The Stigma Behind Mental Illness

Did you know that the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month? If you did, great! If you didn’t, now you know. And, there’s a wealth of information online about this very fact.

Let’s educate ourselves about it. Because mental health challenges among people in all walks of life are REAL.

Maybe you have first-hand experience with this reality or know of someone who does. Either way, those who’ve experienced the realness of mental health challenges know that love, support, patience, and understanding are essential in assisting someone who’s facing mental battles.

Therefore, the stigma behind mental illness must be broken. 

It’s truly important that we educate ourselves when we see loved ones: family, friends, co-workers, teammates, school mates, ourselves — struggling mentally. Because the struggle doesn’t just stay in the mind. A lot of times it reveals itself in detrimental actions that follow. And, these actions not only affect the person in question, but they also affect those individuals around the person in question.

So, instead of us closing ourselves off to those in need of mental healing, we must be in the number of folks who dispel the stigmas surrounding topics of mental illness and mental health, in general.

There are so many people who have lived normally-functioning lives, who get hit with mental challenges out of nowhere. Like . . . the topic’s not even on their radar or even a likely possibility based on disclosed family history/health/life experiences. . . until it is. Or, maybe unfortunate instances, where people face some extremely traumatic situations in life that were clearly unexpected and unprovoked and, consequently, changed the course of their mental state going forward.

So, where’s the stigma behind that? It’s hard to label something “taboo” or “hush-hush” when that something can’t even be comprehended, explained, or identified.

As I’ve stated before on several occasions, the mind (the brain) is a very complex organ. It is the control center for everything functioning in our very being. And when its complex process flow gets compromised or interrupted, there are so many daily operations (within your normal routine) that can be affected — motor skills, organizational skills, concentration, motivation, self-care, self-awareness, task completion, happiness, will to live — and the list can go on and on.

And please don’t tell me that there aren’t ignorant people out there that make people who struggle with mental challenges feel bad about themselves. Because, they do. So, on top of not feeling well in the area of mind state, there’s the added UNWANTED BONUS of being ridiculed, ostracized, criticized, and avoided (if possible).

But let me clarify the above statement by saying, not all of us human beings think, feel, or conduct ourselves in this heartless way. There are many people who are devoting their lives to helping dispel the stigma behind mental illness and are avid supporters of those mentally-struggling.

They are some of my greatest heroes/sheroes. They are those family members, friends, medical professionals, and support groups who give of themselves to be there for individuals who are going through some VERY, VERY DIFFICULT paths in life.

Mind struggles are no joke. Nothing to be played with and nothing to be pushed off to the side to deal with another day, and certainly nothing to be ignored.

Signs are signs and they should be addressed right away when you see them manifesting in yourself or someone you know.

And by the way, help is prevalent these days. This is why I started out by saying that we have to educate ourselves and do the research.

In fact, I have a beloved family member who’s been known to say . . . “USE YOUR RESOURCES!” when it comes to getting things accomplished in life. Sound wisdom, indeed. So, I’ll use it here for this discussion and say . . . there ARE resources out there. We just need to find them, utilize the help provided, and take an active part in our own self-care and the self-care of those we love.

We owe it to ourselves and others (who need assistance) to search out viable solutions in helping manage those tough battles in the mind — that are SO REAL to those who experience them.

Some of the stigma that can be dispelled is to recognize that very statement I just made  — the fact that the mind battles are REAL to those who experience them. Because they are; and no one that’s seen someone suffering in the mind would be able to say otherwise.

So, I’m getting ready to close here in a minute, but I want to say this first: I’m doing what I’m doing with this blog (at this time in its existence) because mental health is on my radar as a critical need right now. Mind state — mindset . . . drives our actions.

As time goes on, I’m personally witnessing more and more people suffering with mental struggles in life that are hampering their quality of life. And, I wish I could take all that mental anguish and pain away from them, so they can have peace and comfort and be able to enjoy the gift of life.

Now, I’m in no way medically-endowed, so I can’t help people on that front. But, I am a human being who cares about others’ well-being. I can listen. I can be present. I can encourage through the things I say and do. I can love on people through human touch and interaction. I can educate myself on mental health and mental health challenges people face. And, I can become an advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves while they’re going through the mind battles they do.

And since I’m a writer/blogger for Degrees of Maternity, I can use this platform to encourage others to use writing for healing. That’s what I’ve been doing since January 2023, and that’s what I intend to do until . . .

I know that I’ve found joy, and peace, and comfort, and support through writing. And while writing doesn’t cure all things, it’s still one of those tools that can provide a positive starting place for leading us toward being more self-aware. It can also provide some insight on problem identification and actively addressing the problems we face in life (be it mental, physical, or spiritual).

So, I’ll continue to forward the writing therapy theme on this blog site, because it’s one of my ways of dispelling the stigma behind mental health illness. After all, my goal is to help (not hurt) people who need others to care and not to condemn.

Please share this blog post and blog site with those who are facing mental battles. They need to be constantly reminded that people DO CARE about them.

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