Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What You Probably Don't Know About Mental Illness


With the sudden passing of Robin Williams we can't help but wonder how many people don't fully understand mental illness. We know that suicide is a choice, but what if your brain cannot mentally understand the value between living on this Earth or not? Where you would much rather stop this war in your head because you really see it as the only way out. Someone you know out there is smiling on the outside and dying on the inside. Take the time to look past that smile and understand what is going on deep down inside. It starts with picking up the phone and simply saying, "How is everything going?" Being in a sorority we were exposed to a lot of different women with different backgrounds and different issues they were dealing with. Mental illness was one that was very new to us. A common misconception about mental illness is that it is a choice. mental illness (also referred to as a "mental disorder" or "psychiatric disorder") is a mental or behavioral pattern that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in ordinary life, and which is not developmentally or socially normative

Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feelsactsthinks or perceives. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social contextKaren had a sorority sister who she felt seemed a little off in her behavior so one day she started to inquire about her well being until eventually this sorority sister broke down and told her she was fighting a lot of depression and feelings of self hate that she couldn't explain. It turns out that she had a hereditary mental illness and through much trials and tribulations she got on the right medications to work through her mental illness. 

What you probably don't know about mental illness is that the person suffering from it can still function in society. Meaning, while dying within, they are able to blend in. That is why things like suicide from mental illness catch people off guard, especially those seeing them on the exterior as okay. 

What you probably also don't know about mental illness is that for those suffering from it, it is hard for them to ask for help. Society treats people with mental illnesses like outcasts. Often times we hear things like, "You're crazy!" and "You're psycho!" in a way to put someone down, therefore, actually being those things is seen to be negative.

What you probably also don't know about mental illness is that YOU can help. Though diagnosing and treating mental illness is a long journey, it can be treated to some extents like psychotherapy and psychiatric medicationsocial interventions, peer support and self-helpInvest in your friends/family members going through it by constantly checking up on them and making them feel safe in your presence as they go through the difficult time of handling their disorder.

At the end of the day, don't be a surface friend. Have deeper meaningful relationships with people to uncover what demons they are fighting within. You will find comfort in knowing that you did everything you could to help save someone's life.

Need help in identifying mental illness or are you suffering from it? We recommend checking out NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness for more help. They have valuable education and help on dealing with mental illness. 

3 comments :

  1. Thank you for posting this and going beyond the superficial. I want to share another great resource, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional crisis, know that you don't have to go through it alone.
    http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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    1. Thank you so much! We really appreciate your feedback and helping our readers with your resource. Xo

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