Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
I feel fired up today. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have been fighting mental illness for about 8 years or just that there is so much ignorance in the world today. Our whole goal with Love-Brain is to spread the word about mental health and the stigma. SO HERE WE ARE. There are a couple things on my mind but one thing that triggered me was something I saw on social media the other day. Someone was claiming that they don’t believe in mental health. They think people are “just crazy”. Now listen here- I usually don’t let things trigger me on social media, however, I was having a really rough day with my mental health. I have gained 35 pounds now since going on Lexapro. (You can learn more about this in my last post if you are interested) I wasn’t feeling myself and was hating the person looking back at me in the mirror. I knew this weight gain and lower self esteem was because I was on this medicine because of my anxiety and OCD.
I know how deeply mental illness has impacted me and my family. I know of way too many people who have passed on because of suicide due to an underlying mental illness. Mental illness should be taken so much more seriously than it is. Now look, I am not a pro with health but I always use Diabetes as a good example. Diabetics can’t produce enough insulin right? So they need to take insulin in order to balance out their entire system. When you don’t have enough Insulin, every part of your body is being impacted. If we look at mental health the exact same way, your brain impacts EVERY SINGLE THING. Think about it like this, how many times in a dire situation do they take a person off of life support because they have no brain function? A lot. That is strictly because the brain is really the center of your whole life. The brain controls your ability to walk, talk, hear, see, think, your memory, and even controls your breathing too. Knowing that information, imagine that there is an imbalance of brain chemicals in your brain. JUST REALLY think for a second, how much that can impact. I guess y’all can see why I get soooooo FREAKING HEATED when people don’t believe in mental health or see its importance. The one thing that controls who you are as a person is looked over when talking about health. So often, the only times that we hear about mental illness frequently is when it is tied to serial killers or crime. So often, people with mental illnesses are used as characters in movies, the popular horror plot is held in an asylum, or mental illness is looked at as something scary and otherworldly instead of just health. Your brain, as I mentioned before, is so incredibly remarkable. However, when things are out of whack, so much can go wrong. And not to forget that 1 in 4 Americans will struggle with a mental illness in their lifetime.
Another thing other than just the stigma against mental health that is frustrating is the idea that people who speak about mental health are looking for attention. Now if someone does use an illness for attention, I don’t know what to tell you. However, so many people that share their experience with mental health want to be heard and some may be even sending out a cry for help. We can never discredit a suicide threat or suicidal language online as just a plea for attention. Those should always be taken seriously and wellness checked. You literally can save a life by reaching out to a person who is posting such content or you can always call in a welfare check.
The next misconception that I hate is that people with mental illnesses can control it. Can someone control if they are born with Asthma, Diabetes, or any other physical illness? No right? So why is it that we blame mental health strugglers as “doing it to themselves” or just “all in their head”? It is so unfair and honestly so misleading. One thing I will mention is that I have had a lot of physical illnesses. I have learned that part of overcoming your physical illness is doing what you’re supposed to-IE taking meds, better diets, exercise, etc. I think mental health can also be this way too. I think there are ways you can work to maintain yourself and mental illness. However, an imbalance in your brain chemistry does not mean that you did that to yourself or that you changed your brain chemistry.. (like how even?!) I think sometimes it is also forgotten that the brain has certain ways to try and protect itself after trauma. A lot of patterns that the brain comes up with is meant to help defend itself because of past traumas. You can’t control the way your brain functions. You can do your best to get help you may need and try different therapies but you really can’t control how your brain works. So often I hear people saying, “snap out of it” or “just don’t be nervous”, “there’s nothing to panic about”. Although people may not know how to handle mental illnesses and may try their best to comfort you, these statements just don’t help. Panic attacks can pop up at the weirdest times and you usually have control. Telling someone with anxiety to “ just not be nervous” won’t do anything because it is unfortunately something that you can’t just turn off.
Unfortunately, when mental health is looked at as something other than health, people that suffer these mental illnesses tend to be treated differently. We need to remember to inform family and friends that mental illness is an illness of the BRAIN-which we all know is so important. It is just as serious as physical health conditions. The more we show how important mental health is, the less stigmatized it will be and the more care will be put into place. We need to take care of our mental health warriors!
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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Check out my last blog post: https://love-brain.com/blogs/brain-battle-blog-with-gracie/it-isnt-always-perfect-post-recovery
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