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Monday 10 June 2013
Ostrich or ostracised?
I admit to procrastinating about this. I have been burying my head about it for a few months now and it still hasn't gone away. I have tried to ignore the issue and have positively discouraged others from publicising it or promoting it. But the fact remains I have to face it and an article today, from a politician I would normally cross a continent to avoid, has made me face up to it.
The article's title was what got me cheering.
What am I trying to face up to? Well, this conference.
Let's start here.
Mental Illness is a melting pot of genetics, biology and environment.
You will note that the first item on the agenda has me reaching for the Salt Gargle and (to steal an expression from Irish Up) makes me want to "take bitty plungers and suck my eyeballs out".
"A special focus will be on how Carers manage their feelings of self-blame, shame, disappointment and guilt"
Oh No! Panic! Should I be blaming myself for my d's illness? Should I be ashamed of her? Disappointed in her or myself? What precisely should I feel guilt for?
Let's reframe this for a minute
Breast cancer is a melting pot of genetics, biology and environment.
Should my parents blame themselves for my breast cancer? Should they be ashamed that I have breast cancer? Should they be disappointed in either me or themselves because I have breast cancer? Should they feel guilty that I have breast cancer?
I'd like to see a professional in the cancer field who would suggest such a thing. No, scrap that. Public crucifixions are not my thing.
Why, oh why, do people persist in returning to the same old, same old. Why does the stigma surrounding mental illness mean that Carers continue to be loaded with an extra weight of psychological burden? Why should carers of people with mental illnesses have to be exonerated of guilt for something they didn't cause and the patient didn't choose?
I am deeply disappointed in this approach and fear that it will set back the whole Parents don't cause eating disorders thing.
However, I have the chance to present at the conference, which I shall do.
I bet you can guess what I am going to say.....