Hearing buzzwords like depression and anxiety has become common these days. Despite the more open way we are dealing with these issues, it seems that we as a society are still more likely to sweep these issues under the kitchen rug than to deal with them directly. Why does the idea of mental illness continue to hold so much stigma when the federal government’s mental health site states that:
- One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue in 2011.
- One in 10 young people have gone through a period of severe depression.
- One in 20 Americans live with what is considered a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
Experiencing Mental Illness
Unfortunately, if you have not had the experience of dealing with a mental illness, it may be very difficult to understand the situation of someone who has. Mentally healthy people tend to assume that someone suffering from a condition like depression is not trying hard enough to be happy, or is being lazy when their symptoms are at their worst. These symptoms can look like all of those things to someone who hasn’t experienced them, but they are a sign of a more serious problem. That depressed person who you think is a layabout on the couch very likely does not want to be there! Depression can cause severe fatigue, headache, and even lack of motivation. People with severe depression may spend days in bed where they can’t even find the will to get up and take a shower, let alone be productive. I can tell you this from personal experience through my own battle with the condition.
Treatment of Mental Illness
To this day, experts are largely divided on the issue of treatment in some situations. When dealing with more severe cases, it is often necessary for patients to take medication to help their brains balance the parts of itself that are out of whack. At the same time, there are growing concerns about our society as a whole becoming too reliant on medication. From my experiences through my own treatment, it seems best that these things are decided on a case-by-case basis, and one solution alone cannot solve the mental health problem society is facing. If you are suffering– or worry that you might be- from a mental health issue, it is best to find a therapist and a family practice doctor who are willing to work with you to decide on what treatment options work for you, and to adjust them when necessary. My advice is also to do some research using trusted and accredited websites about how to cope with whatever condition you may be dealing with.
You are not alone
If you find yourself worried that you may have a mental illness, do not be afraid to seek help and medical attention. The longer you put it off, the worse your situation will get. It may take a bit of bravery to speak up and ask for help, but your road to recovery is well worth it.