TABLE OF CONTENTS
"The Silent Killer"
Imagine yourself living in a world full of pain and agony. You go to the doctor, and they can find nothing wrong (physically), yet the pain still exists. You speak to your family members about how you feel but they are likely to brush it off and tell you that it is all in your head. The pain you feel is not able to be detected, so there is nothing wrong.
Or is there?????
Mental illness still remains to be the silent killer that takes the lives of many throughout the world. While most people are encouraged to outwardly discuss their physical diseases, such as cancer or heart disease, if you are suffering from a mental disorder, then society tells us not to say anything because to put it simple "you look crazy". I am one of those private sufferers, who just woke up one day and decided to let whoever reads this know and understand that mental illness is not a personal fault, nor is it something that people should be penalized for. I mainly suffer from bipolar disorder, but I also have issues with having serious panic attacks. As far as I have been told, I am an individual who looks normal and happy. But sometimes people are not able to see the truth that lies behind living with a sickness, especially one that they are not able to see.
So, what is it like to live my life? A roller coaster. Most days I wake up in the morning hating that I am here for yet another day, simply because I can get severely depressed to the point where waking up feels like a punishment. There have been times where my illness has left me curled up in a ball, unable to live a decent life or work, but wishing to God that he would make me happy and take away all of the hurt, pain and loneliness. For years, I have been a prisoner to something that is not my fault. I have visited specialists consistently with little to no results. Many believe that some people are beyond help, so they try to stick you on as many medications as possible because it is the "only" way. No matter who you are, suffering from a mental disorder can make your life appear worthless and lonely, simply because there are few people who are willing to share their personal experiences and when they do, they are ostracized even more.
In this life, we have choices. We can either choose to let the circumstances define who we are, or we can rise above it and use our hurt and pain as a way to help others who are desperately seeking knowledge and help for the way they feel. Choosing to keep your personal problems to yourself is not a crime. But I do encourage those who may be suffering from a lifelong mental illness to seek professional help. And if you know someone who is going through this, whether they are living with it or witnessing it, try to have compassion. Living on either side of a mental disorder is extremely difficult for all who are involved. Thus, it is mainly kept a shameful secret. So, today, I am writing and publishing this as an effort to enlighten people. I hope to be able to save at least one person who is contemplating suicide and does not want to live anymore because they are private sufferers. In the midst of this, I am prepared that people will be negative and hurtful towards me, but it is something that I am finally willing to do, just to reach one person to let them know that they are not alone and that everything WILL be okay.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON VARIOUS MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS,
WHY MENTAL ILLNESS
"THE SILENT KILLER"
THE SILENT KILLER!
A Mental Disorder is a health condition characterized by significant dysfunction in an individual’s cognitions, emotions, or behaviors that reflects a disturbance in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Some disorders may not be diagnosable until they have caused clinically significant distress or impairment of performance.
This is a brief overview of why mental illness has become the world's silent killer. The life of someone who lives with mental illness is rough and many times short lived. There are several different types of mental illnesses and myths that go with each.
TOP 3 REASONS WHY MENTAL ILLNESS IS:
"THE SILENT KILLER."
PEOPLE ARE ASHAMED.
Most people who are walking around with any form of mental illness are ashamed to admit it. This is actually a decision that was not made by choice, it was made by society. With all of the advanced technologies that we have today, if people are not able to see another person physically dying, then the problem does not exist. If you are not on chemotherapy, than you should just snap out of it. You are crazy, loony and oftentimes ostracized from friends and family if you shout out "I suffer from mental illness."
Our society has chosen to neglect those who have a serious mental illness. Neglecting or throwing away people who have this form of "disability" can lead to suicide, both socially and physically.
LACK OF EDUCATION
It is the year 2012, and people are still not aware that mental illness has an enormous impact on an individual and their family. Many people who live in a lower socio-economic status are generally more victimized by these illnesses. Certain communities are notorious for telling their loved ones not to be treated, or just go to God and pray. Unfortunately, regardless of how you feel about mental illness, if an individual feels pain then there is a problem. And there is nothing to be ashamed of. In many cases, medication is needed, along with psychotherapy.
Most people would never tell a person with cancer to skip their chemotherapy or radiation treatments....why should mental illness be any different?
Mental Illness can cause the following:
Destructive and/or obscene behavior.
Drug and alcohol abuse.
Becoming mentally abusive towards other people.
Extreme low-self esteem.
Decrease in happiness or quality of life.
Lack of education.
Engaging in risky sex.
Signs you may be suffering from some form of mental illness:
Sudden mood changes.
A significant increase/decrease in appetite.
Constant negative thoughts.
Significant changes in sleep habits, too much or too little.
Loss of concentration.
SIDE NOTE: There are several different types of mental illnesses. These are a few of "many" signs that may indicate a problem that is much deeper. Mental illness is not contagious, however, if a family member (i.e. mother or father) currently suffers from mental illness, this can increase your chances of acquiring the same illness.
Signs of Mental Illness, Mayo Clinic
GENES PLAY A ROLE
IN MENTAL ILLNESS?
Anytime mental illness is brought up, it is shown in a negative light. Whenever there is a shooting or a homicide issue, the media quickly reports these people as having a strong form of mental illness. If the only thing we see is negativity throughout the news, television shows or by word of mouth, then we have every right to be afraid. However, this is not entirely true.
