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Mental Illness or Not?

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Dad and I

Pretending to go 90.

Pretending to go 90.


Many folks have a Mental Illness. Mental illness is not seen like a broken leg. Mental illness in these modern times still carries a stigma. Here is an interesting fact; 1 out of every five American adults have a form and degree of mental illness. That is from the National Institute of Health. We can assume that only includes those diagnosed. And a late diagnosis can literally be deadly.

Certainly the growing number of those with age related dementia are included. 5.8 million people suffer from that. I would believe that about half of the family caregivers have situational mental illness, depression, mental fatigue and anxiety. Addictions and alcohol abuse are mostly not matters of choice as they are now overwhelmingly considered “Substance Use Disorder”. Yes that can include eating and smoking. Some habits we just develop. Habits are not addiction. You can break a habit with willpower you cannot break an addiction with such. (I do not refer to the chemical detox)

Every day about 130 people a day die from suicides and another 130 a day from opioid addiction. About 8 a day die due to texting addiction. About 170 die from violence every day. (my guess is that has to do with mental illnesses of sorts) Drunk driving – clearly sickness caused, about 30 per day. Alzheimers dementia (AD) took an estimated 120,000 lives in 2018.

Compare that to a pandemic that has altered the course of history and takes about 800 people a day. And the above statistics happen every year not just for one or two. So is the pandemic of COVID worse or is mental illness worse for society. Maybe ask a mom who lost a child to a driving texting addict mom.

And if that is not enough, there is a low ball estimate of 65 million children suffering from a psychiatric illness.

So mental illness is not just for strange people. Mental illness does not just effect strange people. If you have an extended family someone in your family has a mental illness. Go ahead and cut the above numbers by a full third to soothe any arguments. And it still out shadows COVID issues. I wonder if we should quarantine all crazy people. And anyone who lives with them. Just a thought which kind of shows that we are all basically a bit crazy like me.


Not my Daughter

Just a little crazy.

Just a little crazy.

Community of Crazy

Well that was a downer. Maybe it lends credence to the notion that we never know what will be. We could go either way here and choose to say that the numbers are inflated, or we could say that the undiagnosed is a huge number. The numbers are huge enough that arguments either way still must accept this major fact of life in America. And it is a horrible fact. And again we look at COVID and see numbers relative to those “infected” and those diagnosed with Mental illness. Clearly most of either don’t really need much medical attention but rather a sort of monitoring. Interesting.

How about medicine. I read somewhere that mental health medications work for about an average of 6 months and then require an alteration. And again we look at the flu. Just about every 3 years flu viruses mutate or evolve. So flu vaccines have to be constantly adjusted. Same will be for COVID.

Did you know that schizophrenia and bi-polar still have no cure? They are diseases that once you have them you have them for life. You will always be reliant on some form of treatment and by far mostly medications. Diabetes is interesting as you can become non-reliant on medications. But that requires a total lifestyle change that must be maintained. There is no vaccine for AIDS. But again you can live with it just not really cure it.

If you bust up a knee real bad they can fix it generally if you can afford it. But when you turn fifty there is a good chance that that knees gives you plenty of grief. The grief in mental illness starts upon onset and never really leaves. Perhaps like no other illness, mental illness takes others with it. The alcoholic’s whole home, kids and all can be devastated and impoverished. Which reminds us that a poor man is crazy and a rich man is eccentric. Money can hide the illness from the world and topnotch medical can treat it well. Perhaps the damage is done by covering it up. How would that effect the ill person? “We are ashamed of you”.

It is interesting to note that so many homeless suffer from severe mental illness. And somehow they form real communistic communities. Certainly more personal than ours. Maybe that is because that no one puts them down for crazy. Oh sure, they give pejorative nick names sometimes and they are happy to diagnose another. But no way, that in, that condition of living something has that low of crime rate, which is low. Even though most suffer from mental illness they make it work. Strange.

Thinks It Is A Bird

What a crazy plant.

What a crazy plant.

Good and Bad in Everyone

Reach Out

Hey this could give depression a new meaning. Just thinking about it gets you a bit down. All I have is my written word. And even with that I just brought you down low with my words. Now multiply that 50 times and you get clinical depression. And then; I am a jerk for bringing you down intentionally. And the purpose of all the info shows the big problem. But also to maybe give an inkling of degree. Which brings us well into how external effects the internal.

In my healthy living practice, stepping out of outside stimulus is the stepping stone to get me to a higher untroubled plane. I know it is kind of crazy? Now the mentally ill have to work hard to not go into a rage when a disturbed inside meets a disturbed outside. So perhaps the external plays as much a part in abhorrent destructive and self- destructed as genetics. So that switch we look for, just what circumstance causes it. And it changes like our above example of psych meds. A life time of work is ahead. Like our diabetic who does a 180 and is super healthy, she must constantly work at it. She has to sustain it. Poor Franz is having an episode but what? Give him a few minutes and he can find the trigger and change his self-talk and then be more in touch than us. “Does he have to do that often?” “I don’t know but otherwise he is very normal – maybe too much.”

