Dare I say depression, or anxiety?

Dare I say depression, or anxiety?

Posted on July 12, 2013 by ECR Louisville in Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Geriatric Care Management, Home Health Care (Medical)

by the author Simon Richard Green

Depression, anxiety these are just two words which, when read, make most people turn the page, hit the back button, or press that little red cross in the top right hand corner, yes, the one you’re looking at now. God forbid if you ever meet anyone with these awful conditions, or even worse, know anybody who suffers.

Guess what? You probably know someone who suffers, and they might even be in the same room as you now, or on the same bus. 1 in 4* people suffer with some kind of mental illness. 1 in 4, that’s a huge number, and yet people with mental illness are still treated differently. How do I know, am I a doctor, psychiatrist, no… I am a sufferer. There, I said it

The belief, shared by many, is that people with mental health problems are just pulling a fast one, swinging the lead, trying to get out of work, bone idle. While there may be a minority who try to ‘pull a fast one,’ but isn’t that true with any illness, the majority want to work, want to contribute, in fact being part of society on equal terms helps the healing process and every person I have met with such an illness wants to heal.

The problem is this, cut your arm, they put a plaster on it, cut it badly, and you get a bandage, break it, and they give you a plaster cast. The thing is this, depression, anxiety, and many other mental health issues is… you can’t put a dressing on it, they don’t leave any ‘visible’ scars, and naturally, in today’s society, if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Anybody seen God lately?

Keep with me over the couple of paragraphs. Imagine, if you would, your worst fear, your worst nightmare, the one thing, or things, that scares you to the bone… frightening isn’t it? Thanks, you can stop thinking about it now. Now imagine that you couldn’t stop thinking about it, it’s always there in the back of your mind, biding its time waiting until your most vulnerable, and then BANG, there it is up front and personal, right in your face. You can’t run… can not hide, and no, you cannot just stop thinking about it. You can fight it, but that takes energy, makes you tired, and makes you want to sleep. Sleep; if only, that’s when the nightmares start, that’s when you wake up screaming, so you don’t get any sleep, you don’t get to recharge your batteries. No one can fight effectively when they’re tired? So eventually, over time, rational thought gives way to the bad thoughts, those dark evil thoughts that lead to… well… death.

Now ask yourself this question, and be honest with the answer.  Your fear, the one you thought of earlier, does everyone share that fear, or just some people. 1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness, about the same number fear spiders, snakes, even clowns. Visible, solid objects we can all see, and yet they cause fear, fear is in your mind, so is mental illness. The object of ‘fear’ may not be visible, the scars may not be visible, but the fear is just as real and the cuts are just as deep.

There is hope in therapy, and, for some, medications. We… you can learn to stop those fears, those thoughts before they get control, before they take over, you can and you will win. Maybe not today, tomorrow, or the day after, but there will come a day, a day not like any other when you will win. No one will notice because no one knew you were ill. Because of people’s reaction you were too afraid to tell them… them the very people who pulled a funny face when they heard that someone around them has, or had a mental illness.

Thank you for reading.

“Only bloody lovely” the début novel by the author Simon Richard Green

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* Mental Health Foundation figures 06/07/2013