Living with a Mental Health Condition

Living with Mental Illness

 Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Mental Disorders, also known as mental illness are a variety of conditions that affect ones mood, thinking and behavior.

ADHD
Anxiety Disorders. Autism. Bipolar Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder. Depression.. Eating Disorders. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Schizoaffective Disorder. Schizophrenia

The Discovery

I didn’t find out until about 2 years ago that someone important to me has been living with a mental illness. I knew that there was something about the way she behaved and spoke that was different that myself and the rest of the family. I had been told that she had a stroke so I figured her talking to herself, and answering, and the way she was very reserved speaking slowly and repetitively were side effects. 

Feelings

 Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Schizophrenia with paranoia. Paranoid Schizophrenia. Initially I was relieved that she hadn’t had a stroke however I slowly became resentful having not been told this vital information sooner. I felt unprepared and unequipped to deal and ultimately disappointed that this wasn’t directly and openly discussed. I was also confused and concerned and did not feel like I was in an open space to ask questions, like I would get in trouble or upset someone by asking. 

Is this genetic ? How did this happen ? Is it something that can be cured ?

Stigma

Particularly with Black families things like homosexuality, infidelity, death, suicide and mental illness are taboo topics that are euphemized, discreetly spoken about, or not mentioned at all. There is a stigma in the Black community surrounding mental illness.

According to nami.org

“In the African American community, many people misunderstand what a mental health condition is and don’t talk about this topic. This lack of knowledge leads many to believe that a mental health condition is a personal weakness or some sort of punishment from God. African Americans may be reluctant to discuss mental health issues and seek treatment because of the shame and stigma associated with such conditions.”

How It Has Changed My Perspective

Knowing that a family member has been living with a mental illness, and being in contact with them daily has given me a different out look on life. Often times I find myself annoyed and impatient in dealing. I go through phases of either being worried, and angry, to being fed up in search of an escape, it then turns into me guilt tripping myself for being so short-tempered or me getting upset with myself for being so hard on myself for having these natural feelings. All in all I realized I was not as patient as I wish I was and my frustration stemmed from a place of discomfort and lack of understanding. 

So I read.  I researched what Schizophrenia was, I read about mental illness and decided that it is my job as a family member to be a part of the support system. A lot of people with mental disorders end up on the street because their friends and family members do not know how to cope and provide support, or they may not have the means to provide the expensive medicines that maintain a balance for the disorder. 

Here are some facts and stats from SAMHSA.org (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and Nami.org {National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Black Community:

It's not a White thing...

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Diverse-Communities/African-American-Mental-Health

 Photo Credit: NAMI.org

Photo Credit: NAMI.org

Among Women

It's not because we're on our 'period'...

Our Children

They're not too young...

 Photo Credit: NAMI.org

Photo Credit: NAMI.org

 In America:

 Photo Credit: NAMI.org   

Photo Credit: NAMI.org

 

What IS One To Do ?

"Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime" - nami.org

8 Dimensions.png

I have been focusing on the 8 Dimensions of Wellness as a means to emphasize the importance of a stable support system as a key factor in the recovery process. 

This post is a personal entry with facts from credited sites which I’ve provided for those seeking more information

Photo Credit: NAMI.org