Wittingly or not, AA Milne, via Eeyore and his friends, provided society a new design for interacting with those suffering the symptoms of Clinical Depression, and more broadly, those suffering from other mental illnesses as well.
That was in 1926. Disney’s first film adaptation was released in 1966. Allegorical depictions like this cartoon and myriad books and films that encourage inclusiveness and destigmatization have broken down some barriers and opened some minds.
I have watched and experienced that unfold over the course of my 51 years. There is much less stigma about going to therapy, being on medications, or being a part of a 12 Step group than when I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s
Today, I speak of my Bipolar Disorder in social settings, when it makes sense and/or may help someone. I am also “out” with everyone who knows me and on social media. No way I would have been that open 15-20 years ago.
When I was a teenager, and even into my 20’s, people didn’t talk about mental illness or addiction. We were indeed “as sick as our secrets.”
A badly broken mental health system that no one wants to fund and millions of our brothers and sisters in prison or jail, or living on the streets, are harsh reminders that we have a long way to go.
But a rising tide of advocates for the mentally ill are shouting down the ignorance, breaking down the barriers, and insisting upon our inclusion into society. Just like Eeyore.