Except neither Bells nor myself actually said that it wasn't a problem, nor that it wasn't widespread.

    In fact, you've rather carefully avoided the statistics I mentioned which state that suicide, particularly when linked to depression, is far less common in migrants to Australia (or any first world nation) who come from less privileged backgrounds. In fact, migrants (and many other cultures in general) are less likely to commit suicide altogether, even taking into account those who go boom in the name of Allah.

    This would be evidence of something you'd rather not think about; namely, that depression and suicide might be linked to a cultural influence. You've gone to great lengths to point out the facts and the figures; and there are few who would dispute those on pure basis of numbers. The dispute, and this is linked to your premise of stigma, is the cause and the real incidence of depression (and by extension, suicide).

    As I alluded to in another post somewhere - is this a white boy thing? Do Caucasians happen to carry around certain genes making them more susceptible? Because if you're trying to tell us it's an actual disease, as opposed to a mental condition, then the future of the Caucasian seems to be on somewhat shaky ground.

    If it is a mental condition, then there is one major factor in play.

    I'm in two minds as to how far I want to go into that. It's rather... large. And frankly, I doubt you and most others here would even begin to understand the influences at play. I'm certainly not Tiassa, and this post is wearing me out already.
    Suffice to say, there are a large percentage of those suffering from "depression" who actually talk themselves into it and are their own worst enemy. The medical profession isn't helping with that.

    Now if you really don't like what people are telling you, then feel free to go stick your head in the sand. You seem to be somewhat a master at it. Put me on ignore or something like some others threaten to.

    It's always easier to ignore a harsh truth than to confront it.
    Maybe a stigma isn't completely to blame for what you've experienced at the hands of others.
    Maybe it's you.
  10. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member


    As far as who is the most depressed member of sciforums...
    I guess we could all find out. :shrug:

    Anybody with a mental health issue that isn't sick enough to get disability gets to struggle with one more thing that nobody else does...and sometime that one other thing takes all you have to deal with and still function.
    I guess it's frustrating to also be looked down on as fakes, whiners, drains, liabilities, weak straws...indeed, not fit to live by some people...when doing one's best to bear up under something exquisitely painful.

    Now I'm not Asguard and I relate to this differently...I have no idea if cancer is harder. I rather suspect it is. When I get there I'll tell you.

    I can tell you I'd rather have a simple fracture than be as depressed as I am right now...because I have had a simple fracture.

    a compound fracture is about the same as major depression...well, maybe a little easier...again, I have had the experience, I can compare.
    Car wreck versus major depression? if we're talking a duration of more than 6 months, the depression is going to screw my life worse...say that from either wrecking or getting nailed in six cars.
    Bad back? I have that, way easier to deal with.
    It's why self-injury's turned into a coping skill for me, physical pain is experienced as less, and gets rid of the emotional fact, I imagine I get an endorphin it allows me to feel better.

    I did not and will not have kids because, among other reasons, Major Depression is very transmissible. Kids would have given me a better reason to live. Just as well, I suppose.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Actually, if we are to look at America..

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    Which is supported at other sites as well.. (scroll down to 2005) So what is causing it? What is driving such a large portion of the male population to suicide?

    As for who is the most depressed member.. I don't think it should be a competition, do you? This need to be the sickest.. I don't understand that. And I don't want to understand it. I can only hope Asguard takes his issues to his psychiatrist.
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Depression can co-occur with many other problems:
    Related to depression and anxiety, two are interesting, from the social perspective:

    Dependent personality disorder

    Avoidant personality disorder

    Surely some depressed people can recognize their symptoms in these two disorders.
  13. Bells Staff Member

    No one is denying any of this. Absolutely no one.

    The point is, you cannot really compare.

    I will use myself as an example. I was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, chemo, radiation therapy.. and I crashed. Mentally and physically. And it was a daily struggle to not give up. Then came more cancer and more treatment and more surgery, more physical pain and more time to lie down and think about what could have been, going further and further down mentally and physically.. meanwhile my husband couldn't cope and withdrew entirely, which caused me to go further downhill mentally. Meanwhile, I live with the knowledge that I could very well be dead in 2 years time, not by my own hand, but by cancer.... there is no choice here.. It could come back. This lurking causes me to delve further into a mental hell.. The doubts.. the fear for my children, the guilt over having had children and possibly leaving them without a mother as they grow up even though when I became pregnant, I did not have cancer.. It is a personal disease that cannot be described, not mentally anyway.

    And I look at Asguard saying 'I'd rather have cancer' and yes, it upsets me. Cancer isn't trivial. It is not something that one should wish for or desire, especially for selfish reasons. One does not tell a cancer patient 'oh you're so lucky you got cancer, I got depression, so much rather have cancer'.. That kind of desire for any disease does my head in. It angers me. And his reasoning is so that people would be kinder to him. I mean what? Fucking seriously?

    And having suffered both and still suffering, I can't compare. I would never say I'd rather have one over the other. And I would never say 'well I'm sicker than you are'.. etc.. I am not comparing myself to Asguard, nor would I compare my illness to his. There is no comparison to make. One is not more valid than the other. I didn't read the article about January and think 'oh I'm so lucky I only had cancer'. All I could think was 'that poor child and her parents'.. There is no comparison.

