Mental Illness is no Joke

“Mental Illness is no Joke”  was the title of a NAMI pamphlet I’d picked up over 30 years ago.  NAMI stands for the the National Association on Mental Illness.  I was recommended to go to the Manhattan office of this organization because I’d been single-handedly dealing with my late Mom who was mentally ill.  


That pamphlet would probably be falling apart with age, but I wish I had it now, because the information included within it still relevant today.  Since then, supposedly we have made tremendous advances in technology, but we are still insensitive to the emotionally, mentally and psychologically ill.  


Yes, in this day and age, we still laugh at people who are mentally ill.  People think their so-called “antics” are funny. When in actuality those are not “antics” to provide mirth and merriment, they are behaviors which are indicators of serious illness.  In times where people are severely depressed, these so-called behaviors are silent cries for help.  


I say this because I am dealing with someone I work with who is in this condition.  Everyone else laughs about their behavior, but I don’t. I don’t find anything funny about “decompensation”. In “shrink” terms decompensation is: the functional deterioration of a previously working structure or system.  In other words, the person is falling apart before your eyes. 


From dealing with my Mom for 32 years, I know this is a clear sign that the person is in serious need of help.  I am just amazed that no one else around me can see the need.  Perhaps I’m just super sensitive because I’ve walked through the fire trice already.  Once with Mom, two over a co-worker who committed suicide, and three for myself. 


I am also amazed that a workplace which brags about having certain “resources” to deal with such eventualities, has done zip, zero, nadda.  I guess they are waiting until the proverbial kimshee hits the fan.  Then it will be too late to investigate. . . . . . 


Oh, it’s not like you can tell the person they are ill.  They believe that they are alright and everyone else is nuts. In trying to tell them they should seek help, it might be like stepping on a landmine.  The person may become openly hostile and combative.  


In that case, you need the civil authorities and professionals.  If the person won’t admit that they need help, they won’t get help, unless of course they commit a crime.  It’s when they wind up in jail, then court for arraignment, the judge will remand them to a mental health facility.  Does that have to happen?  


No it doesn’t.  If only someone cared. . . . . . . . 


If you have a family member, friend, or co-worker in this condition, please ignore or abandon them.  Don’t cater to them, because they can be extremely manipulative.  Stand your ground, love them up, but be firm and let them know they must get help.  If necessary alert the authorities if they are unable to care for themselves and/or children. 


Last but not least, I’m going to suggest something very radical.  Pray for them. . . . .


Just in case anyone is interested in more information.


Direct link to the NAMI site


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