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Letter: People from all walks of life have mental illnesses

Many people have mental illnesses from all walks of life. Teachers, lawyers, businessmen, businesswomen and others you never would think have a mental illness. A lot of people don't realize that a mental illness is inherited from family members. Many people get mental illnesses from a traumatic experience beyond their control. A lot of accidents lead people into heavy depression due to the fact that they cannot walk anymore.

Let me share my story. I worked at McDonald's for one year doing maintenance and unloading trucks every five days. There were always 40 boxes of fries, seven or eight Coke tanks, plus all the other burgers, pies, fish, salad mix, milk, straws, cups, plates, rappers, etc. After a year of doing this one day I was taking out the trash and I pulled all my chest muscles and back muscles out. I was never to go back to work again. I was so depressed for two years. I had to have my family do everything. I could not cook, wash dishes, wash clothes, dry clothes, clean house. Yes, I appreciated all who did help me. It was hard when stuff we take for granted I could not do.

Then in 1993 I went to see a psychiatrist and a therapist. They helped me through a lot of tough times! I went to behavior therapy where we painted ceramics, cooked, and went on a monthly trip to the zoo, capitol or museums. I still have back and shoulder problems that require shots. With my medicine for mental illness people can have a normal life. Many of them can even work in the workforce.

They have behavioral health at Stevens Community Medical Center or Lakeland Mental Health in Fergus Falls. If you have a mental illness and want to meet people you are welcome to come to the Drop-In Center at 15 E. Second Street in Morris, open Tuesday – Friday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Friday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. We do a lot of activities including bowling, movies, going out to eat a restaurants as a group, play pool, play games, read magazines and visit with others and the center. The Drop-In Center was open five years last October.

Also I want to share the second Tuesday of every month is Conversations. They meet in Hoffman. You can meet people from Stevens County, Wheaton, Elbow Lake, Glenwood and Alexandria who come and discuss mental health issues. Also in town we have a Local Advisory Council meeting once a month which keeps everyone up to day on things. They also have a booth at the fair every year which is a lot of fun to work with.