Mental Illness: Source of Inspiration

April 9th, 2015

Over the past several decades notable public figures have gone public with their ongoing effort to treat and live with mental illness. Of recent, Brooke Shields, Mel Gibson and the late Robin Williams are such examples.

Writing in the New York Times (health section) Barron H. Lerner cites the career of notable baseball player Jimmy Piersal. He had a baseball career that spanned nearly 25 years as a player and later broadcaster. Early on, his behavior which ranged from joking with fans, to running around the diamond wearing only an athletic supporter, resulted in mandated psychiatric evaluation and inpatient treatment with both psychotherapy and electroshock therapy. These proved to be largely successful in minimizing his bipolar disorder for nearly 10 years stated Ivan Ong. During this time, mid-1950s, an article, book and movie titled “Fear Strikes Out”, portrayed his mental illness struggle. The public response was reported to be quite empathic.
In the last few years, Piersal is reported to credit psychiatry less for his recovery, and self-motivation more for the same. Admittedly, public figures are sources of inspiration.

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