Mental Illness – Part of Your Story You Can’t Ignore

You can ignore many things in your life. It doesn’t really ruin your day when someone takes the last cupcake. It’s not the end of the world when your husband doesn’t unload the dishwasher. You can turn a blind eye to the muddy shoes your kids left out. But what you can’t ignore is mental illness. Be it your own, your loved one’s, or that of the other parent in your story.

I take mental health very seriously, can you guess why? BECAUSE IT’S SERIOUS. So while I believe plenty of people do know what they are talking about when they “label” someone in their life with a particular mental illness, the truth is, many people don’t. They don’t have a clue. I am not going to get into the slew of diagnoses of mental illness, as I’m no doctor. I can tell you however, that mental illness has colored all over my blended family story and I will say this; it’s time to learn about it. I mean really learn about it. It’s time to stop being so ignorant, as a human race, on the topic.

Learning about this topic could bring about so much great, I can’t believe we aren’t doing more of it. If you suffer, don’t you want to know that there are treatment options, or have people in your life at least begin to get it? What about those who don’t suffer personally with mental illness? Shouldn’t they be allowed resources for how to deal with those they live with who do? The resources are available..I mean like everywhere. You should certainly be careful of where you’re getting your information, of course, but it’s time to raise awareness in general. Mental illnesses are real, and they are debilitating.

Diagnosed, misdiagnosed and undiagnosed individuals are everywhere. And they constantly hear things like this:

“Well if they would just get it together.”

“She’s bipolar, so there’s no helping her.”

“He’s crazy. I just back away slowly.”

“There’s nothing to be that sad about. Get over it.”

The countless people who suffer in silence. The lives shattered or lost. They are not funny, they are very real. So as I am quite sure many of you do deal with someone with a mental illness on a regular basis, let’s take some time this week (MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK FOLKS!!) to stop, make some educated statements, and perhaps do a little research. If you suffer from mental illness personally, you know very well you can’t just shut it off. If you are suffering because someone in your life has a mental illness, I mean it, go get yourself some information. None of this is new, it’s just highly stigmatized and we make fun of things we don’t understand. How sad. We are missing a glorious opportunity to learn and grow here!

I’ve personally stumbled upon a great deal of mental illness information and clarity during my research and dedication to growth and finding my own healthy path. I even found illnesses I didn’t know existed. People live with this stuff! They are not their disorder, they have a disorder. I am not saying you should always feel bad for people who have a mental illness, that they should get to slide on their behavior, or you should have to eat the shitstorm they may bring. NO WAY am I saying that. What I am saying is we need to raise some awareness. We need to stop acting like these are things that can simply be switched on and off. And for the sake of so many, it’s time to get HELP!

If you are on the receiving end of someone else’s outbursts, I encourage you with every piece of me to do some research, and learn about coping mechanisms. I know many of you believe the other parent in your story is mentally ill, you’ve told me as much. If that’s the case, I ask you, what are you doing to educate yourself on the topic? What are you doing to arm yourself against it, for your own peace of mind? Instead of just complaining about what they are doing, try understanding it, and therefore, protecting yourself, and helping the children cope as well. Until more recently I had never thought of how the behavior of others affected me, or what I could be doing to learn about it. It’s opened up a whole new world and source for peace. Knowledge truly is power.

Bipolar Disorder- Depression – Borderline Personality Disorder – Schizophrenia -On and On and On and we think we know all about this stuff? We think we have all the answers? We think it’s not affecting us or there’s nothing we can do about it? So false. What we do have however is an opportunity. An opportunity to shed light on an area concealed by darkness for so long. Lives lost to suicide. Children in the care of parents who are not healthy. Friendships ruined. Marriages ending. PLENTY of times, mental illness is at the core.

I simply believe if we took time to learn about these things, to educate ourselves, stigmas would lift, lives could be saved, and things would look so different. So many people refuse help because they don’t want to be labeled, and they believe they aren’t worth it, or they will be made fun of – THAT IS TERRIBLY SAD!

I realize I am only one voice, but I encourage you to get help. If you have an illness, go seek help! If you love someone with an illness, stop ignoring the signs, and get them help! And if you are dealing with someone who is making your life miserable do not chock it up to their problem. If they’re making you miserable it’s just as much YOUR problem. GO GET HELP.

Just wanted to take some time to bring it up. Mental illnesses have been part of my blended family story for a very long time. Learning what they are, learning who has them, learning how to cope with them, and learning not to be ignorant about them.

You may want to start here: The National Alliance on Mental Ilness

By all means, if you have specific resources that have been helpful to you, add them, get the word out.

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