Mental Illness and ‘Expendable’ People

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), almost a quarter of adult Americans suffer some type of diagnosable mental illness in a given year.

They also state that mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada.

And that 45% of people with a mental disorder suffer from more than one mental illness at a time.… [Read more]

Legendary Sniper and Pal Take Marine with PTSD to Gun Range. What Could Go Wrong?

With all the talk about guns and mental health, and the post-traumatic stress syndrome of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, what better idea could one have than to grab your neighbor and take a homecoming Marine who has psychological problems out to a gun range and put a weapon in his hands.

What could possibly go wrong?… [Read more]

The Fake Tough Guys of the Gun Lobby

“Dirty” Harry Callahan had his .44 Magnum while James Bond preferred the sleeker Walther PPK. John Rambo and Tony Montana preferred larger automatics—the M60 E3 and M16 respectively. Omar Little and Ash Williams touted shotguns. And countless other action icons wield some type of Glock as their go-to firearm.

For decades now, possessing the bigger and badder gun has been a sign of toughness in American culture, most often associated with “manliness.”… [Read more]

New Rules will Challenge Laws Surrounding Mental Healthcare

According to the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), those suffering the loss of a loved one could be classified as depressed rather than bereaved, which was the old approach to such a catastrophic event. Now, exhibiting such characteristics as loss of appetite, lack of sleep, or irritability for more than two months after the passing of a loved one, a psychiatrist could prescribe medications for something entirely different from what the patient needs.… [Read more]

Getting Bent

Yesterday, I noticed a theme on my Facebook news feed; many of my ‘net friends were making posts about Straight-Edge. It soon became apparent that October 17th was Straight-Edge Day. I don’t know where the idea for this punk rock Hallmark holiday came from, but as with the Straight-Edge movement itself, everybody seems to have an opinion about it, and many maladjusted people looking for an excuse to get into an argument have found just that.… [Read more]

Questioning My Sanity, The Final Chapter

Another semester goes by and I ought to be feeling great. I’ve gotten straight A grades and a national honors award that could earn me admission and scholarship to any 4-year program I choose. Teachers and classmates are heaping on the praise, certain that I will make a great therapist. My bosses say I practically am one already, because the clients I’ve been assigned are really enjoying their time with me.… [Read more]

Questioning My Sanity, Part Tres

Halfway done with a 2-year Mental Health certificate program, with another 4 years of undergrad and 3 years of grad school to look forward to after that (if I want to get a “real” career and not have to beg for a couch to crash on ever again), and I’m already burning out. The dull and dry reading and writing assignments, the suspect perspectives being voiced in class discussions, the skewed theories that raise more questions than they answer; this wasn’t what I had signed up for.… [Read more]

Questioning My Sanity, Part Duex

In case you missed the first installment: At 24 years of age, after an impressively protracted derelict adolescence culminated in broke, broken, homeless desperation bad enough to make me feel sorry about how I was living, I figured it was time to “get it together.” So off I went to my community college to begin a career in “mental health” work, to get my head out of my punk ass and serve people with much bigger problems than mine.… [Read more]

Questioning My Sanity, Part One

There was a time in my life, a painfully misguided detour into the depths of insanity, during which I lost my way. A term which I have used more than once in this column, “quarter-life crisis,” could be used to describe what I experienced, but with one catch: for most people, this is the time in their lives they spend staving off the impending doom of adulthood by avoiding responsibility and commitment at all costs.… [Read more]

The Face-Eating Guy, The Collegiate Cannibal, and Why They Can Make Liberals Look Foolish

I think by now we have all read and heard about the zombie attack, sorry I mean face-eating horror, in Miami. But what you might not be familiar with is a Jeffrey Dahmer-esque murder in Maryland, which I read about in The Huffington Post. Some psycho college student thought it was a good idea to kill his roommate and then dine on part of his brain and all of his heart.… [Read more]