Hi. I’m Lex, and I have chronic, severe depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I bring this up because today is World Mental Health Day.
I’d had depression since my mid-teens, but it wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was 36. I’d probably had the anxiety all along, too, but it wasn’t diagnosed until I was 52. Thank God it was, and thank God for Lexapro and Buspar. Depression made me want to feel dead. Anxiety made me start thinking about ways to make it happen.
I’m lucky. I got, and continue to get, good care (except when the meds don’t work, which still happens occasionally), and I’m lucky to be employed by a place that provides decent health insurance. I’m also lucky to have family, friends, and an employer that, for the most part, understand at least the basics of mental illness and don’t stigmatize me.
Mental illness is a brain disorder, just like brain cancer. It needs to be treated, not stigmatized. And health insurance needs to cover that treatment. Anyone who argues that mental-health issues should be penalized as a pre-existing condition is literally arguing to make it easier for me and people like me to die. And I don’t take death threats kindly.
If you’re suffering, get help. If you’re in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They’re there to listen and help, 24 hours a day. And get help, where and however you can. Mental illness is a chronic illness, but it doesn’t have to be a chronic crisis.
Thanks for listening. And now back to the usual foolishness.