No Shit, Sherlock

I should be reading for class right now, which, in and of itself is pretty fucking cool. I can’t believe how thrilled I am to have syllabi to stay caught up on. And yes, the first week of school blog post will be up shortly, but… right this moment I’m kinda pissed. It’s the good kind of pissed. The kind that will wedge itself in my brain somewhere like a little corn kernel of TNT, and at a more appropriate moment, explode into action.

I’m really open about being the child of a severely depressed parent. So when the Urban Institute published Infants of Depressed Mothers Living in Poverty, I had to read it.

This is the abstract:

This brief offers a first-time national look at the characteristics, access to services, and parenting approaches for infants living in poverty whose mothers are depressed. Results reveal that eleven percent of infants living in poverty have a mother suffering from severe depression. At the same time, many of these families are connected to services, such as WIC, health care services, food stamps, and TANF, presenting opportunities for policymakers and service providers to help these families. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation funded this research as part of an Urban Institute project identifying service strategies to help connect depressed mothers with treatment.

You know what pisses me off? The first sentence: A first-time national look. Wow. Really? I have wondered so many times how different our lives would have been if my mom could have been treated. Especially about my brother. In reading the study, all I could see was my little brother. I know my mom thinks about it too. Within the last 5 years she has finally received the treatment she has needed most of her adult life. And it’s because we moved to the Bay Area where Mental Health services are available to poor people. Oh the horrors of socialized healthcare!! She says to me sometimes, “If I felt the way I do now back when you guys were kids, everything would have been different.” Ya, no shit.

So that is what I have to say to the people who need to read a study like this in order to support social healthcare policy. No shit. The Washington Post reported on the study. Again, nothing new to the infant who grew up in the cycle they are detailing. Jezebel blogged about the Washington Post article and the part worth reading is the comments section where mine (as the child),  and my mother’s (as in the depressed mom) story is told over and over. I even got the title for this post from one of the commenters. This study is a “no shit study” where people already know this happening, they just needed data to support it.

Untreated depression kills people, destroys families and has long lasting consequences. The fact that mental illness disproportionally affects those in poverty should not be surprising to anybody. The fact that people opposed to socialized healthcare don’t really give a shit should be more disturbing, and it pisses me off.

Ok, back to reading about sex. I really do love my field of study.

No Shit, Sherlock
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  • Barbara

    Yes, Yes, YES!!!!!! Thank you Airial. My reaction to this article is wedged into that same little corn kernel of TNT that you mentioned. I had to read through the article quickly because I found myself all fired up as well. I don’t know why people insist on STILL viewing mental health as some taboo, left field, abnormal part of life. Truth is, people are affected by it, people suffer because of it, this shit isn’t new. And people know it isn’t, they just plain and simply don’t care because caring means that you have to act.

    As a depressed parent, I have the same fears that your mom probably has about your brother. That at the end of the day, when my daughter looks back, she’s gonna say, “damn, my mother was one depressed bitch, and my life could have been SO much better had she not been”, and sometimes, sometimes, that’s enough for me to push forward, sometimes its not. Its a process, but one that is definitely less painful when you have access to treatment.

    Thanks again for speaking on this. I hope that you have a kick ass semester!!

  • airial

    No thank you! I love how real you are Mz. B.

    Speaking from the kid perspective, the best thing my mom was able to do, besides not kill herself, was be real with us about her illness. She made sure we knew that it was her, not us, that caused her problems. We were the light of her life, she just happened to be living in a deep dark dungeon.

    Your daughter will appreciate you so much. You have worked really hard on her behalf and she will know it. My mom is still buttnuts crazy, but I love her, and I respect her.