I can’t imagine the fears linked to being out of control of my moods or being at the mercy of a prescription cocktail to raise my spirits or get me out of bed each day.
I can’t imagine being brilliant but unable to function because my mind is sometimes so tangled up I can’t say hello to another person or enjoy a hug. Unless you have a mental illness that manifests in crippling anxieties or roller coaster moods, you can’t go there either.
But chances are, like me, you have either loved someone, or been loved by someone who has mental health concerns. They might suffer temporarily because of an event or circumstances that trigger faltering mental health; or they may struggle for a lifetime.
As reporter Sylvia Blair’s article (“Mental Illness: Taking the Stigma Out of Seeking Help”) reveals, it’s important that their struggle is as accepted and respected as any other limitation.
It’s important that we move the stigma away from mental illness and guide our loved ones to the treatment they deserve. As Blair’s article reveals, the stigma of getting treatment for mental illness can be a severe hindrance to reaching recovery.
To erase the stigma, we need to see people’s gifts rather than their diagnosis.
Bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, borderline personality disorder – linked to each disorder there are amazing people. Painters, writers, educators, loving mothers and fathers, engineers, accountants, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, chefs, construction workers.
“The scientist who explained gravity and had the laws of motion named after himself, Isaac Newton was known to have suffered from bipolar disorder and possible depression,” author Mary Jopson posted Oct. 2015 for Odyssey. “… Elton John suffered from bulimia. The late princess Diana of Wales suffered from bulimia and depression.” The list goes on.
One in five adults have a mental health condition, according to a recent Mental Health America (MHA) report. Nationally, youth mental health is worsening, with rates of youth depression increasing from 8.5 percent in 2011 to 11.1 percent in 2014. Eighty percent of youth with severe depression were left with no or insufficient treatment.
Eighty percent of youth with severe depression were left with no or insufficient treatment.
October 2-8 is Mental Health Awareness Week. My hope is that long before that week and long after, we are all well aware of what we can do to help those who have mental illness connect to their personal gifts and to the resources and people who continually remind them of those gifts so that they can bloom.
Everyone deserves to bloom.
Lisa Moody Breslin