Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I spent the month of October, for the most part, bitchin' about the NFL and their insistence upon that stupid Crucial Catch Campaign.  I've read the book, seen the movie and hailed an athlete for standing up for his cause during Mental Health Awareness Week which happens to fall squarely in the midst of Pinktober.  League of Denial, Pink Ribbons Inc. and Brandon Marshall.

Long story short?  Thank you, Dan Marino for joining the lawsuit against the NFL about failing to take care of its own when it comes to concussions which may lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI), which, in some may lead to something called TBI induced psychosis.

Mental illness is stigmatized like no other disease.  People tend to forget that a disease of the brain is no different than, oh, let's say a diseased kidney which may require dialysis or in extreme cases, removal of one kidney, sometimes both, thus requiring a kidney transplant.  What do we do in the case of a diseased brain?

We blame the person.  We view it as a character flaw.  We think it's in the mind of the person suffering.  Let me state this. Emphatically.  Mental illness is NOT a disease of the mind.  It is not a disease that a slap and a "Snap out of it!" will cure.  It's complex.  It requires tremendous skill to properly diagnose the disease.  Proper diagnosis matters.  A.LOT.

Only then, can a psychopharmacologist whose patience is endless and whose ability to play with the paltry amount of medications available, step in and (hopefully) come upon a cocktail that will work without turning someone into a zombie or adding tons of weight or a myriad of other lovely side effects.  And that presumes the person whose brain is diseased believes they have a problem.  Use yours for a moment...... the very organ that provides us with the ability to understand and reason is the one that needs treatment.

What if that part of the brain that understands the logic of needing medication is affected?  I'll tell you.  Medications are not taken.  It's called anosognosia (lack of insight).  It's a huge problem and it affects far more people than most of us realize. Last I checked, we can't transplant brains so it will continue to be a growing problem until something drastic is done to shake things up from the top down.  And by the top, I mean a FEDERAL bill directing the uniform care of those who live with mental illness.  That would be HR3717 and don't even get me started on the fact that a well thought out bill written by Congressman Tim Murphy who is a licensed, practicing psychologist has been "rewritten" for a purpose that I still can't understand.  People before politics.  Period.

In events related to the NFL's attempt to sweep the concussion thing under the rug, or better, blame the players for not wanting to leave the game, there is another storm brewing and it's all about addiction.  Addiction to pain medication.  Rather than go off on another rant, suffice to say, allegedly (using that word while biting a hole in my tongue), the team doctors tend to dispense these meds rather freely and then, once sidelined from the big field, players are left with their addictions.  To deal with on their own.  Mental illness and addiction are under one umbrella (I happen to disagree with this line of thinking but another day for that......) thus, as long as this is the case, the issues are two arms of the same problem.

I applaud Dan Marino for using his stature and standing within the league to open his mouth on the concussion issue.  I hope that this October, the pink ribbons on football fields across this country will be replaced with lime green.

I know that won't be the case.

Pink sells.

And the NFL has made this much clear:

Only one shade of green matters and it's the shade found in our wallets.

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  1. AM - Have you heard Elyn Saks speak? She did a TED Talk. You can find it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/elyn_saks_seeing_mental_illness. She is a most amazing woman.

    1. Elyn Saks is amazing. I've seen her in video clips but I never saw the TED talk. Thanks so much for sharing that!!!! She has done so much for those living with mental illness by sharing her story.

      Hugs... AM

  2. dear Annemarie,

    thank you for speaking out once again on the atrocious and shameful manner our country chooses to minimize - diseases of the brain. I read the bill you cited - I wonder how many of our public servants have read it in it's entirety ?! I, too, applaud Dan Marino for joining the lawsuit and giving voice to something the NFL chose to ignore.

    much love and gratitude for your passionate advocacy,

    Karen xoxox

    1. Thanks, Karen...

      I read the bill, too but then, I think you already knew that because I was so incensed at the group who sat before congress having not read it. The bill is logical and puts the focus on those who should be on the receiving end of the massive funding. Instead, they sit in jails (mostly) or live on the streets (some) unless they are among a fortunate few. That's wrong on too many levels.

      As for Dan Marino, I was quite stunned and beyond grateful that he stepped up. My issue with the pinking of the NFL is not new, this just exposes it as the sham it's become. First, take care of your own and then, pander to the rest of us....

      Much love right back...



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