A look at a cabaret singer who had style, fluency in several languages and a large repertoire of songs ….. but who was hard-wired for depression and took her own life, after the jump ….
I have touched on the topic of stigma against the mentally ill before, so I’m taking bits and pieces of research from that previous diary. But I’d like to revisit it here in a slightly different way. There was a statement made in another diary the other day that brought this to mind. Someone elsewhere in the blogosphere suggested that the mentally ill should be imprisoned “just like sex offenders” until doctors could determine that they were safe for society. I’m assuming that it was not intended as it was written (I certainly hope not), but unfortunately, there are many out there who do actually think this way.
Stigma is a more complicated concept than one might initially guess upon mere casual consideration. Definitionally relatively simple, the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of social stigma are myriad and complex. You can find stigma, of one sort or another, most anywhere you look. Stigma will thrive in society wherever ignorance or fear or hatred of that which is “different” are acceptable mentalities. The tendency to stigmatize, label, and set certain groups/individuals apart from the rest of society as “other” is, to an extent, human nature. The need to categorize people, places, and things is normal — it’s just a function of how our brains work. We run into problems, however, when we begin allowing categories and labels to exclude and define people.
I’d like to discuss HIV/AIDS as it pertains to mental health, since I think it’s a topic that deserves more emphasis. I think it’s fairly intuitive that living with a disease like HIV/AIDS would be likely to have an adverse impact on one’s mental health. This goes for living with a lot of illnesses, especially life-threatening ones, but I believe there is still a special social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS which makes the reality of coping with it in a sometimes cold and judgmental world all that much harder. For the purposes of this diary, I will not be delving heavily into signs/symptoms or statistics for the populations affected. Rather, I want to focus on the mental health concerns that go along it.
As one might expect, depression and anxiety are prevalent amongst people with HIV/AIDS. The psychological strain of dealing with the condition itself can be intense, and the added burden of trying to cope with social stigma only increases the risk of developing mental health problems. Common responses to an initial diagnosis of the disease are denial, anger, sadness/depression, fear/anxiety, and general stress. Even for those who have never suffered from a life-threatening illness, I think it’s pretty easy to understand why someone would have those reactions. Sympathizing is, perhaps, a relatively simple task – truly empathizing is not. It is impossible for someone who does not have to live with HIV/AIDS to “understand” how these patients feel.
Or, it’s all Obama’s fault.
The revisionists are already busy.
“WIRE: ‘Obama Bear Market’ Punishes Investors as Dow Tumbles 20%…” blares Drudge.
“Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow“, says a headline in the Wall Street Journal.
“This Is Obama’s Market, Good and Bad”, writes John Tamny of Real Clear Markets. His article finishes with the statement that, “Whatever direction he takes, it should be clear that today’s stock market is the Obama stock market, so it’s up to him to decide its basic direction.” This article was published on November 25, 2008.
These claims all have one thing in common. They hope to shift the blame for all bad economic news onto Obama so they can claim the market shows his policies are wrong. In order to achieve their goal, they cherry pick the data points and twist recent history to fit their argument.