WATCH NEWS CLIP
There are good and bad people of every class, color, and socio-economic status. If a person is suffering from "any" mental condition you will likely never know...and neither will they....
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)."
1. INTERNATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINES!
2.World Federation for Mental Health!
3. NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness!
RECOGNIZING BIPOLAR DISORDER
The first step to understanding how to
deal with a mental illness, is to get a proper diagnosis. Personally, my
symptoms began during my teen years and escalated downhill from there. The moment I hit puberty, I became an emotional wreck, with nonstop tears and allowing myself to be isolated from the world. I thought
if I hid away, no one would find out how deeply depressed I was. In some strange way, I thought that being distant would make me have more friends and popularity. As you can probably already guess, those things were not true. Not only is suffering from a mental illness detrimental to your social life, but it can also destroy your self-esteem and ability to handle reality. It took me nearly 10 years to finally go to a psychiatrist and find out why I felt like jumping off a bridge constantly. At that point I had heard about different mental disorders, but I never looked into it because "People like me, do not have to worry about those things." The mentally ill, are those who are locked behind a crazy cell and are never allowed out.
As you can see, this bit of information is not true. However, our society has already judged a person with poor mental health and their idea of solving the problem is to simply ignore those who area suffering a great deal from any particular illness.
Finally, after I had the last straw, I finally discovered about my mental disorder from repeat visits through several different psychiatrist. In some way I was relieved to know that everything I was feeling was not completely abnormal. I was ecstatic that now that there was a name for it, I could began a journey of recovery.
This portion is about identifying what Bipolar
Disorder is and how to deal with it. Remember, it is never a great ideal to
self- diagnose yourself. However, if you feel that these symptoms are an active
part of your life, go seek help immediately.
WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental disorder upon which a person can switch moods very quickly. One minute they may be on cloud nine and the next second they can become suicidal. This is an extremely serious disorder because the brain is switching emotions very quickly and it can cause a person who is in a manic phase to do wild risky things like shopping sprees, having multiple sexual partners, making large purchases and much more. Studies have not indicated how mania occurs, but medical doctors and researchers believe that mania can be a result of life changes, medications such as antidepressants or steroids, periods of sleeplessness or recreational drug use.
The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but it generally manifests between the ages of 15-25, and if the problem is not dealt with, it can become progressively worse. This disorder is extremely hard to diagnose because most people only go in to get treated when they are feeling depressed. If there is not a full evaluation done, then it is easy to confuse bipolar disorder with major depression and they are often given antidepressants. Anti-depressants can generally worsen the affects of bipolar disorder; this is why a proper diagnosis is required. If an individual is only going to the doctor at specific moments, there is no distinct way to distinguish between bipolar disorder and depression. Most bipolar cases can take years before there is a proper diagnosis.
There are different types of Bipolar disorder: type I, II and cyclothymia. Bipolar I is characterized as a person who has had at least one manic episode and periods of major depression. Mania can exists for days or months at a time. The most common symptoms of mania include the following:
- Loss of concentration
- Lake of sleep
- Poor judgment
- Out of control temper
- Lack of self control
- Extremely upbeat personality
Those with Bipolar II have never had full mania. Instead they experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as mania (called hypomania). These periods alternate with episodes of depression. In the past, Bipolar I was suggested to be more dangerous, but new studies suggest that because of the extreme depression that affects people who have Bipolar II more often, suicide is a major concern.
A person with Bipolar I also suffers from depression, similar to a person with Bipolar II, but not as often. This means that the symptoms for depression are extremely similar in both cases. These symptoms may include:
· Significant change in eating habits
· Stop being involved in their regular activities
·Feelings of guilt and having low self-worth
· Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
SIDE NOTE: Another form of bipolar disorder that is not as serious is referred to as cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings. People with this form alternate between hypomania and mild depression. Cyclothymia is less likely to happen at a reoccurring rate. As a result, people with cyclothymia may be able to live a more normal life, without medication.
This is only a brief overview of what Bipolar disorder is. This is a serious mental condition that has an extremely high risks for suicide because many mentally ill patients are prone to become heavily involved in drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you know may be suffering from this disorder, contact your nearest health provider.
CHAPTER 4, SEEKING HELP
One of the most difficult things in life someone can do is to stand in front of a crowd or one person and tell them how much pain and agony they feel. Many of us will always respond to the question how are you as "fine." If you have lived on this earth for longer than 24 hours, then you are probably fall into that category. While it is none of any person's business, what you are privately suffering from, a personal testimony of triumph and victory could save another person's life. Most people are kept alive, simply from the ideal that there is hope in this life. Suicide normally occurs when an individual has completely given up on their situation and they feel like no one cares.
Going public is not something that is for everyone. It is a choice and one that must be respected. In making this decision, a person should always ask themselves, "Am I keeping everything so private because I do not want everyone know my struggles?" If this sounds familiar, then perhaps you contemplating too much on what the world says. The biggest show of character, is humbling yourself to the point where you are able to alert others that your life is NOT fine. With this you will gain people who laugh, enemies included, But the reward runs much deeper. Sharing your thoughts and struggles may not only be therapeutic for yourself, but it could also save many lives, if it is only through one person.
Written By: Te-Shandra Haskett, MBA
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)."
Chapter 5, The Road to Recovery
Currently there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder. There is only treatment which generally includes therapy and a combination of medications.