Tag Archives: depression

Emotional Support Animals- Fact or Fraud?

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Despite not growing up with any due to my father’s allergies, I love animals; I have a wonderful bunny named Snickers whom I love dearly.

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I adopted Snickers from the Guelph Humane Society when I was struggling from depression. I had not planned on getting any type of animal, but when I was visiting the Humane Society with my “little sister” I fell in love. I had no specific intentions when I adopted Snickers, he was not planned, but he ended up providing me with an amazing service. I have no doubt in my mind that I would not have gotten through my depression as fast without my furry companion. He was a distraction, a source of laughter, and a responsibility. There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did because Snickers needed to be fed, or needed his cage cleaned. If you had asked me before I got him about the benefits of animal companions I probably wouldn’t have believed that they could be so helpful. But, according to Patricia Marx of the New Yorker, I’ve been doing it all wrong.

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Is Mental Illness a Free Pass?

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Last month a Toronto man was charged with online stalking (including threats and harassment), but will serve no jail time. His defense: mental illness.

In early December, after Metro’s initial story was published and before he was arrested, Sopinka contacted Metro and wrote that he had gone off his medication for the past year, but checked into a hospital after the story came out. He said his mental health had affected his decisions.

“Most communication with Bruno, save for the last week, has been done while I was in a “down” mood and wanting her to feel the anguish I felt at the time. This is why any comments about rape or her brother occurred, as those are particular emotional pain points for any human,” he wrote.

I understand why someone who suffers from a serious mental illness would be put into a mental institution instead of prison. I can also understand why someone suffering a break from reality would be spared the same fate as someone whose actions were intentional. The basis of these decisions is usually whether or not the person was aware that what they were doing was wrong. But have we gotten to a point were we will use any excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our actions?

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Suicide and Social Media

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When I heard about Robin Williams’ death my heart sank. Like so many others, I felt as though I had lost a piece of my childhood. It seemed tragic that a man who made so many people happy was so sad. But it also hit me in another way, a way that only someone who has been depressed can understand. I am well acquainted with the dark recesses of depression and the suicidal thoughts that litter one’s mind. Luckily, somehow, I managed to drag myself out of it, but I know that I could easily slide back in given the right circumstances.

My twitter feed was full of comments and hopes that Robin Williams had found peace. Somewhat surprisingly, I did not see the tweet that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent out that said “Genie, you’re free” until I came across this article.

When I was battling depression social media was only in it’s infancy. I didn’t have to worry as much about “copycat suicides” or romanticized accounts of  high-profile deaths. I didn’t even realize that this was a thing. Upon reflection I can see how these issues could be worrisome and that perhaps, suggesting that death is a positive end to suffering, might be problematic for those who are still suffering. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that these thoughts didn’t come to mind for me.

One thing that did raise my spirits despite the tragic circumstances: the number of positive messages. 10 years ago I mostly kept my depression to myself. Most people I knew thought depression was just being really sad, or that I could “cure” myself if I tried hard enough. The notion that it was a chemical disorder was not widely accepted and people who were depressed were considered weak. This past month I have seen some negative comments, but they are so tremendously outnumbered by comments from people who seem to be getting it. We have a long way to go, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Equality or Special Treatment?

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Yesterday Jay and I got into a debate about how society should treat the disabled. However, the conversation really started a couple of years ago after I heard his step-dad’s famous France story. His step-dad had polio as a child and, as a result, doesn’t have full use of his right leg. He walks around with a cane, but is still fairly mobile. Many years ago while in France he was waiting with his family (including Jay) in the long line up for The Louvre. After a very short time someone from the museum came rushing up to them (seeing the cane) and said that they shouldn’t have to stand in the long line up (out in the sun). They were whisked to the front of the line.

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