Now that I’ve had a few days to process my time at the NAMI convention in Denver, I’m struck by several impressions. It was an extremely well-organized event with so many instructional sessions that I couldn’t possibly have visited them all.
I also had the opportunity to talk to many consumers in the mental health field and their stories were fascinating. But it is the stories I heard from the caretakers of those family members with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders that made me realize how many heroes there are across this country.
I had once been a caretaker of a severely depressed person, my husband, who I talk about in my book, The Face Of Depression, so I know first-hand how exhausting and difficult it can be to care for a loved one over time. And some of the brave people I met have quietly cared for family members for many years. It seems a huge “shout-out” is appropriate for them.
And the third impression I have been thinking about is that while depression is talked about more and more, there is still a deep stigma when it comes to talking about people with schizophrenia and bi-polar disease. We need, I think, to remember to talk about these illnesses at the same time that we talk about depression.
Why are we making such a distinction? I’d like to hear your thoughts.