Throughout the centuries there have been vastly different methods used to treat mental illnesses. In the Middle Ages, they believed the mental ill to be possessed and tried to bleed the demon out. During the 1800s and up until the mid 1900s, they used fever therapy, sent people to asylums, did procedures like Insulin Coma Therapy and lobotomies to treat mental disorders. By the 1960s, there were laws in pass that protected the mental ill from harmful treatments. Currently, people with mental illness go either to therapy, are on medication if not both. Treatments for mental illness have constantly changed and revolved around the popular ideas of the current century. However, one thing hasn’t changed there still remains to be stigma around the mental ill. In modern day literature, there is still the discussion on treatment and misconceptions about the mental ill that occurred in prior decades.
In the poem, “Order Your Disorder” poets Zariya Allen, Kyland Turner, and Belissa Escobedo discuss mental illness and the common use of prescription pills. In the beginning of the poem, they ask “are you feeling mentally ill?” and response with “then we’ve got the pill for you!” They then proceed to tell parents not to worry if their child is easily distracted because they can get a whole month supply of Adderall for $69.95. A common issue in the current mental health care system is the amount of prescription that are handed out. In some cases, the prescriptions pills are not the right answer to treat the disorder. Sometimes, its the easy answer to a complex problem.
In the novel, Wide Sargasso Sea the reader is introduced to Antoinette Cosway a young women from the Caribbean who is married off to Mr. Rochester. Wide Sargasso Sea is a prologue to the novel Jane Eyre, that explains how Mr. Rochester first wife Antoinette is driven into insanity. Antoinette’s family has a history of both mental illness and disabilities; her mother was driven insane and her younger brother had a developmental disability. When Antoinette becomes ill, her husband takes her from her home and locks her up in a attic. Antoinette by the end of both novels, burns down the home she is staying in and commits suicide. In most cases, the lack of action and proper treatments drove those mental ill further into insanity and cements an almost permanent stigma around those who are ill. In Antoinette’s case, due to the stigma around mental illness and Rochester’s embarrassment he locks her up and does not try to get her proper treatment.
In poem, “Order Your Disorder”, the poets discusses the stigma around mental illness as well. They state “but don’t tell your family– they’ll tell you to hide it. But don’t tell your teachers–they’ll send you to a separate room to take your tests; but don’t tell your friends– because they’ll never understand.” Even in modern society, the stigma still lives; those who are not ill have difficulties truly understanding what it’s like and what it means to be mentally ill. Even though, we are vastly more educated on mental illness, what causes it and what treatments actually work in aiding those who have a mental illness, the stigma remains.
The progression in treatment for those who are ill is wonderful; yet we have a long ways to go in how we treat those who are ill in society. The stigma remains and as long as it does progression is still needed.
Order Your Disorder: The poem
Wide Sargasso Sea By: Jean Rhys