IS IT REALLY THAT SCARY THAT WE’RE AMONG YOU?
Mental illness is having a lite fuse between your ears, and for those with bipolar disorder the fuse is even shorter; bipolar sufferers are more than twenty times likely to attempt suicide, with a statistic of between 25 and 50% having attempted suicide at least once (http://www.suicide.org/bipolar-disorder-and-suicide.html) and with 30-70% of suicide victims suffering from depression in one of its many forms. And so here we come to the question of if—and this if might come one day very soon—if we can “cure” mental illness, then should we? Suffering from bipolar disorder and being quite aware of the dark passages of purgatorio which this illness travels you down without the guide Virgil to ward away the demons that easily claims, I can say without hesitation that I would not free myself of this illness. Just last week we were talking about discovering the genes of alcoholism, and mental illness came up. I remarked that localizing genes for homosexuality, mental illness ( homosexuality and mental illness not at all related, my firends) and the like is opening a Pandora’s box. And when one commented that finding mental illness and its “cure” would be beneficial, I said I would never want to “cure” myself of being bipolar, which made the room quiet and mottled with puzzled expressions galore. Goes to show how little understanding there is of mental illness, and how curing an illness of the brain is not unalike curing a part of the brain like one’s personality.
(Nurse attending cold-water submersion therapy patients)
The following like has the ideal mode of thinking when dealing with the question of how to “cure” mental illness, we don’t! (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/05/22/how-do-you-cure-mental-illness/) In life, we all are born with struggles, some struggles arise later on in life. But we ALL struggle and must fight to get through it, or live with it. If we learned anything from Daniel Keyes’ revolutionary 1959 novel, Flowers for Algernon, we see that our best intentions of curing Down’s syndrome does not always meet healthy ends. Sure, we want people to live normal and productive lives, but playing God is hardly the answer. So helping people live with these conditions is the only ethical answer of how can we do the best that we can. And with medication and psychotherapy, we can see that the best forms of dealing with mental illness is being told that there is nothing wrong with being a little different (http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-psychotherapy) I love you, JFK, but trying to “cure” the mind and homogenizing our society will make the world a frightfully similar and Aldous Huxley dystopian culture. following is President Kennedy’s 1963 address to Congress on mental illness and mental retardation (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9546.) However, your concern for the mentally ill in a time where locking them away in a padded cell is as honorable as your support for civil rights and tolerance for homosexuals.
(Parental of grunge music, revolutionary of alternative music, Kurt Cobain. Likely bipolar sufferer, one in countless celebrities with mental illness.)
So now we come down to the question of what do we do now? One day we will localize the cause and be able to change the genes of individuals and be able to make our own children how we see fit just like children can in Build-A-Bear Workshop. One straight, christian male coming right up! But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. In my opinion, when the day comes we can “cure” mental illness, it should not be taken likely. Only when we are sure that the procedure actually works, the steps to “curing” (yes I will put quotations around every time the work “cure” is used) should be the same as changing one’s gender (again, not comparing.) Vigorous therapy sessions spanning months on why you want to be “cured” should be underway to examine if someone would really be happy without this illness. Then and only then should the proper, safe steps be taken. Nevertheless, I will never “cure” myself no matter the ease of which to do it. My illness put me through the greatest of challenges, and with my will and determination, I was able to pull through and learn more about myself, more than I would have ever known otherwise. In the end, these illness help to positively define people, though casualties are prominent, but I would not have chosen a different mind, even if my insurance policy would cover it.