Our hidden secret: Mental illness

By Phyllis Dolinsky

This country has a serious problem. Millions are affected by it. Yet we sweep it under the carpet. If it is in the family, we may hide it. If we have it, we (and the family) may suffer from it. Our entire lives will be affected by it each and every day.


It is as stated above – an illness. Yet we don’t treat it with respect like cancer, high blood pressure or even hives. It deserves respect for the people and the families who live with it.

Many of these people are super bright, but when their thinking becomes distorted, they are not able to realize it.

Our country has laws so that the person suffering may make the choice of taking or not taking
medication. The problem with the above is the person may or may not be capable of making that decision. If the behavior reaches a point where he/she may be hospitalized, while hospitalized, they will be given medication. Under the Hippa law, the families and loved ones may be kept entirely out of the loop. If a person goes into the hospital with a heart problem, the families are in touch with the care takers, but if it is a mental illness, they may be left completely out of the loop and also be expected to take the ill person home with no notice except, “We are releasing them, come take them home.”

There are many people who have mental illnesses and take the appropriate treatment and depend on their families or loved one to help them if they need it. They appreciate the love and support of their families during difficult times.

Then there are the ones who wish to live with their illness even if they are not always able to function at the moment in society. This does not only affect them it affects everyone who has contact with them.

The families, the wives, husbands and children need the help and support of their loved ones and the community.

This is a real problem with real solutions. It’s time to do something. If you have stories of loved ones, both positive and negative, please write about them.

3 Responses to "Our hidden secret: Mental illness"

  1. Ski   June 28, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Judith, Your response to Mark shows what a caring person you are. The problem may be out of Mark’s hands. His wife may refuse medication and unless she is a threat to herself or others, she may not be admitted to the hospital. She would have to wish to receive help.This is such a large part of the tradegy of living with mental illness. If it was a heart problem, this would not be an issue.

  2. Mark   June 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    My wife has schzoaffective disorder. She jumped off a 300 foot 16 yrs algo. She was hospitalized and has been on Zyprexa and Effexor for 16 years and everything was great. Normal. We traveled. Have a great MD. Had a wonderful life. Out of the blue she decided to stop Effexor 3 months ago. Now she stopped Zyprexa. Will not return to the MD. Refuses to go back and she is spiraling down. I don’t know what to do. I wish I could run away but I love her. please help!

    • judith   June 19, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Hi Mark,

      I can feel your distress and pain. It sounds like your wife manages well on medication. If your wife had a heart problem, refused her medication and started to spiral downwards, what would you do? I think you would take her to the hospital so she could get the medical treatment she needs. I think it’s the same in this situation. As is common with many folks who suffer from mental illness and take medication, your wife may have thought she doesn’t need the medication anymore. But obviously that’s not the case. She can’t make a reasoned decision because her brain isn’t working correctly. It’s not anyone’s fault..

      She sounds like a wonderful woman, a wonderful companion… She needs professional help. All the best.


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