How many of you are taking any SSRI’s – antidepressants? Raise your hands. How many of you are taking Clonazepam or any anti-anxiety medication? Raise your hands. How many of you are taking anti-convulsion medication and any of the mentioned? Unless, these questions were asked in a therapy group, not many hands would rise. However, in a therapy setting quite a few hands would rise because no one would have consequences to fear.
In our society, people are not educated on bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. There is a stigma. So, individuals who have these conditions are afraid of being “found out” by “normal” people. They are scared of people might look at them differently. Or once “found out” others may fear and avoid them. I have experienced this first hand. I am open about my problems with anxiety and depression .I don’t tell every one that I meet about my problems. However, I write about it. I fear that the neighbor’s daughter will not be allowed to come over to play with my daughter if they read about my issues. I do not have a job outside the house. But, I could imagine office gossip and wondering what my boss would think about my problems, if he were to find out.
Additionally, this fear of not being accepted by society is a self fulfilling prophecy. The less people admit to having mental disease, the more ignorant society will remain about mental disease. A person with heart disease is not alienated by their peers.They are given sympathy even if they have smoked all their life and contributed to their own suffering. People sympathies go out to people suffering with heart disease and having to have surgeries etc..But, mental diseases are viewed in a different light. Some think mental diseases like anxiety or depression is an issue that a person should be able to get over without help. Or the people with these disease are to be feared.
Look at how the average person is educated about mental disease. The extreme cases that make front page news. The diseased people who make front page news are the extremely rare cases of mental disease. If this were not the case we would have a lot more incidents of people killing their families. People going “postal” and shooting groups of individuals. We would have corners full of people pushing shopping carts.
Most mental disease fall on a bell shaped curve. At one end, you have the rare cases that make the front page news. But, most mentally diseased people are just average. They have diseases that if managed properly are functional productive members of society. They are not dangerous. They deserve to be accepted by society. It is horrible that people have to live in fear of being “found out”. In fact, this just makes mental disease worse for its’ sufferers. They feel guilty for their disease and ashamed. Considering that most of all mentally diseased individuals are highly sensitive people. This situation worsens their disease. Thus, coping is even harder.
The brain controls every process in the human body and is vital to our survival. No one can live with out a brain. Hearts can be fixed. They can be transplanted. Brains? No transplant. It is such a complex organ. It is the hub of every process in our bodies. The brain is extremely busy. Busy doing many things we take for granted and more. It is amazing that there is not more mental disease . The heart receives respect. The brain deserves the same respect. I would say it deserves more. The brain should be allowed to make mistakes or to have trouble with no shame. Then, people with malfunctioning brains could feel less guilt. Consequently, mentally diseased patients could live with out fear of being “found out”. This would not only help those who are diagnosed, but it would facilitate others who need help to get it.