Mental illness affects anyone

TheStar.com – Healthzone.ca – Mental illness affects anyone
May 02, 2009.   Elvira Cordileone, Staff reporter

Star reporter Elvira Cordileone asked members of the Parkdale Activity – Recreation Centre, a neighbourhood drop-in centre, for their definitions of mental health. Their responses:

Maynrd Plane, 69  –  Cerebral palsy

I can understand when a person’s not feeling well or if he’s dragged down too much he can’t focus on his work or anything he does. And if they don’t take their medication that doesn’t help very much either.

If I have my medication and my meals and try to relax more and go to bed early, I feel fine to continue.

I’ve been in two hospitals, I don’t know how many years ago, for cerebral palsy. They did help me out. For a person without a lot of education, I came a long way.

Rick Froude, 40s  –  Depression and anxiety

I don’t believe there should be a classification for mental illness at all. Everybody, every day of their lives, has some form of how well they are. You’ve got to be well to function. I’ve got to have good sleeping habits, good eating habits. I can’t drink too much coffee.

If you overload yourself, it doesn’t help.

(Poverty) means you can’t look after yourself. You don’t eat properly and your mind becomes tired. You get depressed and then you don’t function very well.

Alice Rogers, 52  –  Depression and anxiety

I feel some people misuse the word “mental.” It labels people they don’t know. I have been labelled, but I’ve come a long way as a “mental case.” I’m going to college now.

I tell them we’re not all alike. We want to be treated like people, too. But because you go to PARC, (they say) you are no good.

When you get support – that’s a big thing with mental illness – you get through. I have a great tutor and my husband helps me think positive. That really helps a lot.

Hazel Jackson, 53  –  Paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress syndrome

Mental health is a holistic thing, a balance between physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. I think it is meaningful employment – not necessarily a job – a home as opposed to a hostel or a hovel, and a supportive group of friends, family and a good community where you live.

In Parkdale our somewhat eccentric behaviour is tolerated – and God bless Parkdale for that!

Vida Mirari, 42  –  Manic depression and clinical depression

It’s important to live your truth and know who you are. At the end of the day, you have to be content with yourself. If you can’t do that, then that’s what brings on mental illness and strife, struggle and stress. What I learned is everybody can be susceptible to mental illness if the right circumstances happen. It’s a catchphrase people use.

I used to be ashamed of being mentally ill. I felt less than, not a part of society.

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