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to ask what you think 'severe mental illness' means?

(74 Posts)
ButteryPie Thu 28-Jul-11 19:47:12

Something recently has made me think that most people think it means something different to what I think it means. So, if someone said they were unable to work due to suffering from a severe mental illness, they had children and a dp who works part time, what is your assumption?

(please don't worry about offending me etc - I'm genuinely intrigued as to what people think from that sentance, whether more detail is needed, etc)

GypsyMoth Thu 28-Jul-11 19:47:54

detached from reality and a danger to themselves/others?

thisfantasticvoyage Thu 28-Jul-11 19:49:20

Something more than depression - severe depression, psychosis, bio-polar, schiziophenia or a diagnosed Personality Disorder.

ButteryPie Thu 28-Jul-11 19:49:25

And please do feel free to jump to wild conclusions - that is what I want. Wondering if I've just attracted a load of strange people or if I should have been less vague.

StealthPolarBear Thu 28-Jul-11 19:49:55

"if someone said they were unable to work due to suffering from a severe mental illness, they had children and a dp who works part time, what is your assumption?"

Not sure what you're actually asking, sorry.
I suppose I would assume it had a sever impact on their life - so being completely unable to work would qualify. Being unlikely to ever recover would be another (in the same way as I'd class any severre illness). Having regular, often appointments about it.

StealthPolarBear Thu 28-Jul-11 19:50:44

sorry what I meant was not sure where the children and the part time working DP fit in

ButteryPie Thu 28-Jul-11 19:51:03

And would it change your perception if you were reading a piece of writing by that person that seemed sensible?

LineRunner Thu 28-Jul-11 19:51:36

What the fuck has having a working partner got to do with the definition or diagnosis?

bubblesincoffee Thu 28-Jul-11 19:52:50

I would think they had such deep depression that they simply couldn't get out of bed or out of the house.

I would have thought that with anything more severe, like schitzophrenia or any of the other serious psychiatric disorders, they wouldn't have children in the house and the partner would be unable to work part time.

Memoo Thu 28-Jul-11 19:52:55

I had episodes of psychosis and ended up having a stay in a psych hospital. I consider that 'severe mental illness'

StealthPolarBear Thu 28-Jul-11 19:53:09

no, not at all. I can't imagine any situation wjhere I'd think "this person cannot have a mental illness because..."
(Unless they were wrting X's guide to happiness and inner peace I suppose)

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Thu 28-Jul-11 19:53:34

To me, severe mental illness is of a nature that restricts your life or makes you vulnerable or stops you from functioning normally in society and, in rare cases, makes you a potential danger to yourself or others. Those few people who are a danger, always have severe mental illness. (Most people with mental illness, even severe mental illness, are not a danger and I don't think they are, I want to make that clear)

StealthPolarBear Thu 28-Jul-11 19:53:36

oh iswym bubbles

msrisotto Thu 28-Jul-11 19:54:22

What Memoo said

TotalChaos Thu 28-Jul-11 19:54:30

that someone had a mental illness that met the criteria for severe as dx'ed by a psychiatrist or psychologist. implicit would be that, untreated, it was having a massive adverse effect on their quality of life. I wouldn't see that as incompatible with having a partner/children/being able to put together a coherent piece of writing.

AgentZigzag Thu 28-Jul-11 19:55:50

Just off the top of my head, and it's only my opinion, but I would say someone who is unable to carry out some basic life tasks needed to keep them safe, keeping themselves clean/fed, not able to meet the needs of their children, maybe isolated from the rest of society either in a physical sense or in their mind.

Severe to me means they're struggling a lot with 'life'.

About your last post, no, it wouldn't change my perception because I think most mental illnesses go through phases and doesn't mean you can't be intelligent or coherent.

Tchootnika Thu 28-Jul-11 19:55:58

Probably I would think the same as ILoveTIFFANY ...
That said, 'severe' when said by the sufferer might well not be 'severe' as described by doctors, etc., IYSWIM.
So if it was sufferer referring to 'severe' MI, then I'd just take it that there are MH issues, but I wouldn't read much more into it.

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 28-Jul-11 19:56:24

My mother is suffering from a severe mental illness at the moment. It means that she cannot function normally.

She has anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia, has been prescribed cbt and citalopram by her GP. I consider this to be severe. If she was of working age rather than retired she would have been signed off work for 8 weeks and counting ...

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 28-Jul-11 19:56:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubblesincoffee Thu 28-Jul-11 19:57:52

I'm probably worng Stealth! There weren't any other posts when I started thinking and wrote that. smile

I would think someone with severe mental illness would be more capable of doing some good writing than they would be able to look after children, and that ability would depend on the illness. There are lots of them!

spiderpig8 Thu 28-Jul-11 19:58:01

I would porbably think they were depressed or had some sort of anxiety state (only because I think they are the most common mental illnesses) which meant they weren't able to cope with, or their condition was caused by work..I wouldn't feel it had any bearing on their ability to write sensibly at all.

ButteryPie Thu 28-Jul-11 19:58:23

I'm trying to not give too many details to confuse things as it is this one issue I'm wondering about. It just seemed that those facts got misunderstood - it was worded something like 'I can't work due to a severe mental illness, my husband only works part time and we have two children, so money is tight' and people jumped to assumptions. (I knew they would, but I thought they would be different ones, iyswim - neither are overly important, I just think maybe I put it across badly and want to do better)

spiderpig8 Thu 28-Jul-11 19:58:34

Although I would keep in mind that their POV might be influenced by their mental state

CustardCake Thu 28-Jul-11 19:58:47

If someone said that to me exactly as you posted them my assumption would be that the person is completely unable to function on most levels or to be left alone at all. That their mental state is not only fragile but potentially makes them harmful or a danger to themselves or the people around them. That this is not a temporary situation but a long term and very serious medical condition requiring strong medication (possibly that by force) and supervision. That's what I would think.

And if that person appeared to be able to write something very coherently I would probably assume their condition gives them moments of clarity or that my perception of serious mental illness must be wrong.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 28-Jul-11 19:58:49

I would require a lot more detail as it would depend on the precise diagnosis and whether the condition is treatable with medication.

Is there someone you are particulary concerned about, perhaps with regard to their ability to care for their children while their dp is working? Or do you suspect that they have exaggerated, or are exaggerating, the severity of their mental illness?

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