12 July 2014

On Mental Illness

I came across this interesting article today:

'Bleak picture' for mentally ill: 80% are jobless

It made me think of another article (also on USA Today) I read some time ago about the problems with the mental health industry here in the US.

That's not what this post is about, though.  Rather, it's about my own personal encounters with mental illness.

I have a pretty long family history of mental illness.  Several members of my mother's family have faced battles with mental illness, and some, including my aunt, lost that fight.  Members of my immediate family have dealt with it.  I myself have fought it.  When I was sixteen, I missed about a month solid of school just because I was too crippled with depression to make it out of the house.

Depression isn't the only form mental illness takes.  There's a wide gamut.  But depression and anxiety (and, to an extent, bipolar) are the ones that have most affected me.

I think of several friends I have who face crippling anxiety.  I admit, I myself have had problems with that as recently as a few months ago, but thankfully it did not last long.  Their problems are much more severe.  Anxiety isn't rational, it isn't easy to just talk yourself out of.  Your brain whirls a mile a minute and you can't stop it, even when you know it's not making any sense.

I suppose it's hard to write about something so personal, to me, and to others, without giving away details of their lives.  I apologize for this being so vague.  I do not want to infringe on my friends' or family members' privacy.

In the end, I guess I just want people to be aware.  There is definitely a stigma attached to mental illness.  Perhaps speaking out about it is the best way to fight it.  I don't claim to have the answers, not by a long shot.  But I wanted to put my two cents in.