The Mental Illness Dilemna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Mental Illness Dilemna
221
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:51am

Advocates for the mentally ill are faced with a deep dilemma each time extreme and deadly crimes are perpetrated by those with a mental illness. Obviously, such acts are not sane or normal; it beggars common sense to suggest that a person who is thinking straight would choose to kill or wound dozens of strangers. And yet most mentally ill people — even those with conditions that have been linked to violence, such as addictions and schizophrenia — are no threat to anyone other than themselves.

[continued]

For the mentally ill, who might be seen as canaries in this coal mine, stigma serves to wall them off from the social support and medical care that are necessary to spur recovery and prevent illness from leading to tragedy. As a society, we need to understand that risk does not equal destiny — and that believing it does is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not wrong to see schizophrenia as a disease or even to appreciate its association with violence, but to view people with schizophrenia as hopeless can in some cases worsen their course unnecessarily.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/31/mass-murder-and-mental-illness-the-interplay-of-stigma-culture-and-disease/?iid=hl-article-mostpop1#ixzz22J3U2hHn

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:09am
@ jamblessed - that's what I thought. And I agree. We underestimate our children's resilience.P
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:27am

I tend to believe that while some lucky campers might be born with innate traits for managing life, I think most people need a nudge and all people can benefit from honing their resilience skills. So I guess I believe more than not that resilience is learned.

I think we need to go back to where this began. The example given, not by me, was a divorce situation. The comment was, "children are resilient". Since resiliency is considered more of a process, not a trait, in this sense, children cannot be resilient. How one handles a process is determined greatly by the individuals traits.

Traits, however, do determine how one handles stress and adversity.

And I don't believe in extremes. Most people are neither resilient or not. Most people fall within that spectrum. If we are the lower end of resiliency, this could lead to a person  unable to function or say, get over any type of stress. And some at the higher end, seemingly bothered by nothing and bouncing back from everything, could also be displaying some inability to function properly.

But, yes, I do believe some people are just flat out more resilient then others. And, IME, people who are less resilient, will always have this underlying characteristic. The process will always take longer then say, for a person who is more easy going or bounces back more quickly. Another factor to consider are triggers. Some handle stress fine, unless several stresses come at them at once or before they have fully resolved the initial stress factor. Some people are bothered by many things, while others, only seem to have a few stresses in their lives. My point being, everyone is different and individual.

Back to example of divorce, I do not think the comment (not written by you), children are resilient is accurate. Even when given the proper tools, some children will fair better then others because of their innate traits.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:42am

A helpful, but not exactly what I was looking for, link about resilience.

http://www.psychweekly.com/aspx/article/articledetail.aspx?articleid=1080

Since "resilience" is not a word I use much in every day life, I would, and probably did, take a reference to "general resilience" as a reference to "resilience" as defined in psychiatric rehabilitation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:49am

Beautifully written post, thank you! I think I get where you are coming from now, and you were right. We seem to agree.

Unlike other debates that I tend to engage in on iVillage, this one offers a lot more room for well thought out differences of opinion, There is also way to much "unknown" about emotions, brain function and mental illness.

Earlier in the thread someone posted that if their child had an illness they would move mountains to find help. Sadly, while help is available, it is not nearly as good as I wish it were.

Recently I read a book with my daughter about Yellow Fever. Some people chose aggressive treatment - bleeding, with cutting not leeches. Sometimes "treatment" is unhelpful. There has been a lot of unhelpful treatment in mental illness through the decades and I think it is perfectly reasonable to be wary.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:52am

children cannot be resilient.

When I read that "children are resilient" I automatically assumed it meant that generally children are more resilient during unfamiliar stresses than adults are, generally speaking.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:54am

Am I making any sense yet? You can learn behaviors and poor coping strategies. But you can not learn to be mentally ill.

