The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

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
Ottumwa
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National