The Official Blog for Mental Health Project asks each person who has had an experience with mental illness, either with themselves or through a loved one, to write a blog post about it. The objective is to pull mental illness out of the closet and change the stigma attached to it so more people who need help, will reach out and receive help. For more information regarding this challenge, please go to their website.
I have had a first hand experience of mental illness, in other words depression. I have been the ‘melancholic’ kinds ever since childhood. I was asked to ‘lighten up’ and ‘stop being moody’. The ‘sad’ days would happen in response to an event or because of an unfulfilled expectation. Then, for the next few years, I would feel unhappy at regular intervals. Every few days, I would go off food and feel lethargic and tired.
I don’t think anybody understood what this was all about. Nor did I. I remember a depressive episode from when I was 11 or so. I thought it was in my genes- to feel sad. After a major (by my standards) episode a couple of years ago, I had to take charge. To handle this condition or be consumed myself. With God’s grace, I recovered and have educated myself extensively to manage a relapse.
Here are a few of my observations regarding mental illness.
Most people just do not know what it is all about. They do not know the nature of mental illness, its manifestations, its seriousness and how to help an affected person. There is an urgent need to spread awareness and educate people.
There is a lot of social stigma attached to mental illness. An understanding friend and I share our problems and ‘sadness’ and analyse our situation. Beyond that we do not talk about it openly. We would probably be ostracized if we did.
I may be met with disapproval for saying that it is important to learn to take charge. I know it is near to impossible to be in control but when you are better and in between episodes, try to understand yourself. Each case is unique and it helps if you know yours better. The mental health expert would find it useful.
Try to know your triggers, the duration and the regularity of depressive incidents. Know when an episode is looming. Conduct research on what makes you feel better. Take good care of yourself.
As for me, I try to be more aware of a relapse or even of minor incidents that may lead to a problem. I keep tabs on my eating and sleep patterns for a slight deviation can mean trouble. When I start having recurrent negative thoughts I have developed a mechanism to counter that.
All said and done, I know I can still fall prey and for that I pray to the lord to help me out of the dark times.
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog of Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics, not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
Special thanks to Priceless Joy for introducing me to the Blog for Mental Health. Read her post on Mental Health here .