AIDS, leprosy, and obesity are just a few of the disorders that are stigmatized. Princess Diana, on the other hand, shook hands with the globe at the same time. Leprosy was eradicated with antibiotics, and obesity is a hot topic in the media. But mental health is still shrouded in mystery.
Although it occasionally attracts celebrity attention, I believe that these initiatives really push mental health further away from understanding. More knowledge, not more exposure to mental health, is the answer. Schools, gyms, and offices all have First Aid, CPR, and sexual education classes. CBT, on the other hand, may be confused for a television station, and mindfulness still makes people roll their eyes.
Everyone should be concerned about their own mental health, but it's also critical to recognize the signals in others, which can be difficult if you don't know what to look for.
What would you do if a family member walked into your living room, hunched over in pain and crying for help? Of course, you'd assist. And you'd generally know what to do. You'd try to halt it if you saw blood. You'd open the person's airway if they were choking. If surgery was necessary, you may phone a doctor, transport them to the hospital, or go to a drugstore and obtain painkillers.
However, the picture is very different when it comes to mental health. None of the above is anything we do. We tend to overlook symptoms, only noticing them in retrospect. "Cheer up!" we remark. "Things aren't as horrible as they seem!" "Keep a positive attitude!" These phrases will not treat a burst appendix any more than they would cure a bout of sadness.
A person suffering from mental illness may usually, but not always, appear withdrawn, detached, or separated from reality. We believe (misguidedly) that a few feel-good phrases are the finest medication because they aren't screaming in pain or doubled over. When you notice these behavioral changes—however minor they may be—the greatest thing you can do is identify that this is the scream you're looking for. You must be on high alert because it is silent, but just as with stroke symptoms, the faster you act, the better.
Sympathy and empathy are always present for the person who is suffering from a mental disease. And with good reason. Mental illness might feel like being stuck at the bottom of a well with no way out. You feel poorly, as with any illness. You're sick every minute some days.
However, a large number of people are struggling since mental illness is one of the most difficult, irritating, and guilt-inducing disorders to care for. Every caregiver chastises themselves for losing their calm, their patience, or their temper. Not to mention the shame and anxiety that accompany them whenever they leave the house or when their phone rings unexpectedly—the perpetual state of being on edge, the constant companion of worry.
The individual suffering from mental illness is always met with sympathy and empathy. That is correct. Mental illness might feel like being stuck at the bottom of a deep pit. You feel nauseous, as with any illness. You're sick every minute on some days.
However, because mental illness is one of the most difficult, irritating, and guilt-inducing illnesses to care for, there is an army of people who are also battling. Every caregiver is critical of themselves for losing their cool, patience, or temper. Not to mention the shame and anxiety they feel every time they leave the house or their phone rings unexpectedly—the constant feeling of being on edge, the constant companion of worry.
Venus B. is a guest blogger for Hopeful Inc; as well as, for other non profit organizations who address the mental health crisis in the United States.