A Guide To Accepting Mental Illness
With it being Mental Health Week, I wanted to address the parts of mental illness that many people don’t understand. Anyone who works in this field understands the true struggles of limited resources, barriers to treatment, lack of trained personnel, and the stigmas associated with a mental disorder diagnosis. Mental illness has a unique culture within itself that often flies under the radar.
Statistics show that minorities tend to stray away from seeking help and I believe it’s because of the way we are raised. Instead of dealing with our issues, we've been taught for generations to internalize the way we feel. We’re told that those emotions of anger, depression, anxiety, and crying are a sign of weakness. We’re told to shake off any and all emotions, and to "just deal with it" instead. We’re expected to keep our composure at all times, no matter what the situation. We rationalize this by thinking being strong means hiding the way we feel, hiding our issues, and not accepting help from others.
Even more ironic is the assumption of mental illness only happening to some cultures and not others. We stray from counseling because we don’t want others in our personal and private matters, but this way of thinking is completely wrong and it’s teaching our culture to have a detrimental mentality. This type of mentality is exactly what causes discrimination and stigmatization. Such thinking as this, is keeping people from seeking out the help they truly need. More so, mental illness does not discriminate against anyone. It does not discriminate against any ethnicity, race, gender, or person. Mental illness, is actually quite common, and can occur at different points in life. The triggers can range from various life events and new transitions.
While I understand no one wants to be judged by others, nor feel ashamed for their mental illness; but getting the help you need to live a happy and fulfilling life is essential, and should be a top priority. Being trapped inside your mind while struggling with a mental illness is no way to live. I wish everyone understood the severity of not seeking help when it’s needed. It’s a self-sabotaging behavior to say the least. For those who do seek treatment, don’t wait until it’s too late. Attempting to hide an illness from friends and family is a sure way to feel isolated and alone. You don’t want to wait until it’s too much to handle because by then you won’t be able to recognize your own triggers and steps to creating a solution.
Because patients are going through the ups and downs of their illness, they are sometimes not motivated to complete assigned tasks, be open with others, and take medications as prescribed. Seeking treatment is a process that takes time, sometimes even years to get better. Some people will in fact never get “fixed” because they will struggle with mental illness their entire lives, going in and out of episodes. Let's help inspire others to come forward and no longer hide or feel ashamed about their diagnosis. Conversations about mental illness should take place more often.