Living a Fulfilling and Healthy Life with Mental Illness

Mental Illness Health and TreatmentYour overall general health should always be a crucial priority in your life, including your mental health. Because of the major stigma against virtually all mental illnesses, many individuals are afraid to acknowledge their symptoms. People fear that upon being officially diagnosed with something such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia that their life is over. They often feel as if they don’t belong, that they are worth less than others. However, this is nowhere near the case.

Countless critically acclaimed artists, writers, actors and other celebrities and historical figures throughout the years were diagnosed with mental illnesses and didn’t let them hold them back. Examples include Leonardo Dicaprio, Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Janet Jackson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, among many others.

The important thing to remember is that a mental illness is not necessarily something that needs to be “fixed.” We can live happy, fulfilling and successful lives with the proper amount of support from friends, family and often medical professionals. There is no shame in talking with a doctor to see if you might have a mental disease. There is no shame in taking medication to help this condition. There is no shame in existing as a mentally ill person.

The stigma surrounding mental disorders comes from the cliche, “it’s all in your head.” Well, answer me this: where else would it be? Your liver? Your pancreas? It is scientifically proven that things like depression, anxiety, dissociate identity disorder, almost all mental illnesses are a disease of the brain. Few people understand that the brain can become sick, too, just like your stomach or your heart.

Many people have no idea when or how to get help. The following are some examples of things to be on the look out for in yourself and loved ones, as they are common symptoms of various mental illnesses;

-Withdrawal from social circles
-Confused thinking
-Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
-Strong feelings of anger
-Denial of obvious problems
-Abuse of either drugs or alcohol, or both
-Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
-Extreme highs and lows in mood
-Long-lasting sadness or irritability
-Many unexplained physical problems
-Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
-Increasing inability to cope with daily activities and problems
-Delusions or hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there in reality, such as voices in your head, feeling like you’re floating or flying, or the sensation of bugs or snakes crawling on your skin)

Effects of Mental Illness on the Brain

It can be terrifying to find out that you have a mental illness. It’s not fun, and it’s not like it’s going to get you further in life for any reason. But knowing what is causing you to feel and experience any of these things, can also be incredibly relieving. It can open you up to a community of people just like you, who are typically much more accepting and understanding of your struggles and feelings.

Try talking with your doctor or local clergy to see about getting a referral to a psychologist or other form of a therapist. Support groups are also a great option for low-income individuals or those who would prefer to talk with multiple people in a more open environment. You can look at all the different types of mental health disorders.

At the end of the day, there are many options to choose from. Deciding what is best for you and your mental health is ultimately up to you.