The Secret Behind Mental Illness
It is with much hesitation that I right this post. I have stopped and started it many times over the past few months. I couldn’t figure out why I just couldn’t bring myself to hit publish and then it came to me this past week because their is a secret cloud that surrounds the word Mental Illness and those who suffer from it. I used to think I did not want to be associated with the word or a direct label myself and then my life took an unexpected turn. The thing I feared the most was in my back yard, it was looking me back in the mirror and I hadn’t even seen it. We toss around words like Depressed, Mania,Crazy, and Mental. I am not saying that things in a joke can’t be said but when we look at those who suffer from Mental Illness like they are different we are forgetting that it might be closer than you would think.
Mental Illness is a Medical Disease
The one thing I have fought to accept that my Mental Illness is just as important as someone’s High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol,Diabetes, or Cancer. Mental Illness is a medical diagnosis and an estimated 1 in 4 adults suffer from some form of Mental Illness (According to the National Institute of Mental Health.) So you can basically look around you and you will know at least one person that suffers. It can also run in families, studies have shown that children of people with mental illness are more likely to suffer as adults. I find that this is because we do not talk about it open and honestly. I can count on 2 hands the number of people in my life that know the whole truth.
I have made a new resolve that I will not hide who I am because that is how God has made me and I suffer from a medical disease. Some suffer from things you can see but mine is hidden inside. With this resolve, I have learned to be open and honest with my children and my husband. I have had to accept that at times he is going to know what is going on with me better than I do. I have to learn to trust him. A good support system for the person that struggles with a mental illness is just as important for the family of those that do. My daughter will be starting therapy so she can share her concerns with someone who isn’t mom or dad or grandparents. My husband has reached out to friends and I have finally let him share some of what he has been dealing with. It is no longer a Secret that we keep between us.
I urge you to take a second look at your friend who is cancelling appointments or always seeming to mess things up, she could be doing her best. Your family member could be struggling and you not take them seriously, stop and take time to learn more about their problem. A smile is sometimes what gets people thru the day. A text message to say you are thinking about them could be what gives them hope for tomorrow. There is no action to little that can change someones day. Just knowing that they are not alone is usually a blessing in disguise.
So while there seems to be a Secret Behind Mental Illness the true secret is we need to stop treating Mental Illness like a secret and make an effort to give it the attention and care that all medical diseases deserve.
If you are someone you know are struggling there is help. Reach out to a doctor,nurse, or other healthcare professional. If you don’t think it can wait and is an emergency, head to the nearest Emergency Room or call 911.
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