The reality of it all … 

Just a quick note, my blog is primarily based on personal views and experience, sometimes referring to research and some background information, with the aim of helping anyone who may be suffering, or know of anyone suffering from a mental health illness. I haven’t written in a while, so let’s see how this goes. I would welcome any advice and feedback on my blogs, or your personal thoughts on the topic.
This post has quotes from some people that I know, with particular experiences with mental health illness. They have provided a personal account of their mental health illness. 

These people would like to remain anonymous, so I have included just the statements that these people have said, with a short summary as to their mental illness. I have done this in the hope of raising some awareness about the ‘real life’ effects of a mental illness on the one that has the illness. Many people (still) consider mental illness to be a ‘taboo’ subject, and are reluctant to accept that mental illnesses are real, and diagnosable illnesses. 

OCD 

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and consists of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses that repetitively enter an individual’s mind, leading to feelings of anxiety and distress. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours, actions, or mental thoughts that are performed ritually (over and over again) to relieve the feelings of anxiety and distress. (For more information see my previous post: https://mind1matters.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/the-o-in-ocd/

“On average, I spend around 1-2 hours a day cleaning. Sometimes it’s more, around 3-4 hours. People just don’t get it. Most people think it’s just being overly clean, but don’t really understand the thoughts that precipitate the need for cleaning. It’s much more difficult than just being clean.” 

Depression 

Depression is a prolonged, consistent period of low mood that causes several persistent symptoms. (For more information see my previous post: https://mind1matters.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/depression-a-silent-cry-for-help/)

“People talk about being ‘depressed’ all the time when they are experiencing a sad day, without knowing that depression is much more. My experience with depression lasts everyday. It feels like I’m always having a sad, or bad day. That’s the reality of it. It’s not just a bad day or two, and without getting help, I don’t think I would have been able to cope through all of this. I think much more needs to be done to encourage others to seek help, and people need to be more accepting and understanding.”

Anxiety 

Anxiety is basically used to describe feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. (For more information see my previous post: https://mind1matters.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/anxiety/

“It’s as though someone has dropped a massive weight on my stomach. It’s like my body has gone into overdrive and then shut down. It’s like someone has pulled my insides out of my stomach, squeezing my lungs. It’s as though the heat has been turned up, and there’s no water around. It seems as though everything around me is moving at 1000 miles a second. And then, after what feels like 10 years, I can breathe again. That’s my experience of the dreaded anxiety attack.” 

Eating disorders 

In general, eating disorders are a range of disorders characterised by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. These can include anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Eating disorders vary in the extent to which they manifest between individuals, and can have serious implications for those with the disorder, affecting eating habits, and behaviours. 

“I don’t feel comfortable with my body. People think I’m just being stupid, but it’s really hard to control the way I feel. It’s so hard to deal with, and it’s even harder to explain to people.” 

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) involves mood swings, with periods of mania and periods of depression. (For more information see my previous post: https://mind1matters.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/bipolar-mood-swings-or-more/

“Most people think of bipolar disorder as being like the weather here, switching every day from being sunny to raining, to snowing! It’s nothing like that .. a lot of the time it’s even hard to distinguish my true personality. It’s not easy to explain, and it’s definitely not easy to live with. I think people need to try to be more understanding, and not generalise – as everyone with bipolar disorder also suffers from the disorder differently.” 

Considering that around 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health problem, with these (OCD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder) being some of the more common mental illnesses, I think it’s time that people accept mental illness as something that’s real so that more people are able to talk about it. People should know the ‘typical ‘ warning signs and how to help; and those with a mental health problem should feel comfortable talking about their problems. 

I have written this particular blog simply to inform people about the realities of living with a mental health problem. I hope that this blog has been informative, and that people can better understand mental health in order to help themselves and others.

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