Mental Illness

APA and Mental Health Month–Diagnosis: Silly

It’s double celebration time for Hello Kitty, with May recognizing Asian Pacific Heritage and Mental Health.  I am a second generation Chinese American married to a Japanese man, and I also wrestle with Bipolar II (specifically agitated anxiety) and ADHD, so it’s double the double whammy. Woo hoo. Here are my armchair diagnoses and recommendations for my fellow Asian Pacific Islander newsmakers.

1) Wesley Yang and his New York Magazine article “Paper Tigers”:  Mr. Yang exhibits deep-seated resentment stemming from an inferiority complex.  He is struggling to carve an identity for himself, though he has clearly established a professional voice, an angry one at that.  Recommendation: take a chill pill, and find some Asian friends,  but avoid the Asian Playboy course.

2) Secretary of Commerce, Ambassador Elect to China, Gary Locke: Clearly the man has mastered the art of chi ku (swallowing bitterness) and has emerged triumphant personally and professionally.  Being in charge of the 2010 census and– estimating that it took his family “100 years to travel one mile” in his city– indicates a fastidious nature and high level of organization.  Recommendation: not much, but you might want to consider adding some swagger.  You remind me too much of my Chinese father.  For swagger go ask POTUS or FLOTUS. Actually, Secretary Locke has recommendations for us APA folks: Become involved in politics and run for public office.  We make up 5.6 % of the U.S. population, but have only 2% representation in Congress.

3) Japan: I don’t know how you are coping beneath your stoic veneer. There is the idea of shikata ga nai (can’t be helped) which permeates Japanese thinking, the original “it is what it is,” therefore nothing can be changed.  You have the word utsubyo for depression, but that refers to extreme mania or psychosis such as schizophrenia.  Many people’s souls must be “having a cold,” which is how you define milder depression.  Please let there be more talk therapy, administration of psycho pharma medications–the Japanese up till recently have been resistant about drug use and stigmatize those who partake–as well as other holistic therapies.  Recommendations: pending.  I’ll be visiting you this summer to have a firsthand look.  I’ll be praying until then.

4) All the dudes listed of Complex Magazine’s “The 25 Most Stylish Asian Americans”: Looking and feeling fine I see. In the words of immortal Tim Gunn, “Carry on.”  Recommendation: bottle your mojo and sell it to Wesley Yang.

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