Doesn’t that kind of make a light go off? Hey a guy goes to the restroom 4 times an hour, a denture wearer takes a leave right after dinner, and a diabetic excuses to inject. Maybe so does the addict. Why does society judge these so different? Is the world going crazy or are the mentally ill getting sane? The world seems to be going crazy. If weird means different and strange means crazy and society as a mob decide then exactly what is a mental illness. Do not feel bad many people react; “Who cares what you call it?” Fair enough. Hey 1 out of 4 kids dress differently.

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World mental health day was October 10th this year. May was the month for awareness. The medical profession generally calls mental health issues “behavior healthcare” which tells us much. It ain’t the disease as much as the reaction to it. Probably the same for those affected by it.

But as with so much, there is a silver lining. There are literally millions out there that because of mental illness have been taught the tools for a greater understanding of the world of mental diversity. An appreciation for just how well we can adjust. The learning of better lifestyles and more positive things. Cognitive therapy means just that.

Now give a call or better a big hug to someone you know who is suffering. And don’t you dare forget those caretakers.


Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 24, 2020:

Chrish your comment is great. I hope this comment reaches you.


Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 24, 2020:

Denise I agree. I thought about this a bit and it occurred to me that possibly there is a strange assumption that those afflicted can not be happy and loving.



Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 24, 2020:

Thank you Ann you make great points or importance. Recognizing it for both the friend or family, and the individual is truly the hard part.

Just imagine if you came home with a bad diagnoses. Wow what traumatic thing that would be.

Be warm and safe,


Ann Carr from SW England on November 24, 2020:

Eric, I thought I'd commented, so sorry to be so late. Finally found you in the 'feed', though it's a long trawl!

Mental illness is much more to the fore at the moment because I think Covid has exacerbated it. As with so many things, there are some that just jump on the bandwagon - 'oh, I'm a little worried so I must be mentally ill.' That annoys me, as it belittles those who have genuine problems and really do struggle, of whom there are many. It should be discussed and those who need help should have it readily available, I believe. Recognising it when some don't ask for help is the difficult bit!

As usual, you tackle these things with aplomb alongside humour and give us an all-round, healthy view.

Hope you're keeping safe and well, Eric.


Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 21, 2020:

My step-daughter wrote a children's book called "I'm the Normal One" where she depicts herself growing up in my family as the one dressing odd and hanging upsidedown from a tree in the family protrait. It's so true. Who can define "normal"? There is no normal if everyone is a bit crazy. Things to think about.



Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on November 20, 2020:

Ooooof such sufferings! I'm with you Sir Dierker - lots of hugs for all the FIGHTERS, you guys are awesome!!! #Sympathy Awareness for all. Have an awesome day po;-) (I'm happy being able to leave a comment haha)

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Perhaps I misunderstand you, Manatita it seems like what you are saying is that spiritual lacking causes disorders of these sorts?

manatita44 from london on November 20, 2020:

We do not speak of faith as such. They do help us and has been a solace to millions! We talk more of the spiritual Heart and the need for prayer. You have painted a picture to which humans have responded in different ways. My response is the old cliche that it is we who have to change. 'Change begins with me.' It is an inner journey.

I may be a bit more vocal, but I do not usually go this far. We know ourselves how much of the Light we accept or wish to accept. It is ultimately personal to each seeker and God. That is the message of Yoga. I have painted the same message for 11 years, usually cloaked in poetry.

Now humanity is much more in search of purpose or meaning and so the need to make it clear is sometimes needed for aspiring souls. Peace.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Manatita I see your point and agree.

But we must tread very carefully in this area so we don't get into possessed notions and "If your faith was strong you would not be like this, turn it over to God". I know that for many years this was the route of many "believers".

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:


The situation is surely exacerbated by COVID. There is almost no way to track the severity. Often the issue is one of an untreated situational non-clinical depression which if untreated for months can create the perfect storm for a clinical disorder. Like PTSD some of these disorders are not genetic at all.

Anger was my route to changing a lifestyle. I am quite sure that has prevented full blown disorders in my life.

Thanks for coming by and leaving your important note.

manatita44 from london on November 20, 2020:

Many years ago, I remember Guruji saying that of all the spiritual qualities, Light is needed most and wanted least. He gave reasons, of course. If you wish to read the piece one day, I can find it for you. That is where we are. Humans are afraid of the Light and also ungrateful. We only need to see what was done to Christ.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 20, 2020:

Those numbers in the first half of your article are startling and sad. There surely should be no stigma attached to an type of mental illness. It is also a shame that there is no cure, just treatments. The Covid virus has sure added to this problem.

I have known a couple of people with bipolar disorder and if they took there medication they did very well. A good friend of mine's father (in his 80s) has dementia that is just getting worse. He sleeps in his clothes, won't bathe unless she helps, etc. It is so sad.

It also breaks my heart that so many Vietnam vets are homeless. This good article is a real eye opener, Eric.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Liz several studies have indicated that death with dimentia as the underlying cause may be under reported by six times the statistics. This would put it far and above that of cancer and heart attacks. Even good doctors do not look for the underlying cause of the illness that takes folks.

