Re: Mental illness: the other side

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From:"Thomas J. Kuwahara" <>
To:Bryan Llewellyn <>
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Dear Bryan:  I've been off a couple of weeks and it's been quite a
morning reading all my 300+ emails but I have to salute your bravery in
sending such a very personal and moving message over this often
contentious internet site.  If you ever want to come work for a private
company in San Francisco, let me know.  Regards, Tom

Bryan Llewellyn wrote:
> > Lastly, if we screen out all of the mentally ill from jobs, what
> > are we to do with them? They have rights, and one of them is the right
> > to pursue happiness by being gainfully employed.
> I too thought long and hard about whether I should reply to the postings on
> this subject.  I finally decided that I should because I can bring an aspect
> to the discussion that has not yet been made.  Please excuse what may appear
> to be bragging, but I am going to speak very frankly because I have found
> some off the comments made on this subject quite demeaning and insulting.  I
> do not apologise for saying this.  I think it needs to be said.
> I am a long time chronic depressive.  I have been depressed on and off
> (mostly on) for about 50 years (I am 57), and have been a passive suicide
> since I was about eight.  The source of my emotional problems is abuse as a
> child; physical, sexual and emotional.  Did you ever wonder where abused
> children went when they grew up?  We hide among you.
> Depression is considered to be a mental illness.  I am therefore one of
> those people you are all wondering whether you should fire because you are
> concerned I might attack you.
> I do my job, and rather well, I always thought.  I am the supervisor of a
> small histology lab, and have been the supervisor of a very large histology
> lab years ago in Winnipeg.  I qualified at the highest possible levels
> available at the time (1969 and 1979) in two countries (Britain and Canada).
> I authored and administered for several years three separate correspondence
> courses for the Canadian professional Society in advanced histological
> techniques.  I have written a few papers on histological subjects (amyloid
> staining, H&E substitutes).  I set up the StainsFile web page, and have done
> all the work for it with the exception of one article.  I venture to suggest
> that I have received considerable respect for my technical abilities over
> the years from coworkers and pathologists, some of whom have been quite
> demanding.
> I am politically active and have been asked on more than one occasion to run
> for office provincially.  I have been declared an honorary woman because of
> my strong committment to gender equity.  I feel just as strongly about
> racial equality and gay and lesbian issues.  I venture to suggest that I
> have made a noticeable contribution to society.
> I have been married to Linda for 37 years.  She has borne the brunt of my
> depression for all that time.  We have three children, all of whom are well
> educated (Jason a city planner, Stevyn a pharmacist, and David a Ph.D.
> student in organo-metallic chemistry at McGill unioversity).  None of them
> have inherited my depression.  All of them love and respect me and will miss
> me when I die.
> Mentall illness is no more a single entity than any other branch of human
> activity.  Both smallpox and the common cold are viral diseases, but why
> would anyone in their right mind think that a person with a cold is as
> dangerous as a person with smallpox.  Please get a perspective.  Mental
> illness ranges from the inocuous to the dangerous.  Most people alive (that
> means you) have some kind of a neurosis, and all neuroses are a form of
> mental illness.  From very personal experience, I can tell you that those
> who suffer most from mentall illnesses are the people with it and those who
> love them.  An example is the poor progress of the StainsFile web site, on
> which I have been unable to work for a year.
> I am most certainly not ashamed of my mental state.  In fact, I am quite
> proud of the fact that I have been strong willed enough to rise above my
> handicap.  I think I have made a contribution to society.  I have never hit
> anyone.  I have never killed anyone.  I treat others with respect.  Why
> should I be discriminated against because someone else has a hangup (a
> neurosis) about emotional disorders?  Why should I be fired when it is your
> problem?  Would you fire me if I had one arm?  Would you refuse to work with
> me if I stuttered?  Would you send me to the back of the bus if I were
> black?  Please tell me how discriminating against me because of my
> depression is any different from those things.
> Remember, we are all innocent until proven guilty.  Please do not fire me
> until I have done something worth being fired for.  As for not hiring
> someone because in a ten minute interview, an interviewer with no
> psychiatric training decides the candidate is nuts, please, get a life!
> I would request that people think before they post comments that are
> demeaning to those like me.
> Bryan Llewellyn
> Depressive, and absolutely NOT ashamed of it.

Thomas J. Kuwahara - Senior Immunohistochemist
Resolution Sciences Corporation -
3801 Sacramento St., Suite 621, San Francisco, CA  94118
T: 415/750-2307 F: 415/750-2332  E:

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