Mental health was never something I thought I would be blogging about and I actually started blogging about it just because I needed an outlet and blogging provided me one. I started talking about my mental health because I felt that my mental health was something that was weighing me down and I needed to talk about it. When I read all the supportive comments as well as the experiences other people shared in the comments section about their struggles with mental health and how they handle it, I decided to start blogging about mental health regularly. I felt like if people sharing their mental health experiences with me had helped me this much I owed it to others to talk about my experiences with my own mental health. I thought that even if I could help one person suffering from a mental health problem than it would be worth it. I am very lucky to have the support of my family and friends but I know not everyone is lucky enough to have that and I try to share my experiences in the hopes that it will help them understand that they are not alone- there are a large number of people who suffer from a range of mental health problems and having mental health problems does not mean there is anything wrong with you or that you have become a different person. Over time I realized that writing about my mental health was also really benefiting me as well and had become a perfect outlet for me and had even become therapeutic to an extent. For a lot of people that suffer from mental health problems- myself included- there is no “recovery” the way there is for physical illnesses. For us recovery is accepting that we have an illnesses and doing our very best to live with it because it will never fully go away. I still have days when my mental health is a serious issue for me but I am lucky enough to have many more days when I am unbothered by my mental health. I suffer from anxiety and depression however the majority of my mental health posts are about my experience with having an anxiety disorder, facing anxiety symptoms and trying out anxiety treatment/anxiety medication and counselling/therapy. I also talk about the things that have benefited me in dealing with my anxiety symptoms and depression symptoms. I like to talk about mental health because I think the more we talk about it the less stigma there will be around mental health illness.
I know there is a lot of stigma and myths that surround mental health illness and those that suffer from mental health illness and I thought that I would write about some of the more popular ones and why they are inaccurate or in some cases absolutely untrue.
Myth: Everyone with mental health problems are crazy.
No, they absolutely are not “crazy.” I hate the word “crazy” and the way it gets used all the time in such a negative way. Over time people seem to have become desensitized to using words like crazy. bipolar, OCD and so many more as meaning something they do not. It has become very normal to hear people say things like I’m such an OCD when they just mean they are perfectionists or neat. Having mental health problems does not mean you are crazy- it just means that like a large number of people in this world you have a illness or illnesses that you have to cure/learn to handle. Having a mental health problem is similar to having a physical problem- and some even occur from physical problems- and it does not make you any less of the person you used to be.
Myth: Everyone with mental health problems are dangerous.
No, not everyone with a mental health problem is dangerous. In fact, the majority of people who suffer from mental health problems are not a danger to those around them. Yes, a small number of people with mental health problems are dangerous but again the majority of them are not. They can in some instances be a danger to themselves and if they are they needed to be treated for their illness so that they are able to become more stable.
Myth: It’s easy to tell when a person has a mental health problem.
Not everyone that has a mental health problem will show symptoms of it around other people and many of them tend to be high functioning which means that the people around them may not even notice a change in their behavior or recognize any symptoms since they will still maintain their regular life and routine and will suffer in private. I feel as though this myth or stigma has been made popular by the way people with mental health problems are portrayed in the media, on television and in books. They are always shown to have extreme symptoms but this is rarely the case in reality. In reality, a large number of people with mental health problems- even serious mental health problems- do not show all/most or even any of the symptoms around other people. Some people may also not have all the symptoms constantly as the symptoms may come and go- sometimes they may also experience stronger or weaker symptoms.
Myth: People with mental health problems can’t function normally.
As mentioned earlier a lot of people with mental health problems are able to function normally as they are high functioning. Furthermore, people with mental health problems are very often able to function completely normally if they have received adequate therapy/medication for their illness or illnesses. Again, people with mental health problems are really just people.
Myth: Mental health problems aren’t real.
They are just as real as physical problems are. They may not always be visible physically but they very much exist and are very much real. They are caused by a number of reasons- it could be the cause of nature such as genes, chemical imbalances etc or the cause of nurture such as life experiences. It can be very frustrating to hear someone who has not experienced mental health problems tell you that your illness/illnesses are not real. It also seems that this is a stigma associated with only mental health problems and not physical ones- people with physical problems are not told that their illness/illnesses are not real.
Myth: Mental health problems only happen to those that are weak.
Having a mental health problem does not mean you are weak and they mental health problems most definitely do not discriminate. Anyone can be effected by mental health illness. Mental illness being seen as a sign of weakness is a stigma that has been haunting mental health and people with mental problems for a very long time. It is just so absolutely ridiculous because if anything it takes real strength to have a mental illness and still be able to live your life and function as normally as possible. As mentioned above many people may never fully recover but we learn to live our own version of normal and start over in life which takes real strength.
Myth: People with mental health problems should be left alone/ignored.
If anything they should not be left alone or ignored. People with mental health problems may become more introverted, repressed or social however it is very important to try to maintain some form of contact with them. Having someone check up on your when you may not be taking the best care of yourself and simply just knowing that you are not alone and that there is someone out there who cares about you can make a huge difference for people with mental health problems.
Myth: You having mental health problems is your own fault.
No it is not your own fault. Mental health problems can be caused by a number of reasons including biological reasons such as genes, chemical imbalances, a symptom of physical issues like thyroid problems. It can also be caused by your experiences in life such as abuse.
Myth: I can’t do anything to help someone with mental health problems.
You most definitely can help people with mental health problems even if you may not be a trained professional. You can be there for them and make sure you are there to listen, talk or simply be around them. You can also help them with things they may find difficult to do. People with mental health problems may find it more difficult to do certain things including cooking, cleaning and self care so helping them out with everyday chores or other things they may not be able to do anymore can be extremely helpful. You can also encourage them to seek help and get better.
How can I help someone with mental health problems?
Be there for them- Try to be there for them and make sure that they know that they have someone to lean on. Listen to them if they try to talk to you about what they are going through or how they are feeling. They may not be talking to you to find an answer to their problems- they likely just need an outlet for their emotions and probably just want you to listen to them or be present while they talk.
Don’t be judgmental- Just because you may not understand or relate to what they are going through does not mean that what they are going through is not real. When someone trusts you enough to talk to you about their deepest feelings and emotions try not to dismiss and judge them. Instead listen to them and try to be empathetic.
Encourage them to seek help- If you feel as though you may not be able to help the person than make sure you encourage them to seek professional help. There are a lot of mental health problems that can not be made better by untrained people and it is definitely not your fault if you can not make someone feel better. However, trained professional know how best to deal with the symptoms and it can be very beneficial for people suffering from mental health problems.
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health expert or a therapist. My posts are written about my own experiences and contain my opinions. I talk about what personally helps me in the hopes that it will also help others in the same or similar situation however there is no guarantee that it will help due to the fact that everybody is unique and every person find different things helpful for their illness/illnesses/symptoms.
If you or someone you love are suffering from mental health problems please seek help. Talk to someone that you trust and if you still feel as though your mental health problems are disrupting your life, causing problems in your life or becoming unmanageable please seek professional help. Professionals will be able to better help you deal with whatever you are going through in a healthy manner and will also be able to recommend the best type of therapy/medication for your mental health illness. There is nothing shameful about having mental health problems or having to seek professional help and it could literally save your life so please do so.
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