Thriving with Mental Illness:
A No-Stigma Goal for Afflicted People
Thriving with mental illness without any stigma should be on the healthcare agenda of advanced societies in the 21st century.
However, as much as we like to pretend that we’ve advanced as a society, mental health remains a stigma. Yes, it something that we have improved, but we’re not yet at a point where mental and physical distress are seen as being on par.
If you are suffering mentally, the idea of diagnosis can be terrifying. You feel you will suddenly be labeled as deficient, somehow subset from society. It can feel like the diagnosis would be defining; that by acknowledging you have a problem, you lose the will to fight it.
The most common mental illnesses are classed as mood disorders to anxiety disorders. Mood disorders include conditions such as Clinical Depression and BiPolar. Anxiety disorders include the likes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and General Anxiety Disorder. All have the potential to ruin lives.
Some of these illnesses manifest in childhood, and the sufferers will long be aware of the way their thought patterns work. For others, they can hit suddenly, with no obvious starting point. Either way, you find yourself trying to live a life that has a constant sideshow – what goes on inside your head.
You’re not crazy, which is generally a pejorative word. ,There are real chemical imbalances that cause these disorders. In a sense, they are very physical in their presentation as brain scans of sufferers show.
Yet as they are not visible to an onlooker, there is somehow less acceptance of the pain and stress that they can cause.
For that reason, people are afraid to see a doctor or seek the help of a psychiatrist.
It can be just as difficult to witness the problems as an outsider, as the illness takes over a person you love. Vigilance from parents can be lacking when it comes to mental health, even though physical health is usually paramount.
Whether you suffer yourself or suspect a condition in a loved one, diagnosis is the beginning. It’s not the end; the surrender, the moment the patient becomes deemed unstable and has no way back.
Only with a diagnosis can you tap into an effective treatment plan. You can look at talking therapies or medication if you wish to go down that route. You can begin to plan for life, look at occupations that might suit you.
As a family member, you can advise about potential help and remember to be supportive.
You can know how different life events may affect the person and be on your guard. You can alert an employer, or switch your health insurance to a company which understands.
Essentially, what it boils down to is the ability to be prepared.
The temptation to ignore it, to insist on health and full function is overwhelming. But it’s ultimately futile. You can’t help something that doesn’t technically exist. Whether you are struggling with the idea of obtaining your own diagnosis, or concerned for a loved one, seeing a doctor is paramount.
These conditions cannot be cured, but they can be managed to the point they are forgotten about. Get the help needed.