Mental Ailments v. Physical Ailments

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  • With me having both a mental and a physical disability, I've come to notice how the two are treated very differently, both by the health profession and by people in general.

    I feel that people can be more understanding with a physical ailment - it is visible, it is obvious - and allowances are made by people and will help where they can - be it helping you with something, or cutting you a little slack. Whereas with a lot of the mental issues, either people don't know what to do, or don't take it quite as seriously - you get typical reactions like "oh you'll manage", "get on with it", or "he's putting it on, there's nowt wrong with him". This kind of thing isn't doesn't seem to happen with a physical disability in my experience.

    Even in the Health Profession, it doesn't take a high priority at all. I know the budgets are tight or non existent in the NHS, but when you see three quarters of the local health team made redundant, it is quite telling of what priorities they take. Yet during bad financial times, good mental health care is needed more than ever...

    Of course those that know and understand the problems are more than happy to help with both, my circle of friends, and the majority of people on here are very good and understand (OK so there is a bit of banter, which I'm fine with :)). I'm talking really about Joe Public - is it something that anyone else has noticed, or am I just picking up on something that doesn't happen? And how can we change it? I like to be very open with things that I struggle with, do you think that is more of a help or a hinderance?

  • i suffer with mental health issues hun
    as does my son .i think its a case of if you cant see it it dont exist to a lot of people
    and i also find that what ever physical ailment i go docs wirh he always puts everything down to my mental state
    my son has a really good understanding support worker ...we definatley need more hun

  • I know exactly what you mean and I feel that the new changes taking place have relegated mental health to a much lower standing. I feel like I have been put through the wringer recently and there is no doubt that it is affecting me both mentally and physically. I have never felt so stigmatised and victimised as I am today and my mental health problems were diagnosed nearly 30 years ago! I genuinely feel like I am under attack, that this government is going out of their way to make ALL disabled feel like they are a personal burden on our society, like it is our fault that the economy is in such a shit state. The mention of those 3 little words, "mental health problems" seems to send everyone running for the hills or bolting their doors more than ever.

  • It is a fear of the big unknown, which automatically scares some folk. I suppose being open about it makes some of us more understanding, I assume that it is like grief, unless you have lost someone really close to you, you can never begin to understand how someone else feels, and mental health is the same. Joe Public, and myself, find it hard to understand......... It does not mean we don't care, just we find it hard to perceive your thoughts and feeling. It takes a very special person to be a carer or support worker.

  • I agree that people who have not "been there" don't really totally understand - which is why the best Mental Health Nurses/Samaritans or Mind Volunteers are the ones who have been through some really dark shit and can relate to what is going on.

    Yes, quite a few people do "run for the hills", however the more I am open with things, and the more that I work on issues, the more I can sort out who are truly my friends from those who are just "fair weather" types who leg it at the first sign of trouble.

    Sensamelia - interesting how your Doc puts everything down to your mental state... my GP has suggested that a lot of my depression is down to my Fibromyalgia (and other physical probs). The two are very much interlinked, and one feeds the other into a spiral of doom!

  • As I'm sure you know, I experience a lot of the same shit.
    I've been having such awful times with my physical health which is seemingly down to the fibromyalgia and osteomalacia and reynauds. But everything gets blamed on the fibro, which is invisible.
    When I'm out with my stick or crutches, I get fussed by people wanting to help me. Without this visible aid, I am shoved about in public, ignored, passed over, etc. I've been evaluating this over the last two months which have been the worst for me because of the lack of warmth.

  • Quote

    and i also find that what ever physical ailment i go docs wirh he always puts everything down to my mental state

    This happens to me and it pisses me off so much. Garenteed if I go to the doctors about any physical problem that does not appear to have an immediate solution it is all in my head and a symptom of my personality disorder... despite being actually quite mentally well these days.

  • I think that with some able bodied people, unless they can clearly see the phyisical disability, they don't perceive it to be true, therefore in one's head, thus imagining it to be exaggerated or an imaginary disability.
    This is very insulting to the disabled person, making them feel angry & frustrated, by not being respected or believed & makes them feel as though they're going mental.
    Just wanting to be believed and accepted for who they are & what they're unable to do, despite 'looking well' & 'able bodied'.
    Some people need to display a degree of compassion & understanding & try to walk a mile in the shoes of others first, before making 2 + 2 make 5...
    It is often wiser & best, not to condemn that which is misunderstood until the mile has been walked firstly.

    The Greatness of a Nation Can Be Judged By the Way it's Animals Are Treated..

    Gandhi.. :respect:

  • I agree that people who have not "been there" don't really totally understand - which is why the best Mental Health Nurses/Samaritans or Mind Volunteers are the ones who have been through some really dark shit and can relate to what is going on.

    If you lost one of your legs, would you say that only a one-legged doctor was competent to understand your situation and help you?
    Obviously not! I have no doubt that mental health is taken less seriously than physical problems, and people's attitudes in this regard often stink, but I wonder if going in with the attitude that they cannot understand or help you does not perpetuate the problem? You have yourself decided that mental health problems are different from physical because you need a nurse who has had the same problem, whereas no one would consider this necessary for physical ailments.
    Good medical training should mean that a nurse does not need to have been mentally ill to help. Arguably, if the nurse *has* had mental problems, this could be said to colour the diagnosis, or even, if not completely cured, to impinge.

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting