A woman called me recently about her uncle (for confidentiality, some of the details have been scrambled), who is tending a local business that is in a property held by the family. The uncle's assistant manages to keep the processes of the business going, but things are falling into disrepair and, she suspects, if the business got audited, that the IRS would take a dim view of the bookkeeping. Family members are getting angry about his behavior, because he refuses to deal with the problem, or even acknowledge that there is a problem. This situation has been going on for over a year.
In this entry of my brain damage series, I'll provide a clinical example to convey how the cultural dynamics of stigma can play out in clinicians' behavior. Once upon a time, I acted as an advocate for a woman I'll call Cindy, who was suffering from depression and cognitive difficulties stemming from the depression. The problem had cropped up after a number of traumatic experiences that apparently caused a weak link to snap, bringing out this vulnerability to depression.
If you consider the kinds of things that are said and done regarding cognitive problems, and swapped out the cognitive problem for another issue like race, religion, sexual orientation, or even other disabilities, it wouldn't be as funny, or tolerable, or even make sense. This article tries to get across why I say cognitive impairments are the last refuge of bigotry in the developed world.
People with ADD get a day, but brain damage gets the month of March. March seems like a good month for brain damage awareness. However long the winter feels, March is when spring starts to enter our minds. The first warmer breezes are not far off (if you're in the northern hemisphere and you're out of the more tropical regions). And indeed, for many of those recovering from brain damage it is a long winter, and the first hints of hope and recovery offer some welcome warmth.