Friday, August 6, 2010

Grief is an Emotion, Not an "illness"


I don't often watch television since I've left behind "illness" for this new, full life of "wellness"...

I don't watch a lot of television but one day earlier this week I got home and flipped on the tv to a program on Oprah. The story was heart-wrenching - when he was just 9, Aaron's twin brother died of a brain tumor.

Aaron told his Mom that he "didn't want to be here anymore".

Aaron's Mom of course, calls the pediatrician who saved Aaron's life in more ways than one.

First, instead of labeling him "mentally ill" with "suicidal ideation" and "clinical depression" and so on....

she listened to him and heard his pain, saw his grief.

Then she helped Nate to make meaning from this horrendous loss and honor his brothers memory by using his pain to fuel his passion for cooking.

Grief is a normal human emotion....

a normal human response to loss

not an illness.

Aaron missed the "magic bullet" and the drugs that would have changed him and his life forever.

Three cheers and a whole bunch of hurrahs for a doctor who listened and allowed this boy his tears instead of labeling him "disordered" and giving him that lifetime membership to "Club MI".





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6 comments:

James Clayton said...

Very interesting. The idea that a child so young could end up in 'Club MI' for life, as you say, because he's not allowed to grieve is horrifying. I'm just glad that this wasn't the case here.

Generally speaking, the stigma and demonisation of feeling, emotion and grief in the Western world is wrong so stories like this are nice to hear. Thanks for posting this up!

Kent said...

I really enjoyed the article... written from the heart, as it should be. Well done!

^CKB

http://brookskent.wordpress.com

Follow me on Twitter! @brookskent

Susan said...

James - the medicating of children is increasing at an alarming rate. Normal human experiences are given prescriptions and parents are given pills for their kids instead of parenting when they "act out" their emotions.

Thanks for your comment and I so totally agree with you.

Susan said...

I appreciate your generous comment Kent; this is an issue very near and dear to my heart. Research is indicating that pharmaceutical companies are now investigating in utero testing for "mental illness" and defining and labeling infants as having "schizophrenia" before they are even born - and we still don't even have scientific evidence of mental illness in general.

What we do have is the pharma companies who have created their own paradigm that serves their purposes, increases suffering and is killing people on average 25 years before the average adult.

Yesterday in a meeting discussing Whitakres new book - a young mom told me that Human Services had informed her she either medicate her 2 year old with these drugs or the child would be taken from her by force so that they could force these drugs on him.

This is so wrong.

Thank you for your comment - and your support of this crucial issue.

brookskent said...

There is a phenominal article I read by a psychiatrist recently... called Mind Over Meds

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/25/magazine/25Memoir-t.html

It really speaks to this issue. I recommend it.

Susan said...

Kent - you last comment wound up in Bloggers new Spam filter....I just now found it and published it. Thanks for the suggestion - I'll take a look at it!