Attitudes about DepressionCFS Implications

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Slayadragon, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    A recent post made me realize something that I think is interesting.

    Even a decade ago, depression (especially bipolar and especially unipolar) was really, really stigmatized. Nobody wanted to admit having it, even to those people closest to them. Even Kay Jamison, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins who was a leader in writing about the area, went for a long time not telling anyone that she herself had the disease, until she finally worked up the courage to talk about it in about 1998.

    Now, it seems like depression and manic-depression are recognized as perfectly normal diseases, pretty much in the same category as any other disease. You get sick, you tell people, you seek out medical treatment (maybe with some psychotherapy too). Hopefully you get better. People feel bad for you if you don't. States are passing laws that insurance companies must pay for treatment of mental health disorders at the same level that they do any other disease, and doctors who do not treat it properly are considered not to be doing their jobs.

    In addition, there are lots of characters with bipolar disease and straight depression portrayed in the media. I've been watching DVD's of "Six Feet Under," and there are at least two people who are severely ill with depression/manic-depression. The characters are portrayed sympathetically, and no one questions whether they are "really" sick. The same thing seems to be the case in other media too.

    For a time I had my search engine on the NYT pull out articles mentioning the word "bipolar," but now they are so common that I don't bother to read most of them. Lots and lots and lots of people state that they are bipolar in profiles about themselves, with no negative repercussions. That one Kennedy used it as an explanation for his recent problems, and people by and large seemed sympathetic to the fact.

    It seems to me that CFS is where depression/manic-depression was 10 years ago. Doctors are recognizing that it is a real and treatable disease. More people are starting to learn about it and to realize that lots of people they know suffer from it. An increasing number of people with the disease are realizing that they have it, even though many are having a hard time figuring out how to manage it or get better. Many people with the disease are hesitant to admit it to other people for fear of being stigmatized, but this is slowly starting to change. Most medical doctors aren't sure what to do with sufferers, but they're at least trying to help them and to try to refer them to the right place.

    It thus seems to me that we're on the right path, and that within 10-15 years CFS (regardless of whether its name is changed) is going to be recognized as a real disease that people will be knowledgeable and sympathetic about. Hopefully strides will be made in treatment as well. I don't know if drugs are going to be the answer for CFS, but I do think that drug companies are going to put a lot more research into exploring the issue. With a high percentage of the population (isn't it something like 1-5%.....about the same as bipolar) disabled by the disease, and the level of disability being so high, there is a huge upside for drug companies to develop drugs that actually do help. I agree that drug companies in general tend to be rather greedy, but if that greed prompts them to develop drugs that are going to beneficial to us, more power to them. If there were drugs that really did help, cost wouldn't be that much of an issue since most of us would be able to go back to work and pay for them.

    Anyway, it suddenly struck me that there may be a light ahead for us and that things with regard to CFS are going to get a lot better within the foreseeable future. I'm always happy if I can come up with one new hopeful thought each day, and this one certainly counts....
  2. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I agree with you about depression having come a long way, baby, but you also make a good point that a lot of the reason for that is because the drug companies are pushing many drugs for depression.

    Still, I hang on with all my being to the belief that CFS/FM will one day be understood and we'll not only have answers but solutions. I get so tired of problems; I want solutions!!

    Marta