Mental illness now public


To the Editor:

Now, more than ever before, the subject of mental illness and its treatment has entered the public conversation.  Sports radio call-in shows feature advertisements for online therapy, and great athletes, actors and entertainers speak with regularity about their struggles. Still, there are many who suffer alone when help is available. The stigma confronting those who encounter this form of affliction is real and persistent.

I can only offer my own perspective that success in overcoming even the most daunting of mental health issues is indeed possible. To begin with all forms of timetables might be dispensed with. These things do take time.

As a next step, it is worth accepting that the science of psychotherapy is not perfect.  The well-meaning individuals who take up this line of work don’t have all the answers.  They too are fallible human beings always worthy of understanding and forgiveness. You simply have to stick at it.

Speaking for myself, the key has been to work at replacing negative emotions for their positive opposite, day by day. Easier said than done. I had to stop fighting, trying to change others or the past or even the future. Rather, I had to learn that only the present is real and it should be accepted, ideally with a sense of humor. Certainly, I fall short of this mark, even in writing, but this too is a goal to be ever sought after, ever approached, if never fully realized.

The question of whether or not to stand openly as a man recovering from a serious mental illness remains unresolved. There are many situations when electing to stand behind the persona of the more integrated and successful position I have attained is tempting.

I too continue to face society’s judgment when I come forward with too much conviction. I do know, however, that just for today, things are better, and that there is much hope in that.

Josh Greenfield

mental illness, Josh Greenfield, psychotherapy, health