We often underestimate how deeply our world is affected by Mental illness. Mental illness has been around since the beginning of time. Ages ago many would say that if someone was mentally ill that they were “mad” or even “ possessed by spirits”. Back in the day around the 1930’s many were treated with Electroconvulsive therapy. You may know Electroconvulsive therapy as “shock therapy”. Prior to that in the mid 1800’s the mentally ill would essentially be sedated or restrained in overcrowded asylums. The majority of the schools of thought also came from back in the early 1800’s & 1900’s. Now I promise not to turn this blog post into a history lesson but the back story on psychology as a whole is a very interesting one.
Please pinky swear you will go and read some information about the etiology of mental health and psychology. There are probably a few things that you may have a misconception about when it comes to mental health. It’s my goal to dispel some of the beliefs and share with how much mental health has grown over the years. We are beginning to speak about mental health now like it is a priority. It should have always been a priority but we can’t do much to change the past right. It is a priority of mine and I will explain exactly why you should make it a priority of yours too whether you suffer from mental illness or not.
Oh That’s just my crazy Aunt don’t mind her
Have you ever found yourself calling another person crazy, because they may have done something that wasn’t what you considered normal? You know stuff like walking down the street with no clothes on or fighting the air? We have all seen it right? Maybe in real life or perhaps on television. Many movies like Sybil, Girl Interrupted, Beautiful mind, etc… display characters who suffer from mental illness. You may have watched the movies for mere entertainment……or you could have finished the movies with a plethora of questions that went unanswered. The first time you may have experienced some form of someone with mental illness, you may have been fairly young. Young enough to know that something was different but also young enough not to understand what that could have meant. Sometimes parents could have it explained as “ don’t mind her/him she’s just special! Well we are special right! I mean what does “special” even mean? I’m going to venture to guess that whatever information you did receive about mental illness it was probably not a very detailed one.
So, whatever your belief was about mental health back then you more than likely have some of those same beliefs now in 2020. Now don’t beat yourself up we all have been misinformed on many things. Being misinformed doesn’t make us bad people. The fact that you are reading this it allows me to know that you want to clear up any misconceptions and your ready to share what you learn with others right?
Let’s Dive in a little and come to an understanding of mental illness really is
What is mental illness? (Glad you asked)
Now that we’ve pretty much accepted that the definition you have about mental health is not the best one let’s clear it up. Mental Illness is a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behaviors. Hmmmmmm… so you may be thinking to yourself so that sounds a lot like what happens when you use drugs. Well your right drugs can also affect your mood, thinking, and behaviors. Generally, people who have substance use disorders along with mental health disorders are diagnosed as having a co-occuring. You may also here is sometimes called a dual or substance disorder which includes alcohol or drug abuse.
Where did mental illness Even come from?
This is probably the most asked question related to mental illness. There are different beliefs about why people have mental illness. There have been multiple studies on changes in the brain, changes in chemical imbalances and you can read a few of the studies that I follow actively here. There are well respected researchers around the world who have dedicated the majority of their lives to finding a breakthrough on mental illness. Others may argue that it was passed down by a family member.
You can learn the diagnosis who are believed to actually have genetic components here. Mental Health Matters because mental illness can be a part of your family for generations to come.
Below I will share a list that studies have shown to have genetic components. Scientists have recognized that the following psychiatric disorders tend to run in families according to the National Institutes of Health. (www.nih.gov) You can also search many other articles to learn more about these.
One thing you can go to help narrow down if your family has ties to mental illness is to have your therapist do a genogram for you. The genogram is like a family tree although much more detailed. A genogram is a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to visualize hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships.
Is there a cure for Mental Illness?
There is no magic pill or anything proven that will allow your mental illness to magically disappear. So , unfortunately there is no cure! However, you can learn more about the latest research on topics related to a cure here. There are plenty of treatment options to choose from. There are also holistic methods of treatments as well as medications that work extremely well especially with certain diagnoses. Medication along with psychotherapy work amazingly well together. Mental Health Matters !
People can’t have a “normal life” with mental illness?
You can have a normal life if you have a mental illness. Whatever your definition of normal you can still have that with a mental illness. Read my blog post here on how to combat mental illness. You will be faced with challenges if you have a mental illness. News flash……… we all will be faced with challenges. You may have to work a little harder, a little longer to make sure that you have what you need to cope.
What if my culture does not believe in treating mental illness?
There are tons of cultures who are not so fond of mental health services. Not saying that you should go against your beliefs, values, or culture but mental health is a personal journey. Although mental health can affect the entire family it truly is taking a step in your progress as an individual. Having a conversation about what you believe is right for you is very important when taking your journey. You have full control of who you allow in your circle of support.
Therapist? What’s the point
Overall deciding to see a therapist is your personal choice. Read my blog post on how to find the new therapist here.
Why does mental health Matter and what can I do to be a part of the change?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental health matters because we matter. Our lives matter, our well being, and our choices matter. We have the right to be seen and heard in the light instead of suffering in the dark. Those who suffer from mental health deserve to be able to walk outside and not be called crazy. Those who suffer from mental health deserve to go ask for help without being called crazy. Those who suffer from mental health should not be discriminated against because they have a diagnosis. Mental health matters because our mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts,grandmothers, grandfathers,and our friends matter. Make sharing your knowledge about mental health a priority. Cause your voice matters. The more you know the more you share.
Your mental health is important be sure to make it a priority!