Friday, April 16, 2010

Psych Week on the Discovery Health Channel

One of the reasons that I established this blog was to help bring awareness to Bipolar Disorder.  It just so happens tonight that I can also help bring awareness to other mental health issues.

Any kind of mental health issue has a stigma attached to it.  In reality, most people have had to deal with some sort of mental health issue in their life whether they know it or not.  It could have been they went through a depression and didn't know it, didn't care, or denied it.  It could be they are friends with someone who has a disorder and have seen and experienced these symptoms, yet this friend hasn't confided in them because they are afraid of being rejected or they are still in denial themselves.

Too often, all we, the mental health patients, need, is just a friend to talk to us, yet many of us, especially the newly diagnosed, are so scared to talk to anyone that we don't get the help we need.  Our first choice is usually either denial or hatred of ourselves.  Both are destructive but it is really fear that fuels us.  Fear of rejection due to our condition.  Fear of treatment.  Fear of stereotypes.  Fear of being the thing that we already fear the most.

So what can you do when someone is having a hard time?  Don't accuse, don't ask if they have a mental health issue, as that will just make them defensive.  Instead, just ask if we want to talk.  Show us you intend to be in our lives despite our quirks, then one day we will confide in you, and you just might save our lives by just listening.

In a few weeks, the Discovery Health channel is going to be starting a week-long series on just this topic - psychological issues.  This week is going to be about awareness, understanding, and bring about change.  Please take the time to either watch the series or DVR it because I can almost guarantee that someone you love has a mental health issue, whether it is diagnosed or not.

P.S. I will repost this the week of the series too as a friendly reminder.  ;)