After publishing my previous post, Four Sixteen, I received many messages telling me how brave I am for posting and talking about my conditions on the web. I know each message came from a place of love and support, but it made me think: why does it make me brave?
If I had a physical condition and posted about my illnesses on the web, no one would’ve told me how brave I am for talking about it and sharing my “secret”. So why, just because my conditions are classified as mental illnesses does it make me brave?
And I realised that there is an even bigger stigma behind mental illness than I thought. But why? Most mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or the “wiring’s” not working that well, which can be fixed with medication. Yes,we do have our bad days, but so do others with physical illnesses. A diabetic needs insulin as someone with depression needs more dopamine or serotonin to function.
People are the reason we don’t talk about it, I think this image explains pretty well how people with mental illnesses are treated.
Yep, that’s how people are talked to, I have been told a thousand times “just pull yourself together. It’s only in your mind”.
I have interictal psychosis – which is kind of like brain epilepsy. So sometimes, when I experience anxiety, I have impaired speech and most of the time it turns into hallucinations. My wiring is just a bit off, like a diabetic’s pancreas – which is also an awful illness you have to live with every day. But with the help of epilepsy medication and an antipsychotic, I’m fine most of the time.
Having bipolar disorder is a bit different, it has to do with the hormones in the brain. There is no medication for bipolar disorder (science, get on that, thanks), one little pill that I can drink to stay chilled and on route and not stop at the manic or depressed station. There are different types of bipolar, but I’m not gonna bore you with the details. So what do we drink to keep ourselves on route? Wine; I wish. We are on a combination of epilepsy meds/ mood stabilisers and antidepressants. Now, like I said in my previous post, finding the right combination is no joke. But when you do, you’re okay, most of the time. And like everybody else you sometimes stop at the wrong station or have an off day.
So why are people so afraid of mental illness and to talk about it? But people immediately think aggressive and crazy when they hear the word bipolar. And they think you need to be locked away in the Arkham Asylum if you see or hear things that are not there. I even got asked by friends if there isn’t a demon living inside of me, causing these delusions. Nope.
Warr;ors get bad mouthed every day, and it’s not helping. It’s making things worse; it leads to being afraid of going to a psychiatrist, admitting there might be something wrong, leaving medication and even suicide.
Most people are not educated about mental illness, even though one out of every four people suffer from some sort of mental illness. Don’t let ignorance and stigma stand in the way of your health Warr;ors. If we talk more about it, then it won’t be so weird anymore. So, sort of like Fifty Shades of Grey.