MENTAL ILLNESS, HIDDEN IN SILENCE

We tend to think mental illness is always visible, and it’s a disease that everybody would recognize.

But that is not true. The definition of mental illness is that it’s a disease of the brain that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.  Some of the signs of this disease are clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. I’ve personally heard people say that they do not want a mental diagnosis to appear on their work record!! So, your place of employment presents another potential problem…they may not understand either.

     Mental illness can run in families. You’re either born with it, or it’s situational! These disorders can sometimes be brought on by a situation or a buildup of multiple situations that have happened to us in our lives, even since childhood. My father was diagnosed in the 80’s with mood swing disorder (bipolar). He stopped taking his medicine and refused to take it again. He said that he didn’t have a problem…WE had the problem, because we had to deal with HIM (laughing)!! He was a GREAT provider for us. We didn’t want for anything, but he never knew how to show us love because he was never shown love growing up. I was diagnosed with anxiety/panic attacks and mood swing disorder about 30 years ago. I dwelt with co-dependency, abandonment and rejection issues. I was able to use positive thinking, my will power and trust in God to overcome those issues.   I was also able to stop taking my medication years ago. This may not work for everyone, but get some kind of help. Go to a therapist, a hypnotherapist, a psychiatrist…just get some help, talk to somebody!

       In my research, and according to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. It is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration. They have troubled relationships and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

     I spoke to Frank Jones, LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapist); he said, “It is believed that 1 in 4 people deal with some form of emotional distress like depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s a lot of people. Most don’t really understand personality disorders. There are about 8 or 9 distinct ones. Narcissistic personality is very prevalent. You have those that are narcissistic and those with ‘narcissistic disorder’ which takes narcissism to a whole different level. People don’t know what they are looking at when there is a personality disorder. The stigma attached with it is that they don’t feel like they have a disorder, they don’t need anyone and they can straighten it out themselves.”

Jones adds, “Sometimes people don’t go to see about themselves because they are scared. Fear stops you from doing a lot of things. They are afraid that if they go to see a therapist, something from their past is going to come up…something they have been ignoring and trying to suppress. They are afraid to face their inner demons, insecurities and inadequacies. A lot of men don’t want to appear weak, so they don’t go. They don’t even like to go to their regular doctor” (laughing).

     According to a news story, an elderly man was walking and stopped to hear the question that a man in a car had asked him. When he came closer to the man’s car, he was fatally shot…for no reason!! Of course I was upset and saddened by this senseless killing, but I had sympathy for the shooter as well! People were posting on Facebook what a coward the shooter was to take his own life and how he would rot in hell for what he did. Based on reports that revealed a little of his personal life, the man had some type of mental illness. And when he committed suicide, is it possible that he felt that this was his only way out…his freedom?

       We never know what a person is going through. If left untreated, one of these disorders could lead them to hurt someone or commit suicide! You don't have to be a mental health professional to help. Listen to them, talk and be patient. If you feel they are in crisis tell someone that can help. Let’s deal with mental illness, and bring it from the hidden shadows of silence.

National Suicide Hotline

1-800-273-8255

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