The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

October 8, 2013

Seeing past mental illness


For some patients, only correct medication and therapy that teaches good coping techniques will help. The disconnect may not be able to be defeated through willpower.

“For them to be manic and you tell them to calm down, it’s not going to happen,” Fiscella said, though some people can be walked through an episode. Depression requires more, too, than telling a patient to cheer up.

“There’s a feeling of hopelessness: ‘My family doesn’t want me, society doesn’t want me and I don’t like me the way I am,’” she said.

And it’s never going to get better, says a voice inside them. With a healthier individual, they may be able to tell that voice, “I can make things better.” It might even work. But, a patient treated for depression told the Courier, when I counter with positive self talk like that, telling myself that I am going to succeed, a voice says, “No you won’t. Ever. You should just kill yourself.”

That usually sounds like their own voice. For those dealing with delusions or psychosis, however, the talk may sound like it’s someone else.

“It can start off as whispering,” said Don, a member of the Promise Center whose last name is being left off due to medical privacy laws. “And it’s just as if someone were standing behind you, whispering, or talking in a normal voice.”

“If it is a voice,” added Andrew. “Sometimes, it’s a noise,” he said, imitating a repetitive grinding sound. “It’s very distracting.”

He knows that because he and Don have been two of the presenters of “Hearing Voices,” a program purchased by SIMH , they said. It’s an educational exercise that allows participants to experience a bit of what someone with certain mental illnesses might experience.

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