“Mental Problem” 03.15.24

*In case you don’t recognize the little guy with magenta horns, his name is “Berman,” and he is the personification of my mental illness*


Upon my initial visit with a new general practitioner, a nurse calculated my blood pressure and weight. I was evaluated based on a series of questions about depression. Do I often feel anxious? Am I often lethargic? Do I have negative thoughts? Am I suicidal, or a danger to myself and others? I answered these inquiries truthfully. When I met the doctor, she asked similar questions. I entered the building expecting to be physically examined. Within the course of fifteen minutes, my file contained her diagnosis.

“Mental Problem.”


I grew up in an environment rich with kindness, encouragement, and unquestionable love. My dad taught me how to draw and my parents nourished my creative energy. As a young artist, I was easily frustrated when my artwork did not reflect the images in my mind, but I pushed past this problem and began to enjoy the process. Fortunately, my life began with family support. My parents taught me to be myself, inspired me to make friends, to love my neighbors as myself, to solve problems with words. When words did not solve my problems, I ran fast; my dad would cheer, “Run like the wind!” My mom called me a “gazelle.” I wasn’t running away. I was running through.

My sisters proved that love at first sight is true, as I gazed upon their faces in the earliest moments of life. I had not smiled as wide, or laughed as loud before they were born; my only disappointment was that they didn’t enter this world capable of playing immediately. Problems like that were resolved years later, much to my chagrin. My family tree grew and was not complete until everyone was wrapped around each other. Our unconditional love binds us together at the roots.

Problems can be solved. Living with five other people was irritating at times. We argued, but we love each other more than petty disagreements. Our problems were solvable. Psychiatric illnesses are not problems; they do not cease to exist. Mental illness survives medication and therapy, though these are helpful tools. “Berman” roams freely through my mind, fully confident that he can squat there for as long as he desires.

Problems suggest fault. Blame. Conflict. Words are powerful; they have the ability to drag us down or to lift us up. Where others see problems, I witness strength. Mental illness is not a problem, but a journey. Some may think that the words “illness” and “problem” could be interchangeable, like “crazy” or “mad.”

Loosely worded, I may be “crazy,” but I don’t have a problem.


3 thoughts on ““Mental Problem” 03.15.24

  • March 15, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    I suppose you know that all physicals have that form everyone has to fill out now – have had for a few years. I hope you find a more knowledgeable doctor – or else you can educate this person. That shouldn’t be up to you. But you are doing that already with your posts.
    Thank you for sharing your hard-earned and valuable insights.

  • March 19, 2024 at 4:55 pm

    Sending you love and light! I don’t feel my stomach hit the floor anymore when I fill out a form that has “major depressive disorder” on the medical forms. I check it and move on. It’s part of what makes me me.

    • March 20, 2024 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you, Steph! I don’t either, just wanted to make a point. Glad you are owning it! I love you very much and am grateful for your presence in my life.

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