    I find Asguard's attitude to be selfish and ghoulish.. this need to be recognised as being sickest. Fine.. he wants to be the sickest.. fine, he can be. Feel proud Asguard, you are the sickest one out of all of us.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Or psychologist. A psychiatrist may not be the right address in this case.

    If Asguard also has DPD, then a different course of therapy may be required than the one he has had so far.
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I agree, and I also think that this phenomenon is quite complex.

    People with big problems may have unhelpful ideas about what it would take for them to get better.

    Some of them think that other people approving of them or being kind to them is key to themselves getting better.

    We all depend on and need the approval and kindness of others to some extent.
    But some people make a point of asking for approval and kindness and expecting them. This is when it gets slippery.
  16. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    I wouldn't go as far as preferring cancer over mental illness, but if I had to pick a physical illness that people understood vs a mental illness that meant people blamed you and cut you no slack, I'd probably go with the physical one.
  17. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    Whether one has a physical or a mental disability, society cannot help but measure such as a liability to the whole in terms of cost to treat and maintain and the loss of human resources directly and indirectly.

    The degree of discomfort and suffering to the individual afflicted is impossible to measure accurately, IMO. Physical affliction is perhaps a bit easier for others to relate to than is psychological illness would be the only observation I can offer here.

    In all cases, if one is lucky enough to be in moderately good health, one should enjoy it while they can and perhaps be aware that not all are so fortunate. :bugeye:
  18. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    I've linked this before.

    So an economically-motivated immigrant to another country...form their perspective...flush plumbing! only working 12 hours a day! a day off!
    What luxury!

    From the perspective of someone with depression who was born into that culture:
    " I don't have a degree, I don't have a good job, my relatives keep having to bail me out, I can't do anything right, I'm a burden, a f***up, I really need to kill myself for the good of everyone around me...they think it would be bad, but it's really all for the best...."
    Please note...quoting pretty much verbatim from my own head there...

    It's not like I like depending on others...I hate it, it frightens me. Life experience shows me that to depend on others is to ask to be hurt. I loathe myself with a passion for needing anything from anybody, really.

    So, it's not that we Westerners are spoiled so much as we expect a lot out of ourselves...and, well, by all rights we should? and then when the depression prevents us from being able to fulfill what we were reared to believe were the only acceptable standards...we kind of despise ourselves for that.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  19. Bells Staff Member

    So you would rather be sick physically, get an illness or break your limbs, just so people cut you some slack? Right... Can I ask, what makes you think people would cut you any slack at all?

    Lets say you had a heart attack. And they discover it was because you had a high cholesterol level. And then you would get the comments like 'well you should have taken better care of yourself, shouldn't you?'.. Or type 2 diabetes which would result in 'you eat such junk and fatty food probably'.. Because you know, being physically ill or breaking your limbs, sometimes to be permanently paralysed in some fashion is such a joy compared to depression. No it really is.

    Because being physically ill or paralysed or breaking your limbs or having an accident can't bring on depression.. oh no.. that never happens, right? Because on a scale of 1 to 10, depression is an 11 and being paralysed from a stroke is 4 since you know, only one gets sympathy from people and having people 'cut you some slack'.. right?

    You know, I am just not going to say anything from now on...
  20. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    In the US, there's a debate going on about that...and the powers that be on the right seem to be pushing for keeping care privatized.
    There are some really ricketty public health systems, on the county and state levels...I use one of those...better than going broke trying to pay out of pocket...but I didn't go into it until I didn't have a choice.
    When I go I always feel like I'm a bureaucrat's definition of excess population, because my healthcare needs do not equal my current ability to pay for them.

    I don't like depending on a bureacrat to decide what drugs I can and cannot have...when that may well be a life or death decision, and they neither know nor care that it is...
    But the private insurers actually get to keep more of your money if you die, so their motivation to deny treatment seems pretty straightforward.

    Maybe we should always link health and life insurance, so they have a financial interest in keeping you alive all of a sudden.
    But anyway...I don't like being like this. I often wish I'd been let die at birth, I would not have survived without medical support.

    I don't particularly want to live anymore.
    As has been discussed, it's not in society's best interest that I do.
    I'm ultimately a drain on the system and everyone. I can't argue with that, I tried not to be and failed. I'm supporting other people emotionally to...justify my continued oxy habit.

    People generally cut very little slack, period...

    I dunno, I took work off for my sinus surgery. I wouldn't take work off last month when my friend was asking me to go inpatient, though, because I figured I would not have a job when I got out. I'm generally too afraid to ask for help or slack-cutting, because I'm afraid the answer will be "No, and you're fired."
    But I don't really care what happens to me physically either...I got rearended on a bicycle and went to work the next day. I hurt, unless I'm seeing white around the edge of my vision from it hurting that extremely...oh well.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Everyone has to deal with the problems of birth, aging, illness, death and separation at some point.
  22. Bells Staff Member


    Finally, someone has gotten it!

    I do not understand how or why people are comparing illnesses or diseases or medican conditions.

    Depression does not exist in a vacuum. It is often caused by giving birth, aging, illness, death and separation. To claim that one would rather be physically ill than be depressed.. It does not make sense to me.. Because physical illness often results in depression. Plus, it is also one can compare..

    Everyone will suffer something at some point in time. Does not mean that one is better or worse than the other. Claiming that one is better because you may get more sympathy with one over the other.. Really? Makes me angry..
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I find that kind of thinking to be depressing.

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