- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
by Neil Bamforth
That’s the thing with mental illness. It’s often hard to identify and even harder to fathom out why someone has a mental illness. You see they’re either too ashamed to admit it, unable to recognise they have it or, sometimes, too loony for it to be worthwhile asking them anyway.
There is a massive spectrum when it comes to mental illness. People can be completely loopy and living in a world of their own or they can merely be suffering from anxiety. Now when I say ‘merely’ I am immediately, if I meant it, making the mistake many make regarding sufferers of anxiety or, indeed, depression.
It is easy to say ‘pull yourself together’ or words to that effect. It is easy to say ‘anxiety? Try having a few hundred thousand mortgage and you’ll know about anxiety’ – in other words, it is often not taken seriously.
In Britain mental health is so underfunded that it is quite usual to see people wandering around talking to themselves – mind you, I suppose some of them must be on a hands free mobile. If not then we’ve even more loonies than I realised.
I myself was once diagnosed as suffering from depression. I refuted the diagnoses quite simply by pointing out that I had, at the time, been supporting Oldham Athletic Football Club for over 40 years therefore, had I been suffering from depression I would, under such circumstances and beyond a shadow of a doubt, topped myself in a gas oven or something like that long ago.
Let’s face it, supporting a football club that spends most of it’s time staving off bankruptcy by the skin of it’s teeth, avoiding relegation by even less skin of it’s teeth on a regular basis and often has a crowd of about 3,000 tops including a chap dressed as an owl called ‘Chaddy’ cheering them on you’d have to be either completely nuts or immune to mental illness.
The doctor, whilst far from convinced, decided that either I was telling the truth or had devised a dark sense of humour sufficient to control any symptoms. He was correct – er – which bit I have no idea but one of them is anyway.
It will be mildly interesting to see whether diagnosed cases of anxiety or depression increase in the USA after the election of Trump. I think cases have increased in Britain as a direct result. I must admit I try not to think about it too much myself. I’ve enough on my plate with Oldham Athletic to be worrying about without including some kind of Trump Armageddon on the horizon.
Given the ridiculous lack of funding in Britain for mental health, I imagine it’s even worse in the USA as you haven’t got a free National Health Service – mind you I’m uncertain how much longer we’ll have one the way things are going.
On the plus side we still have a free NHS for now so, even given the lack of funding, it is still possible to get treatment for free if you suffer a mental illness.
Perhaps it’s something to do with mental illness still being somewhat a taboo subject? People are often embarrassed to admit they have a problem. Sometimes their jobs could be on the line if they admit to it and, of course, once diagnosed it’s on your medical records so even getting another job could become problematic.
You would think, in the 21st Century, humanity would have grown up enough to understand that mental illness, if treatable, is also curable or, at least, controllable and yet we shy away from anyone who admits to suffering. Perhaps we assume anyone with a mental illness is one step away from our shower curtain with a carving knife in their hand or something.
I suppose you could say that there is clearly hope for anyone suffering from mental health issues though.
After all, one sufferer just got elected President of the USA.
See, there’s hope for us nutters yet!Click here for reuse options!