Hello Albert, Brandie, Cynthia, Jennifer, and Queen and King Big O:
For some reason, you have all decided that my journal is worthy of an occasional visit.
At times, amidst all the silliness, I offer thoughts on serious subjects. A topic that I have heretofore barely touched upon is mental illness, a condition with which I am intimate. If I may, I would like to offer my father's perspective:
It was very dark. He didn't know what had awakened him; it couldn't have been the moonrise, because his bedroom didn't face the east. It had been something else, perhaps the sound of a door or hurried footsteps. He waited, respiring as slowly as possible, but nothing further occurred to alarm him. He turned on a small lamp and glanced over at the other bed, in which his younger brother slept soundly, but saw nothing to worry him. It must have been a bad dream; nothing more.
Morning dawned, and he and Jim arose to greet the new day. They wrestled with each other to determine who would get to use the bathroom first. After they had settled the order of progression and taken care of business, they headed down the stairs to breakfast.
Dick, Shirley, Jim, Malcolm - they were all there. But where was Amy? What had happened to his older sister? Why was she not at breakfast? Questions from the four children were met by evasions but no concrete answers.
As it turned out, my Aunt Amy had been taken in the middle of the night and sent to an institution upstate; she became, as it were, persona non grata; she was no longer mentioned in polite conversation. It was almost as if she had never existed.
I do not blame my grandparents for depriving me of the knowledge that I had another aunt; they were good people, and they did as well by her as they could and what they thought was best.
In the year 1936, this is the way mental illness was handled. Only 69 years ago, mental illness was treated as if it were a horrible stain upon a family; something of which to be ashamed and never to be mentioned, if it could at all be avoided. What a travesty.
I am not certain that even today, in this year of our Lord 2005, understanding is universal. Mental illness seems still to be a topic that is generally shunned,even though the daily news is rife with stories of people who seem to have gone off the deep end.
I have much more to say upon this topic at a later date, but for now I would ask you to consider this - each of us, each individual, is unique in the way in which we cope with the world and deal with the circumstances in which we find ourselves. None of us is adequately equipped to deal with the totality of what life has determined should be thrown our way, but the Creator has endowed us with the basics, and that, ultimately, will have to be enough.
What got me thinking about all of this is a commercial advertising Wellbutrin. Some of you may have seen a rant that was briefly posted here earlier this morning. I deleted it, because when I wrote it I was pretty well lubricated.
Before I paid a visit to a hospital-affiliated facility some years ago, I had never heard of Wellbutrin; now it is being advertised nightly on TV. I have for some time been perplexed by the marketing of drugs directly to the consumer that are available only by prescription, and I have been perturbed by the fact that Big Pharma is spending money in this fashion, instead of lowering the prices of their medications. But today our local paper (the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle) published an article on the results of a study appearing in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. In brief, the study found that doctors were more likely to prescribe prescription drugs when asked by patients about them. Other studies have apparently been conducted which indicate that direct-to-consumer marketing "can influence patient and doctor behavior. But this is the first article that says it's the patient's request that makes the difference".
It all becomes much more clear to me now. Big Pharma understands that it will sell more high-priced medications if it can inveigle consumers into badgering their doctors into prescribing them, and that doctors will often acquiesce rather than spend valuable appointment time arguing with patients. One can only hope that consumers eventually awaken to the fact that they are being used as pawns and played for fools.
Until next time, peace.