Mental Illness, Misconceptions, and YA lit

I’ve read in a few places now about how Robin Williams was suffering from a form of dementia, which would explain his suicide.

All I can think is – and DEPRESSION DOESN’T???

Every morning I take Synthroid to keep my thyroid running normally – this keeps my brain working and my heart working and my body working… When my meds get off, my body is thrown off.

Why do people feel depression is any different? Or anxiety? Or bi-polar disorder?

There’s an argument floating around out there that so many people are taking meds for mental disorders who don’t need to.

Um… And this isn’t true with other medications? Such as painkillers?

And does this lessen the seriousness of the conditions of people who do suffer from mental illness? It is a chemical imbalance in the body. We now have tools to fix this (or at least help). But there’s still this stigma attached to it? WHY? Why does no one blink about me taking meds for my thyroid, but raise an eyebrow when my hubs says he takes meds for anxiety?

How many lives could have been saved if people weren’t afraid to go to a doctor with their problems?

I’m admittedly more sensitive on this topic having watched two friends suffer from depression and ending their lives early.

The School Library did a brilliant article on teens and mental illness HERE. Stronger Than You Know was included on their list (which I’m obviously shocked and thrilled about) as well as Carrie Mesrobian’s brilliant book, Sex and Violence. Steph Campbell’s Grounding Quinn is another book that Β always comes to mind when people talk about teens with mental illness. Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story is one of my fav-ever reads, as is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by the awesome Stephen Chbosky.

Stacked made a FAB list of YA titles, which you can find HERE. (I’ll try to keep my list different)

The horrid misconceptions about mental illness is one of the reasons I wrote Stronger Than You Know, and now I’m determined to find more books about teens dealing with mental illness. I asked Facebook for some ideas, and THEY DELIVERED. I’m not surprised. I have a lot of awesome friends on Facebook πŸ˜‰

And PLEASE feel free to add titles in the comments!

~ Jo

6 thoughts on “Mental Illness, Misconceptions, and YA lit

  1. Fantastic insight! I completely agree. As an RN, a patient, as a family member…chemicals in our bodies than need regulation should not be more or less important based on which system they regulate. The whole body must be addressed “HOLISTICALLY”. Body, mind and spirit.

  2. It’s because people with depression aren’t groaning in pain, they’re not bleeding from an injury or bearing scars from an accident. It’s in their head, so it’s self inflicted right? They should just stop avoiding their problems and seeking attention right? It doesn’t stop them functioning so why do they even need meds? How can they have it if they don’t even know it?

    I have read so many good articles that hit this nail on the head, that people view depression as a symptom instead of an illness. I grew up watching my parents fall apart from it, and my little sister suffer quietly from regular panic attacks. The perception that it’s not as harming as real illnesses needs to be taken away before people actually acknowledge it.

  3. I have bipolar disorder type 2 and totally get this post. Just because there are no visible wounds or definitive blood tests we can point to, doesn’t make mental illness any less real. The whole thing about mental illness is it’s the mind, that device through which people filter their surroundings and derive their truth. When that’s off kilter, everything is. To the afflicted. Through no fault of their own any more than a blood clot or a high blood sugar spike is a person’s own deliberate fault. Illness is not a character flaw or a weakness. It just is.

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