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Advocacy

“It’s about opening up the doors and ending the shadow of discrimination against the mentally ill.”

-Patrick Kennedy 

Today’s news is quite uplifting.   And the 268-148 vote does speak to the dire need to continue towards enacting mental-health parity and mandating health insurance coverage equal to that of physical illness for mental health  and addiction.  I think Paul Wellstone would be encouraged to see some progress being made after nearly a decade of back and forth bi-partisan bickering and huge corporate influence , (and currently, to no one’s surprise, big-ph-arm Eli Lilly  is really throwing a tantrum!), to strangle this vital legislation.

And there are plenty of critics who are rallying this victory as “mental-health insanity” and clearly looking only at their own financial dunk, but it’s truly time to stop stigmatizing those with mental illness who clearly need the same standard of quality care and treatment that any sane society would not withhold or financially ruin one with personally while working towards full health, healing and recovery.

I, unfortunately live in a state that does not currently have mental-health parity- yet.  But I was impressed to read an in depth study done last spring by the La Follette School of Public Affairs in our state, that despite not having all the conclusive data to make absolute recommendations regarding mental-health parity, has incredibly convincing and thought-provoking details putting to bunk some of the primary reasoning against implementing mental-health parity that I would encourage anyone interested in advocating for mental health disparity to read.   These studies really can be applied and adapted for further critique and implemented across all states, so that we will eventually see more than thirteen states that have adopted mental-health parity law.

-shanti

ADHD and Me

Does this sound familiar?

“It’s nearly always easier to relate to someone who’s been through it than a so-called expert who may have clinical or scientific knowledge but not real experience.”

“ADHD –  _____ (substitute any subcategory of an eating disorder in here) is a real condition…  It’s not laziness or bad parenting…  When it’s carefully diagnosed the problems are quite serious, and the effects on ones life can be devastating.”

“There are so many qualities that come along with ADHD: intelligence, high energy, the ability to accomplish a lot, creativity, passion for cause, innovativeness, trustworthiness, etc.  But the trick is you have to learn how to live with it and harness it.  It is a difference.  Realize you have lots of company.”

College freshman, BlakeTaylor  has written an earnest and significant memoir:  ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table (Laura, how about some gold forks and fire at the Dinner Table?) and his story is testament to living a life to its fullest despite some definite challenges and changes along the way.

There’s a poignant evolution in language, terminology- 1902- “Morbid Defect of Moral Control”* 1968- “Hyper-kinetic Reaction of Childhood”* 1980- Attention Deficit Disorder* 1990- ADD-  and awareness that has taken place over the past hundred-plus years which, similar to Eating Disorders, has also expanded studies and research broadening the level of understanding Attention Deficit Disorder has arrived at today.  But as within eating disorders, the labeling and categorizing hasn’t critically changed perceptions and stereotypes that still pervade within society, or within extensivley improving treatment strategies for these disorders which have profound impact upon an individuals development, quality of life, and effects within the entire family.  

Mr Taylor states that he didn’t set out to write a book, and from accounts,  it appears his story is a first within an autobiographical narrative living with ADHD.  On that end, eating disorders has a bit of an edge with various self-help books, and courageous personal stories of recovery:  Carrie Arnold’s   Next To NothingNadia Shivali’s   Inside Out among many others; although the male voice is not equally as strong or heard on this end currently.

I think what’s incredibly powerful and uniting is the message of “encouraging people to get the support and help they need” that Mr Taylor emphasizes, as too the many who have recovered from an eating disorder state over and over again- you don’t have to do this alone, and YOU CAN DO IT! Blake’s mother, Nadine, shares another message many parents who help their children battle an eating disorder know all to well also: advocating for your loved one.

Congratulations Blake Taylor for your courage, honest words, and changing minds regarding living a kick-ass life with ADHD- I wish you the best towards your degree in molecular/cell biology, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your future writings on various genres soon.  I also extend kudos to all the brave and resilient voices who have written about their journey through recovery from an eating disorder, and hope those who might feel isolated or uncertain where to turn for support,  find strength and encouragement through amazing individuals such as these.

For Keeps      Some reviews have been posted for Victoria Zackheim’s new anthology   For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older and Acceptance  worth taking a look at as well and reading her latest work. 

Words and our collective voices have the power to heal.  Of course that task is not so straight forward in ED recovery of our children, but they too need to find their way back to their true Selves pre/post-ED; get beyond the entrenched self-loathing, negative self-talk perpetuated by malnutrition and rigid/ritualized behaviors.  And through regaining their health, with continued love and support, they begin to slowly find their own sense of strength, determination, self-acceptance and healing.

Zackheim’s collection of essays is especially meaningful for mothers and daughters,  reconnecting to one another and finding joy vs abhorrence through our stages of Life and change, which society and our culture still seem hellbent on perpetuating unrealistic ideals.

Parents need to maintain a sense of themselves, separate through their child’s recovery from an eating disorder.  They need to take time for themselves, self-care/self-love, and for one another, as a family with other siblings, and within a marriage, relationship.  It’s important to find others who support and comfort you through your child’s illness, and other parents who share your struggle are absolutely invaluable in helping one another which culminates its own collective of powerful and healing stories.

Shanti-

End Health Discrimination
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