I'm hearing the phrase "mental patient" in my head a lot lately and don't know why. I used to have a habit of telling myself I must be crazy to [XYZ Behavior] but I've only been to the university psychologists twice during college for stress. I have a lot of stress now too as I'm trying to start a career and find a daily life schedule I can live with.
I've never seen anyone and don't think I am a "mental patient" but I am also in an open enrollment period for choosing a new health insurance company and I very much would like to be tested for attention deficit disorder. I was always a good student but since I left school I've had trouble managing my time and building my own system to live in now that I don't have the schools. My degree is creative, but I'm still building up confidence in my own writing and artwork and I haven't gotten paid for what I can currently do.
I don't see myself as a mental patient and yet I have this phrase in my head and this feeling of fear, not always for myself but for friends I know who are coping with various mental conditions. I imagine myself or my friends being judged and attacked, and I want to defend them. I want everyone to be Buddhist or Vulcan or something, to just meditate for a minute and say to themselves, "Mental patient... did I say that to myself? Those are definitely words. And there's this feeling here too. Am I OK with this feeling? Is there even a reason for it? I see that there's a feeling here and I don't like it. It'll pass in a minute since there's not a reason, but for now I'm just going to look at it and accept that I feel that way until I find a reason and some action to take, or a better feeling. I choose how I feel, or I ride out the feeling I didn't choose just like I have before and will again."
What is a "mental patient"? Someone who benefits from medicine to not be overwhelmed by daily life? Someone who doesn't have the right people in their lives to talk to and needs to pay for scheduled time with a stranger who researches problems similar to or including the ones they're having? Someone who just needs the right system or new coping mechanisms or a new perspective?
I don't think there is anything wrong with being a patient who receives mental healthcare. The only thing preventing me from getting tested for ADD is the fear that my insurance company will not cover the test. If any prospective employers Google me and read this, I hope my personal activity online is relevant to proving that I handle stress well and am skilled in the position for which I am applying. My search engine listings for my screen name are a record of my personality and attitude but should not be taken as a substitute for my work experience, writing samples, and record of completed projects and volunteer work.