Voice Card  -  Volume 25  -  Drury Card Number 11  -  Sun, Jun 21, 1992 2:38 PM

This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 24 John 6 ("Mind Injuries")...


I hope you are wrong about there being ALOT of people "out there" with serious mind injuries. There are certainly NOT alot of physical handicaps out there. Next time you pull up to the grocery store, look at how many spaces are set aside for handicap parking.

I can't believe there would be A LOT of mentally disabled people. If I review the people I know in my work place - there is NOT one in fifteen with a serious mind injury. (Yumi and I can name one with an interesting personality. I did lose the bet, she has stayed married over 9 months now!) They all work with each other to varying degrees and complete expected tasks to each one's ability. All appears in the norm to me.

I can't even drag up a mental handicap from my vet school class of 130. No, I do know of one alcoholic - she does have a serious illness (and she is a native American, so she seems to have little tolerance for the stuff). Of course I also know of four veterinarians who are "recovered" alcoholics. They seemed to have healed.

There are certainly variations in personalities and some people seem more callous or clingy in their interpersonal relationships. Is this variation an illness? How many of us, Archipelagans, are suffering a debilitating mental injury? By my count, mental illness appears at a rate of 1:153. So, I'll get breast cancer or injured in a car accident before I'll suffer a debilitating mental injury. To compare this with physical handicaps, I know two from this same group. So, one can't lift a 30 pound dog to the exam table and the other now has one kidney making it risky to carry a child.

I am sure that somewhere in this group of people, there are some that had been abused as children or sexually assaulted or (and I know this) beaten by their spouse. They healed in the eyes of the work place and their professional community. Several in this group have also undergone major surgery for physical injuries and are now healed by those same eyes.

I am even reviewing the people I have known as "friends" over the years. I must not have as strict a definition of mental illness as you. Yes, one college roommate successfully commited suicide and I believe that my ex-husband is an addict (he doesn't). This is over a life-time! I don't remember anyone that has been for long periods of time suffering a mental handicap.

I do believe that most everyone will feel mentally injured and act in socially unacceptable ways because of some trauma at some time in their lives. But, do they carry it forever? No, the mind heals! Even women who have been rape victims or physically abused by their spouses, have healed! Sure for long periods of time they may not have acted "normally" -afraid of men, the dark, going outside. But after counseling, many finally go on with their lives. The ones who don't are truly handicaped! But I don't believe this is in anyway a majority or A LOT.

I "stand" by my statements. MOST "mind injuries" will heal. And some of us may even "pick" at them for a while, but they do heal. I review my marriage and the suicide of my roommate periodically. I can make both of these incidences sound like the cause of any present dysfunction, but they are not. They do give me the insight to emotions others go through when facing similiar situations. They have not crippled me. Parents don't need to be paranoid about raising their children. An occassional belittling remark or punishment for something the kid did not do or even an overbearing, non-physical mother like mine, is not going to get you a Jeffery Dalmer!

Maybe we should try to define mental illness? Of course, maybe we aren't even talking "mental" illness. Is the lithium-controlled manic depressant really "mentally" or physically ill? Perhaps we should inventory our group for childhood abuses? Maybe you didn't understand my original statements?

"I believe that, like our physical body, the "mind" can heal itself. You cannot blame your parents for "mind" injuries, because most of those will heal just like the scraped knees and elbows. There certainly are exceptions like physical abuse and the other weirdnesses that surface on the TV news. These are like a spinal injury that keeps one in a wheelchair. The majority of our "mind" injuries will heal, if we stop "picking" at them!"

I believe your friend falls under the category of the exceptions like physical abuse. She is handicapped and like the wheelchair bound paraplegic, she may never be able to walk again.