Mental illness is still so misunderstood by society, despite attempts at raising awareness. People really just don’t care unless it is someone they love. That is one reason why it will never be accepted like cancer or other severe, life threatening diseases. I think the issue is that society is made up of people and people do not understand, even if you try to explain.
I have depression, and at times it can be quite severe. Negative thoughts take over and some of those thoughts are communicated. I was told ‘Blame yourself, not something someone has defined you as having. Your mental power could have just refrained from abusing me.’ My mind has been played with (gaslighting), and it has cracked me. I’ve been told I need to just suck it up. It’s a bit hard when you are physically and emotionally unable to function. It is viewed as weakness. It’s not understood that at those times you are actually fighting with all you have to get through. Without strength and determination, any human would succumb. It does just show that mental illness is looked upon as purely a weakness of mind and something that can be controlled if only we tried hard enough.
People need to be educated on the brain function that causes mental illness before we can hope to destigmatise it. Mental illness is not a choice. Recovery is, and that takes time. Mental illness also has nothing to do with intelligence, nor is it weakness. The brain is an amazing and complex organ. My research over the years has given me insight as to how intricate the neurological pathways are and how easily brain function can be altered, triggered by trauma, accidents and even hormonal changes in the body.
The different illnesses see different parts of the brain affected. The one thing they all have in common though is an impairment of the chemical neurotransmitters or abnormalities in particular brain circuit function. Researchers are also studying the effects of changes in size or shape of certain areas of the brain, which they believe may be responsible for causing some mental illnesses.
My daughter had a friend at school who knew about her bipolar. She used to say nasty things and provoke her, then she’d stand back laughing when Jessie snapped. Rumours would then be spread, making fun of Jessie’s outburst. The friend tried it while she was having a sleepover here one night and was pulled up pretty quickly. It’s a cruel way some people use to boost their ego I think, particularly with kids and teenagers.
Thought is not given to the impact of constant provocation. Although what is shown outwardly may seem erratic and angry, sufferers are crying and going through hell on the inside. Everyone has their breaking point, and it’s so easy to place entire blame on the one who has the emotional outbursts. No-one need look at their part in it all then, no-one need look at themselves. Blame is such an easy and cowardly out.
I take responsibility for my actions. Depression and PTSD are no excuse for how we communicate. I’ve been teaching Jessie this, so I must lead by example. For her and I though, it’s how we repair that is important. I have tried to explain recently to someone, but it means nothing. ‘You and your backwards 180 emotional instability’ is the name for it. Apologising and making people aware of what’s going on with you, is not worth the price. I am hated. And being hated for your illness is horrible but I have to wear it and continue on with my treatment.
I have made plenty mistakes, and not let go of relationships when I knew I needed to. I listened to words, and didn’t follow my gut feelings. My thoughts and emotions have been all over the place and emotion takes over. I’ve tried so hard. My mental illness splits my mind.
Fear of judgement, shame and embarrassment are just 3 reasons why sufferers don’t reach out for help. Consequently there are too many people struggling on their own, leading to suicides that could be otherwise prevented.
Learning to look after yourself is imperative. As is learning to be kind and forgiving towards yourself. Mental illness is torture enough. There are plenty of people out there to be cruel, you have to treat yourself better than you would your best friend. If you love yourself you will heal faster from the times you don’t behave your best.
Famous People Who Suffer/ed from Mental Illness
Albert Einstein, creator of The Theory of Evolution – Dyslexia
Leonardo Da Vinci, artist, mathematician, engineer, inventor & writer – Dyslexia
Isaac Newton, scientist who explained gravity, and had the Laws of Motion named after him – Bipolar
Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb – Dyslexia
Lewis Carroll, author, mathematician, logician and photographer – Borderline Personality Disorder
Charles Darwin, creator of The Theory of Evolution – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA – Depression & Anxiety attacks
Beethoven, composer – Bipolar & Depression
Robin Williams, actor & comedian – Depression
Stephen Fry, actor & comedian – Bipolar