I’m not a person who takes on a cause de jour – I simply have too much self-preservation for that. I have enough going on without worrying about the plights of the world.
However, when someone tries to spread mistruths and tries to silence my voice, then I start to get peeved.
Case in point. Recently, the West Virginia University’s school paper, The Daily Athenaeum, printed an article about lifestyle factors and depression. And while I have no problem with that subject, the things they said therein were wrong and inexcusable.
And when they tried to silence my criticism of that article, I got peeved. I will not allow the voice of mental illness to be ignored simply because someone doesn’t like what we have to say.
Lifestyle Factors and Depression
I’m the first one to admit that lifestyle factors influence mental illness including depression. I’ve written about it many times and will continue to encourage people to help facilitate positive change in their lives in ways that complement their traditional healthcare.
However, this does not mean that lifestyle factors formally “treat” depression. This does not mean, as The Daily Athenaeum states, that depression can be fixed by a “walk in the park.”
Moreover, I will not stand for the notion that people with depression abuse their antidepressants and “add to the growing prescription drug abuse problem in the U.S.”
This is simply not the case. Taking a medically prescribed medication, as directed by a doctor, for a recognized illness, is not abuse, it’s treatment. Not to tote out the tired cliché, but it is no different than diabetics and insulin or epileptics and antiseizure (anticonvulsant) medication. These groups take prescribed medication for recognized conditions and do not “abuse” it simply by taking it.
Silencing the Voice of the Mentally Ill
Upon reading of my concerns, and the concerns of many of my readers, The Daily Athenaeum did what I consider to be completely unreasonable – they deleted all the comments and disallowed further commenting on the article.
They tried to shut me up and they tried to shut up the other mentally ill people who also had critical things to say.
This is not acceptable.
I will not allow reasoned and reasonable critiques to be vanished into thin air simply because the other party doesn’t like what I (or others) have to say. We, the mental illness community, are stronger than that. We need to stand up for our rights and hold journalists, yes, even ones in university, accountable for their words and their actions.
And that is what I’m doing now. I’m writing articles and sending letters to everyone tied to the paper until someone addresses the issue.
Please Help Me
I would love additional voices on this. If you would like to help, please read my coverage on my personal blog, the Bipolar Burble (not endorsed by, or affiliated with, HealthyPlace).
We are strong. And we are stronger together.