You don't have to worry about making sense to me, lol I just find that to be an odd statement. This isn't a teaching moment, but rather an exchange of thoughts and ideas. I feel as though we are in agreement, for the most part, but you are opposing much of what I say. I did not say one can learn to be mentally ill. Although I do think "mentally ill" involves far to many possibilities for textbook answers. So, although I may be believe a parent can create anxiety, for example, in a child, this may or may not lead to a clinical diagnosis. Am I making sense now?

If someone else said you can learn to be mentally ill, well, then I think we are just confusing who said what.

This line in the thread originated from saying saying parents aren't to blame. It's wrong, in most cases, to blame anyone, but IMO, it's equally wrong to displace responsibility as well. I think the parents role is vital to a child's mental health. 

I kinda think the the mental health field is a lot about teaching resilience: in parents, in children, in relationships, "in sickness and in health" so to speak.

I think this depends on the individual and the therapy needed. Again, looking at where the comment came from. If life was as simple as to just be resilient because all children can learn to be resilient, our schools systems could teach this and the mental health field wouldn't be so bombarded with patients. I do not mean this literally, I just find the statement to be very simplistic.

Schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, Asperger's, are all examples of disorders for which the parents lack of coping skills isn't going to increase the likelihood of the disorder. Good coping skills, resilience, can be very beneficial in managing the disorders.

Most of my experience is in anxiety, depression and adhd. I can only speak of my experience, but I do believe all three can be greatly effected by the manner in which a child is raised. Although, technically stating "isn't going to increase the likelihood of the disorder" is correct.

However, we need to consider the role the parents has in diagnosing any of these conditions. Their perception and understanding of their child's behavior impacts the diagnosing process a great deal.





iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:55am

Traits, however, do determine how one handles stress and adversity.

For whatever reason, I am not comfortable with the term "traits". In the sense that it represents each person's unique biology, it is a helpful term. Similarly, as I said before, I do like the term "constitution".

I think it is just my personal preference, but maybe it is influenced by some of the personality "trait theories" that I do not care for.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 10:01am

our schools systems could teach this

Honestly, I think they should. Once upon a time schooling was simply for learning to read, write and add. In today's world, that is the tip of the iceberg in terms of skills one needs to manage our society. I think "resilience" should be taught - but I believe that because of its link to "mental illness", many parents would view it as a philosophy, not as an essential skill. KWIM?

Be back soon, I hope.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 10:17am

Just as it is pointless to try to figure out what parents did or didn't do in the case of ADHD to cause disorganization, it is pointless to try to figure out what parents did or didn't do in the case of schizophrenia to cause such off the wall beliefs.

This, I disagree with. For the simple fact that previously we discussed the parents role in therapy. It's also important through the diagnosing process to determine if behaviors are learned or not. Especially is using the Vanderbilt scale alone, which I find pretty useless on it's own. But, it would be important to consider the parent role through their perceptions in answering the questions. In other words, a highly disorganized parent, may not view the child's disorganization as something be wrong.

Or, you may have a highly organized parent either organizing for the child or demanding organization and the result may be ... an anxious child or an organized child. With my children, at home I handled their organization with charts and reminders. I also help them clean their rooms. At home, they appear organized, at least for the age. At school, they are completely unorganized. Using the Vanderbilt scale alone, this criteria wouldn't be met. Am I making sense? Looking at the role the parents plays IMO, is rather important.

One other point, often times a child goes in for an adhd evaluation at an age where they have already patterned some coping skills of their own. They are also already influenced by a parents perception of themselves and the world. .

Anxiety and depression, again, much of therapy is concerned with the child's homelife and triggers and how the parents handles certain situations. So, again, I would have to say figuring out what the parent does and doesn't do is important. With other disorders, figuring out what is real and what isn't, is also very important, especially with young children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 10:20am

:smileyhappy: .. which I think is what led to the discussion on innate qualities.

To be clear though, I know the definition of resilient and I am not debating or questioning the definition.

When one makes the statement, children are resilient, one needs to take in consideration the innate qualities, traits or whatever, of the individual child.

 

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