It’s Springtime and with it comes the joys of blossoms and new growth. It’s also a time for rain, storms, and the risk of flooding. It’s a time when people get busy because there is so much to get done. However, just like our flower beds, there are things blossoming in the human mind that sometimes can’t be avoided. Thoughts sprout and the actions taken because of them aren’t always the right choices to make. It’s just like when a weed sprouts and we choose not to get rid of it as it will be fine. But what starts as a small weed turns out to become a big problem and is no longer fine. Same is the case with our thoughts and the way we respond as a society.
Yes, I’m talking Mental Health and the stigma that surrounds it. When you think of mental health what is the first thing that come to mind? Is it the concern for the other person? Is it compassion? Is there a lack of understanding or do you get it? Some will remark, “you’ll be fine” or “quit overreacting” but did you know that these same people could have a mental health issue and not even know it.
The issue with Mental Health Awareness isn’t about what you have, it’s about how you react to it. When your blood pressure goes up the doctor tells you it’s time to start walking and taking that prescription once a day, right? Same thing when we are overweight, have a heart issue, have blood sugar problems, have lung issue, have any medical problem that comes our way. We address it by taking the medicine, eating the right foods, and doing as the doctor tells us.
Same needs to be addressed when dealing with a mental illness, whether we hear it for ourselves or others. Or am I wrong in thinking this? Is the brain not an organ like the heart, the liver, the kidney? When you hear of someone needing a kidney transplant you don’t say, “Suck it up, Bob. You’ll be fine.” No. Instead, you hear words of endearment, “I’ll be praying for you” or “Don’t lose hope.” You see walks of encouragement and fundraisers popping up all over town. Guess what people, you can’t transplant a brain but it still needs the same love, attention, and support as if it could be done.
I’ve seen people throughout my life trying to hide their issues, be it: phobias, eating disorders, anxiety, anger issues, hoarding, etc. Do you know why they try and hide it? Because it’s not socially acceptable. Why? It’s the question I ask myself often. We accept that dad has high blood pressure and may need a triple bypass on his heart, but if dad came to dinner one night and said the doctor says I have anxiety and depression would you feel the same worry? You should. We all should.
It all boils down to knowledge and understanding. As a society, we do not have the knowledge or understanding to realize that these thoughts and disorders are real conditions – just like high blood pressure, kidney stones, ulcers, diabetes. As a society, we have lacked empathy from our lack of understanding. As a society, we don’t correlate these disorders as real health issues but instead as someone seeking attention. But did you know, mental health disorders stem from chemical imbalances. Oh, what a coincidence. The body is doing it to itself, just like when we have a heart attack. Strange, huh?
This is what Mental Health Awareness Month is all about. It’s not only about informing you, but it’s also to erase the stigma and make it known that these illnesses are out of our control, just as a stroke is out of our control.
How can you become more understanding and aware?
Understand by Reading!
Understand by getting informed!
Here is a list of amazing titles (fiction and nonfiction) that take you inside the fears, the thinking, and the lives of someone who is either dealing with a mental illness or someone who is facing living life with someone with a mental illness. Enjoy and become aware!
Writing my thoughts and experiences one post at a time.