Living with Mental Disorders

17 01 2015

My job doesn’t allow me the opportunity to blog often, so when I do, the purpose is not mindless or unimportant, this is very intentional and important to me.  For a long time in my life, I’ve been surrounded by people who have mental disorders, people who have a reality to deal with, and sometimes, that reality is all that they can identify themselves with.  As a whole, in our society, we try to deal with mental disorders in one of two extremes….the first is that we ignore and not talk about it, or we try to medicate it intensely.

When we ignore it, and refuse to talk about it, or when we feel really awkward when people talk about it, we are inherently saying to those people who have disorders….that what they’re going through isn’t important.  We should never sacrifice the opportunity to show support or listen to another person for our comfort.  When we ignore it into oblivion, then we often will push that person into oblivion, and that’s when things can go from bad to worse for that person.  I’ve had people in my life who have ignored me when I’m having a “fit” (as my friend likes to say), and they ignored me because they didn’t feel comfortable, or didn’t have the words to say.  But that’s not acceptable, really.  If you don’t know what you’re supposed to say, tell them you don’t know, and express your desire to not abandon them, they’ll probably tell you what you need to do.  I am very grateful when people know I’m having a fit….and they stay there, and try to take care of me.  Sometimes I wonder, if I had never told that person, what would’ve eventually happened?  It makes you think.

The second way is related to the first.   DISCLAIMER:  PLEASE READ TO THE END OF THE PARAGRAPH BEFORE YOU GET ANGRY.  If you don’t, you may miss the point I’m trying to make completely.  Sometimes, the way that we deal with it is a symptom of ignoring it….we’ll medicate the hell out of it.  We will depend on a tiny little pill to solve every problem we have.  That’s just our society at large.  High cholesterol?  Forget about excersize and diet, take a pill.  Stressed?  Take some meds.  You weigh too much?  Take a pill. Whatever the issue, we medicate it in our society.  It’s because it’s easier.  It’s easier to blame a pill for not working than to blame whatever we’re trying that’s not working.  It’s easier to just switch medication than it is for us to try something new.  I am not against the use of medication to help those of us who deal with mental disorders, but I am against it when it’s used first, before any other strategies are used.  To me, this bothers me.  Because it says, unconsciously, that human beings cannot sort through things without a pill to fix their problems.  There are many cases that medication helps and improves the lives of other human beings, some of these people are my friends, and I understand that my opinion may be a minority opinion, and that’s okay.  I simply advocate that we use less medications as possible, because we overmedicate ourselves anyways as a whole in society, that I’d rather give the good old-fashion go of it first, and then try the medication.

Honestly, the best thing that anyone can do for someone who has some sort of issue that is a part of their reality is to simply let them talk.  I’d like to propose a third thing we do as a society….please, for the love of God, simply talk to the person.  Talk to them, let them know they’re not alone.  Let them know that you’re here for them, and you’re not leaving.  Let them know that you’re supportive of them.  And don’t be there for them on the condition that they “feel better.”  That’s not what it’s about.  We shouldn’t extend our support on the condition that they feel better.  People with mental disorders cannot heal themselves like that.  It’s a part of their reality and their life, and they will probably live with it for the rest of their days.  Ask them how you can help.  Sometimes, it might be to just distract them with goofy things, sometimes, it might be just to learn about their stuff.  And sometimes, it might just be sitting with them on the couch watching a dumb movie simply because it makes them feel better.

My reality is that I have anxiety.  Sometimes, my anxiety is rather crippling and exhausting.  Sometimes, it allows me to function, and sometimes, it fixates on one thing in my life, and until that one thing is fixed, I’m not able to move through my life normally.  Some days, it tells me that the world is too scary and I need to stay in the house.  Some days, it tells me that my worst fears are right, and so I need to hide away for the evening.  Some days, it feels terrified to be out into the world alone without someone to be there with me, and sometimes, it freaks out about the fact that someone moved the towel on the counter.  Sometimes, my anxiety is so severe, that I can’t clean.  And sometimes, that’s the only thing that I can do, and the only way I can function.