May is mental health awareness month and this is of course a topic that is of interest and close to my heart. Not only do I have my own difficulties in depression, anxiety and a bit of PTSD; but, I also have two teenagers, which both struggle with depression, and one also with high amounts of social anxiety. The list goes on however on my dad’s side of the family. The genetics of this illness seem to play a large roll. Suicidal tendencies have plagued some, while others have seemed to manage the illnesses well.
And, for the loved ones that must stand and watch us combat this disease, often [it] can be a lonely road. One of trials, loss of the person they once knew, dramatic highs followed by devastating lows and so forth. It is a disease that affects everyone in the life of the individual who is ill.
Then there is the stigma that still seems to go with mental illness. It is something that is not widely understood and in some circles it is even thought to be caused by lifestyle choices. Others think that it is an easy fix, “Just pull yourself together!” While some that suffer, do so in silence because they are made to feel ashamed and that they have to hide this disease. Nothing is more isolating then a mental illness.
Even in the treatment of the disease there are places that are still not equipped to handle the mentally ill. Those that have attempted or wish to, commit suicide, are often punished for being ill by being cut off from loved ones and held captive by a guard in a small empty space. And then, perhaps, even finding out the facility does not house an on-sight psychiatric doctor (yes, I am aware of such a situation).
I’ll be talking again this month about how I have gotten better over time with coping skills and other techniques, as well as some of the personal struggles in raising children with mental illness. For some of my other pieces see below. And if you or someone you know battles mental illness, there are many great resources here.