According to MentalHealth.gov:
One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue.
One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression.
One in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 American lives each year. (Mental health myths and facts, 2017)
There are many negative stigmas around mental health and illness. This is because many of us don’t understand them.
This is my personal journey with my mental illness. As a young girl I was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Anxiety, and OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). To put it simply, my brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin and dopamine along with other things. It doesn't mean I am not as smart or capable as others. It means I had to teach myself how I learn.
Living with these disabilities has always had its challenges. I had trouble with most subjects in school because I was not processing the material the same way my peers could. This caused me to feel inferior. If I was having difficulty retaining the material due to my ADHD, this impacted my test taking abilities. Difficult questions during a test would provoke anxiety to dictate my thoughts and emotions, feeding off the response from ADHD.. I was left feeling overwhelmed, defeated and behind. This cycle carried on throughout my entire life.
With practice and patience, I have learned to be grateful for my disabilities. They have taught me to work hard and allowed me to be more empathetic towards others who also deal with disabilities. It has allowed me to judge less and love more freely. I still have difficult moments, days, and even weeks. There are times when I have to remove myself from situations because I am too overwhelmed. I’ve learned I do not operate the same as my peers. But, I choose to feel gratitude as one of the ways to cope with my differences. I am aware this is not the case for all people as my disabilities may not be as severe as others. I also feel fortunate to have been raised by my mother who was educated on and understood mental disabilities. She helped me cope with my differences while recognizing that there was nothing wrong with me. Being educated about my disabilities has helped me seek help. Through trial and error I have found a medication that works for me. I find success within my disabilities and I think of them as strengths because they keep me grounded. My hope is that others may find the help they need.
Too many people misunderstand mental disability! Many people go undiagnosed due to parents fear or disbelief around mental disabilities. This can cause an increase in difficulties for their children. Understanding mental health and seeking professional help can change one's life. Far too many people have mental illness for it to consciously become a hushed topic.
So where do we start?
Do your research. Educate yourself. Ask your doctor, read a book, listen to a podcast, ask your family and friends who deal with mental illness. Maybe you or a loved one has mental disabilities you weren’t aware of . Being educated throws out the stigma and opens a space for understanding.
Be a safe place for people. Remember you don’t know everything but you can still practice patience and love.
Keep in mind that everyone’s struggles are different. If there are two people diagnosed with the same illness, it will still look different.
Ask your loved one how you can best support them. You will never know how to help if you don’t ask. They might even tell you they don’t know how you can support them. Remember, just sitting next to someone in silence is enough.
Normalize Mental health
If you’re interested in furthering your ability to change and redefine what mental health means for you, you can purchase Redefining Normal by Justin and Alexis Black here at the link provided or in Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MDHZ5KZ
Other links include:
Amazon link for our workbook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1734573155
The bundle for both the Redefining Normal book and workbook on our website: https://bit.ly/RNBundleYE