The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

October 8, 2013

Seeing past mental illness

OTTUMWA — It’s not laziness, weakness of character or loose morals that drives the actions of those battling mental illness, say local mental health professionals and their patients.

Social worker Angie Fiscella said she’s still surprised at the way, even in the 21st century, the public acts toward those with mental illness. They may not understand that it’s just what it says: An illness, usually involving brain function. And yes, she said, that can affect how a patient speaks, acts and thinks.

“People see someone in a wheelchair, and don’t expect them to get up and do stuff,” she said Tuesday. “But there’s not that level of understanding with mental health.”

Fiscella was helping at the Promise Center in downtown Ottumwa, a type of clubhouse where those with mental health issues can be in a safe place with others who won’t be judgmental. The voluntary “drop in” center is funded by Southern Iowa Mental Health. There are games, videos and snacks, but the most common activity is visiting; sitting on one of the many couches or chairs and chatting.

Just like other disorders, mental illness can be mild, moderate or severe, Fiscella said. And depending on medication adjustments, that level can change. Which means that someone you might never think of as having any health issues whatsoever could become agitated one day as their body adjusts to the change. That, and normal changes in brain chemistry can cause good or bad days.

“You may ask yourself, ‘Oh no. What have I done?’” said Fiscella about seeing a co-worker or friend get upset.

A simple comment may trigger rage, with foul language or slamming of doors from someone who never acts that way.

“Don’t take it personally,” she said, explaining that at that moment, it’s a matter of control, or lack of control.

Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0417 OTT Beth Howard color cover -L -T -M 'Ms. American Pie' tours with her new book

    ELDON — With many hours and countless miles on her RV "The Beast," Eldon's pie lady, Beth Howard, is celebrating the release of her new book with a tour of southwestern states. Howard's second book, "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bol

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • County signs law enforcement agreement with Eddyville OTTUMWA — A law enforcement service contract between Wapello County and the city of Eddyville received supervisors' approval on Tuesday. Beginning July 1, Eddyville will pay the Wapello County Sheriff’s office $3,833 per month or $45,996 for law enfo

    April 15, 2014

  • County considers hiring conservation aide OTTUMWA — On Tuesday morning, Wapello County Board of Supervisors will consider hiring a part-time conservation aide at its weekly board meeting. The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the board’s meeting room located on the third floor of the c

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Brush fire color photo 2 -T Brush fire breaks out on east side of city OTTUMWA — Late Friday morning, a fire broke out in a vacant area of trees and brush next to the Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility. Both the Wapello County Rural Fire Department and Ottumwa Fire Department were called to the scene of the fire,

    April 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wapello County Courthouse.jpg Courthouse to receive facelift

    OTTUMWA — First, Chief Wapello received a facelift. Now, it’s the county courthouse’s turn. On Tuesday evening, Wapello County Board of Supervisors approved spending $139,000 for repair and maintenance of the historic courthouse. Karr Tuckpointing o

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Another health care option OTTUMWA — If you didn't get your "mandatory" health insurance by the deadline earlier this week, you may have another option. Or two. "I'd certainly keep trying," said Greg Kenning, a Wapello County supervisor. He said it's his understanding that the

    April 2, 2014

  • Trial set in child pornography case OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa man accused in a child pornography case will go on trial this summer. Rass Kerby Jr., is charged with enticing a minor to engage in a sex act or simulated sex act and possession of media of a minor engaged in a sex act. He was a

    April 2, 2014

  • Wanted: People who love history OTTUMWA — If you have a love for history, Wapello County has an interest in you. Wapello County Board of Supervisors is considering withdrawing from the State Historical Society’s Certified Local Government program unless interested people are willin

    April 1, 2014

  • 0530 OTT flood damaged bridge -L Bridge repair tops county's 5-year plan

    OTTUMWA — Road construction in Wapello County will be taking on a different look in the next three years. On Tuesday, County Engineer Brian Moore told the Wapello County Board of Supervisors bridge replacement will be a high priority. “We’ll have a h

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0321 OTT animal rescue league update color photo -L -M Animal van trial set

    OTTUMWA — Trial has been scheduled in the case that preceded the rescue of hundreds of animals in Drakesville. Roger Blew, 45, of Drakesville, has pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges he faced in Ottumwa. Police charged Blew with one count

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National