I am inclined that doctors reflect that avoidance notion of society.

We are pleased to see it addressed more openly and frequently than even just five years ago.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Mr. Happy I had a real close schizophrenic friend. About two years ago he just got too tired of dealing with it. Now he rests well I think.

We were chatting one day out in a really cool very old orchard. But in our case we did more holding on to each other than talking.

He pointed out that the gnarly twisted old trees still bore fruit. As did he in my life.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Jamie that is a tough one. I read up on this a bit ago and I think the DSM still treats Social Anxiety and Avoidance Personality as distinct and to my understand AVPD is less understood and more debilitating.

Your condition really needs gentle easy going non-intimidating folks on hand.

I like your method of managing. Seems we can pull it together for our children. So if we focus there it is really beneficial.

When looking into this I concluded that the internet is a helpful tool to stay in touch if careful with social media. I like emails.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 20, 2020:

Recent statistics in the UK put dementia/alzheimer's as a number one killer, with COVID-19 in third place. An aging population means that dementia is a growing problem. In the UK mental health in general is more talked about and recognised and there's an attempt to destigmatise it.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on November 20, 2020:

"And somehow they form real communistic communities." - They do. I've had the benefit of living with some such people, out in my tent downtown here. It's insane how they make it work indeed. Everything is so dysfunctional: fights erupt out of nowhere, things go missing, people end-up having fits because they are not taking their medication ... on and on. Yet, things do go on. People are resilient. They are so incredibly resilient. I have witnessed many things. But ya, demeaning people never helps. We have to understand them in order to even try to help.

"It ain’t the disease as much as the reaction to it." - My brother-in-law hung himself. I tried. I literally did all I could and to no avail. He still chose to go. Sometimes things get too tough for people, or they simply do not wish to go on. We all have that choice.

Anyway, thank You for this piece of writing. I appreciate it.

All the very best!

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on November 20, 2020:

Eric this is still uncomfortable to me but I was diagnosed with a Personality Disorder as an adult about five or six years ago. I am dog headed and refuse to take my medicine. I am trying to figure it out but it is difficult since I am not aware of my disorder and usually need people to point it out. I need to leave a comment since this article really hit home. I have what is called AVPD and leads to extreme antisocial behavior. I believe in God and pray everyday but have not had the courage to join a church. I have learned to work with the community to raise my children and do what needs to be done but these simple tasks are hard for me. I am still able to raise my children, as a single father, and keep my house in order but I have problems with keeping friendships and have an extreme fear of intimacy. Thank you so much for writing this article I was moved by your words. Thank you for the light. Jamie

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Linda it is amazingly pervasive. Next at the store, look around. 1 out of 4 has a disorder of some type. That is very serious and very troubling as we know that so many do not get the love and attention and medical help they need.

Love is the best we can often give.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Peggy so true. In these times triggers become more pronounced and reaction less leveled. And this is a terrible chain reaction. Another's suffering is cause for much concern.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Manatita thank you for that fine comment. Some answers we truly are not given. But the inability to accept love is probably one of the worst crosses to bear.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 20, 2020:

Eric, there should be no stigma. I think our attitude about mental illness is a lack of understanding. We dear what we do not know. I had never considered the magnitude of the problem. Thank you for shining a light on mental health. It affects all of us.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:

Bill I wrote this thinking of one of my best buddies. He is struggling as his wife is in the palliative care stage of Alzheimer's. Prayer and a ear is about all I can give.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 20, 2020:

There should be no stigma attached to mental health issues any more than physical illness. Often they are combined. With COVID-19 rampaging across the world, reports are that they will probably be many more people affected mentally in one form or another, not to mention those who are affected physically or those who are dying because of it. Your subject is a serious one.

manatita44 from london on November 20, 2020:

You have painted a frightening picture. Necessary, if only to help us to wake up. Again, its a bit like voting where the voting's done, but the votes are nearly equally split. Strife is still only a step away and amidst all that, we try to Love. Not easy.

Whoever the Saviour, the message remains the same:'

"The age-old discovery,

Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness

Is the only real way to happiness." - Sri Chinmoy

"Forgive seventy times seven." (Biblical scriptures) So who practices these? Who's into the Spirit of compassion and Love? The Seers say we get what we deserve. Deep! I have never really blamed one man.

A 'community of crazies' indeed, but the medicine is invisible, Bro. It is Love, gratitude, self-less giving, prayer ... before healing can truly take place. Inner healing!

World Mental Health Day's, allopathic therapies and medicines, are all surface solutions. We need to change Hearts, not bodies. A footballer drank himself to liver cirrhosis. They gave him a new liver and he drank again until death. No lessons learnt there. Peace.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 20, 2020:

My son is clinically depressed. One of Bev's sons, the same. Her other three kids have anxiety attacks. I've had two friends end up in the psyche ward. It is pervasive in society, and we need more social services, not fewer, and that's the end of my mini rant for today. Have a great weekend, buddy, and thanks for the article.

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