The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge it because millions of people, as well as myself, combat mental health diseases every day. Enduring mental health disease has been a rough road for us however it can be done. I want people to understand that life does not come to an end just because you have a mental disease. I am a living witness that you can have a quality life while sustaining your disease.
What I have found to be effective and most helpful over the years, is to have a community of health care professionals, family members, loved ones and friends surrounding me at all times. If you do not have a health care professional that can treat your disease it should be a priority that you find one. You can find a health care professional, whether it be a licensed counselor, social worker, therapist, psychologist even psychiatrist, without having health insurance or low income. It is imperative that you have professionals in place to diagnosis, treat, and monitor your mental disease so that you do not hurt yourself or others. Most cities across the US have a local mental health department that can assist you with little financial burden. For instance, in Columbus, Ohio for Franklin County NetCare Access can help you in a crisis and get you set up with the professionals. Other places have organizations to aid you and refer you to the best match for your needs.
While you are researching your health care options you should take a good look around your inner circle of family, loved ones and friends because they are the ones who know you best. They can assist you with finding a professional who has your best interest at heart and advise them on things that you may not be able to advise them on. For instance, when I had my first Bipolar episode my mother and sister had to take over the reins. I was not healthy enough to help myself and they were a godsend. So, be sure your inner circle has your back and best interest in mind. You don’t want anyone who will enable you and encourage you to stop/refuse medications, treatment or therapy because those the three entities will be your life saver.
Now, I know there is a lot of stigmatism associated with mental disease, especially with everyone running to the conclusion that the people who commit mass murders have these issues versus being the epitome of evil. However, having a mental health disease is not wicked and does not stop life from going on. It should not give anyone the insecurity that they are not worthy of being treated with respect and love. I have had people in my past, even those in my inner circle, who I have discontinued being in a relationship with because they thought they could get over on me because of my disease. That included friends, lovers and even clergy members. I know it’s tough out here in the world, but our mental disease, which is our cross to bear, is not any different from living with a physical ailment such as diabetes or sickle cell anemia.
In conclusion my post today is just to give recognition to a disease that deserves to be taken seriously and not thrown around to aid political juggernauts in creating fear throughout the world. People living with real mental disease are not malicious, vile or revolting. We are every day citizens who go to work or school and contribute to our communities. We are not monsters, but real people who have feelings and should be treated with as much respect as anyone else. If you know someone in your circle who is living with a mental health disease give them a hug today and let them know that they matter to you and you love them.