Monday, June 23, 2008

Bi-Polar In Rhode Island

It takes a lot of guts to publicly admit that you have a serious mental health problem. I was impressed recently by a Projo article from a Wakefield business consultant who wrote about his bi-polar illness.
"The bipolar tornado sucked me into its vortex and tumbled me into a desolate, rubble-strewn landscape that I still do not understand. There was, is, no roadmap through this mental maze. There was no way out of Dodge. "(Projo)

The writer is 71 and he wrote not only to give his personal experience with this disorder but "... to promote understanding of the disease and tolerance and support of those who have it. I also want to encourage support for pending federal legislation that would put insurance for mental illness on par with “ordinary” health insurance."

There are 5.7 million bipolars in America — about two in every one hundred
people that you meet. About 20 percent, or 114,000, will commit suicide. Bipolars lose much of their lives because they function poorly or not at all, and bipolars die 9.2 years on average earlier than their contemporaries.

Lest you wonder why this should be of aony concern to you or the rest of sociedty, keep this in mind: "By one estimate, America’s 5.7 million bioplars “lose” each year a total of 1.5 million days of productive time." In other words, besides a health concern, it costs all of us money.

Severe mental illness grabbed him when he was a sophomore in college. Most severe mental illnesses seem to be genetic. You get it or you don't. It likely is in your genes, although some brain injuries seem to also produce mental illness.

Read more of one man's journey. He has led a sucessful life with unexpected & life-threatening detours. My hat is off to you, C. Davis Fogg.

My family has experienced severely mental illness. It's not a pleasant journey & definitely not one that we had expected to be in. But as they say, it's an ill wind that blows no good. It certainly has opened up our world, broadened it, and given us the opportunity to meet the most extraordinary people which we would not have gotten to meet otherwise.
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