I am an intelligent, articulate, kind and mildly crazy individual. I have lived a lot of life, and suffered through more than most. When I was younger I used to cry and cry over the injustices I saw in the hand I was dealt. "It's just not fair!" I'd cry each night. As an adult I've grown to know that it wasnt fair, but sometimes that's just the way life goes. My saving grace has been that I do believe that everything happens for a reason. When I ask myself today why I am so broken, the answer may be so that I can help others get fixed. A very close friend of mine thinks I could fill a book with my experience, which is probably true. She also seems to think that something I have to say could be of use to someone out there in the wide world. This idea gives me great hope. So with that thought in mind I'd like to start by defining more formally one of my most favorite terms relating to mental health. brain disease.
brain disease: (n) a condition implied by any combination of a set of internally originating symptoms which result in decreased functionality, mentally, emotionally or psychologically, often marked by impaired cognitive function, altered personality expression and adversely effected mood, as well as generalized physical side effects.
Clearly any specified area of mental health, or illness, can fall under this definition, but this definition doesn't require all of the specific components which make it up. For example: I have a brain disease. Simple, straight forward, and drives home the point that I struggle with some aspect of my psychological wellness. Most specifically I suffer from chronic depression, generalized anxiety disorder, ACA & codependency issues, post traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and drug addiction. I think that covers it all, but what a terrible mess that sounds like. One of the problems I've always had with psychology is the endless terminology necessary to describe a particular set of conditions. Given all of this information one might expect a broken down lunatic in a psyc ward, I, however, am a generally fully functional human being with a brain disease, fighting the good fight, more days than not. One could argue that the term mentally ill captures all of the same things which would fall under the term brain disease, but who wouldn't agree that there is a strong and negative stigma attached to the very idea of mental illness. In my own world I need something that says, 'yes I'm a little broken, but it's ok'. I need something that says 'my growth has been retarded, but I am not a defect'.