Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Whatever: Mental Illness Awareness Week

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and I just wanted to write a brief post about it.  I think that when most people think of mental illness, they think of the truly debilitating illnesses, the ones where you are obviously "crazy" and need to be on meds or else in some kind of facility.  The term "mentally ill" does sound very ominous.

The truth is, though, that a quarter of the population is mentally ill in some way.  Some might wonder how this can possibly be.  How often do you meet truly crazy people?

While it is true that the very severe mental illness cases are rather rare, we need to remember what exactly a mental illness is.  It covers a broad range of types, but a mental illness is basically any condition that chronically prevents you from seeing things as they actually are.  For this reason, it can be difficult to know if you yourself are suffering from a mental illness.  After all, to you, everything you perceive is real; there's no way for you to know any different.

So, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, all these things are forms of mental illness.  We all experience moments of these terrible feelings, but when they are chronic and interfere with our ability to function normally, that's when we are considered "mentally ill."  Some people are able to cope on their own, others need assistance.

It's nothing to be ashamed of.  Our minds are extremely complex and can easily become corrupted over time.  It's the price we pay for being such intelligent creatures.  Fortunately, there are ways to mend our broken minds, but you have to first be aware that it needs mending in the first place.

Getting screened for an illness can be the first step in recognizing the state of your brain.  Most people will check out fine, and if you're one of those, then great!  For the twenty-five percent who find that their brains aren't as healthy as they thought, it could be the beginning of a life-changing journey to change the damaging thoughts your brain keeps giving you or at least keep yourself from getting worse.

No matter what, though, remember that you are perfect just the way you are.  Even if you don't believe it, believe me when I say that I believe it.

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