Speaking as someone who lives with mental illness, who struggled and suffered for decades with undiagnosed and unacknowledged CPTSD, with a side of Depression and Generalized Anxiety, I know how difficult and scary a mental health crisis can be. I also know how vicious and ruthless and cruel the political world is.
So I am incredibly grateful to Senator John Fetterman for getting mental health care without shame or apology.
His courage saved lives. There are people today and in the coming days and weeks who are finally willing to seek mental health care for themselves, because he spoke openly and without shame about his own mental health. Depression and mental illness affects EVERYONE, and when people who have enormous public profiles speak about their experiences, it chips away at the stigma that has claimed too many lives.
I am not a United States Senator, but I know this is absolutely true, because people have told me that my public journey to care for my mental health and heal my trauma gave them what they needed to make the appointment and begin their own journey.
My heart is with Senator Fetterman and his family. I wish them all the best. I know how tough this is. How scary it can be. How Depression will see the struggle and just pour lie after lie after lie over you, trying its best to make you believe you deserve or are responsible for it.
All of that is bullshit. Depression lies.
I want to remind anyone who is struggling with their mental health, who is just *so tired* of feeling all the things Depression and its buddies try to drown us with that IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY. It’s not shameful or weak to ask for help. It’s courageous, and you deserve to be helped by people who have dedicated their lives to helping us get better.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please know that help is available when you’re ready. If you are in the United States, you can dial 988 from any phone to speak with a counselor who is ready for you.
5 thoughts on “with love and respect to Senator John Fetterman and his family”
I served 30 years in the U.S. Navy and retired in August of 2017. I’ve was diagnosed with anxiety in November of 2017 and struggled with it ever since. Ever watch the Shawshank movie? Institutionalized is what I am. I’ve had panic attacks that are debilitating and live with a constant level of that feeling in your gut. I’ve gotten help through the VA system and most of my coworkers seem supportive. I teach at a technical high school in Missouri. Mental and behavioral health effects (affects?) everyone. Thanks for bringing this out.
Though it may be trite, thank you for your service. I’m very sorry that your sacrifice for us resulted in life long pain. Please know we are with you, think of you and will stand by you.
There’s a certain irony about a United States Senator so visibly grappling with mental illness. Because by and large the United States government, both federal and state, has collectively ignored taking responsibility for unifying, legislating, and funding an effective and worthy infrastructure to provide consistent and competent care.
Only when some critical event occurs (e.g., active shooter in a school) to those with the power to make change happen lift their heads up and attempt to address the issue. But even that effort typically lasts for only as long as the event remains on the front page of the newspaper.
The problems are many: side effects of medications, polypharmacy, stigma, accessibility to needed services (I’m not a fan of tele-mental health), cost of medications and therapy, rampantly poor training of therapistsy, lack of a unified treatment construct (there are over 450 different modalities for therapy out there to choose from), fractured provision of services, etc. etc. etc. And let’s not forget about plain ‘ol greed. Mental health is BIG BUSINESS. How can you not just bang your head on the wall when you realize that 65% of the members of the DSM-V task force had direct ties to Big Pharma? Cue the cash register sound bite. And for the chronic population? Our sickest citizens often suffer monstrously horrible and hopeless consequences such as abandonment, homelessness or incarceration/criminalization.
Years ago I became acquainted with a United States Representative who seemed to be very active in advocating for critical nation-wide changes to the national mental health care system. Though under Obama many of the changes were passed into law (thank God), it turned out that this Congressman was really just a shill for the NRA, and was only trying to divert scrutiny away from conservative “right to own guns” advocates. This is how we, as a nation, prioritize.
I wish Senator Fetterman well. And yes. Good for him for not staying private. Maybe this will certainly raise awareness of the complex but very sad state of our mental health system. We need something better.
Enough for now. You’d think I could do a lecture on this, right? (Actually, I do). Next time maybe I’ll elaborate on what really works in therapy, why some people can become trapped into therapy for years and years, and how change truly happens.
I hate that it took a terrible break up with a toxic abusive person to finally seek help for my problems. If I haven’t followed your journey with seeking help and getting it, I would’ve probably given up. I feel okay saying this now, since I was 5-7 years old I have seen, heard, felt and thought things that other people didn’t. I wanted to say that they weren’t real, but they are extremely real to me. After a couple decades of repressing and honestly a lot of shame in even wanting to get help, it finally came to the surface and I started the process. I stopped making excuses for her or the voices any longer or the things I saw. It wasn’t easy.
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