The Affects Of Mental Health
Mental illness is something that can affect anyone. It’s a lonely, dark road that sometimes gets too much to handle. There is endless stigma surrounding those with mental illness, especially bipolar, schizophrenia and personality disorders. There are those who don’t believe it exists, those who believe that the person suffering is “putting it on” or “looking for sympathy”, and there are people who just don’t understand it.
Being mentally ill is never a choice. Nobody would choose to live that way. As a society, we sympathise with people who have depression and anxiety as they are finally been seen as an illness. Don’t get me wrong, this is amazing. But we need to expand our understanding. Schizophrenia and Bipolar are often demonised. In movies, shows and social media. And even though someone suffering these without medication or even a diagnosis can be as danger to themselves, it’s does not make them bad people.
I have a close friend with Bipolar Disorder and I’ve recently sat down with her to gather some information for this post. I am going to call her Sarah for privacy reasons. Sarah has struggled with mental illness for the better part of 10 years. She saw her GP regularly, visited psychologists and took her medication as prescribed. She was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, a mixture of the 2 and after her children the diagnosis changed to post natal depression. Through all these years, went back saying the medication wasn’t working. After being on half a dozen different medications in 13 months, her doctor sent her to a psychiatrist who was quick to diagnose bipolar.
After starting her medication, Sarah noticed a difference. A big difference. So did the people around her. Now though, the hardest thing for her is the stigma. She has lost friends due to her diagnosis. She constantly feels judged, out of our place and anxious. But there are three things she wants everyone to know.
- Mental illness isn’t a joke. It’s not funny to joke about it. It hurts, it isolates people and it makes them feel sub human. Sometimes the only thing that gets people through day is feeling like you belong.
- Be there. If you know someone who is struggling, be there for them. Check in with them. Even if they are doing okay, it means the world to them. They just need to know that someone cares.
At the end of the day, mental illness sucks. Whether you are going through it or someone you love is, try to remember that it’s not a choice. They love and need love. We are all just people.