art by Darin Hammond
Let’s shake ourselves out of the dark ages
and realize that one in four of our neigbours, friends and relatives
are suffering as you read this.
In fact if three of your closest friends and relatives seem fine,
you’re probably the one who needs help!
Most people go to their G.P. for a physical once a year, make an appointment with a dentist to check for tooth decay but who ever thinks to have someone check up on their mental health?
While reading this suggestion, some people will confidently laugh off the implication that there might be something wrong with their mental health, others might nervously skim the rest of this post. This question is far from ridiculous,though. Have you taken a good look around lately? What do you see and hear?
The whole atmosphere of modern society is stressful because people are anxious about the economy and their job security. They have problems sleeping or self medicate with alcohol, drugs and cigarettes to help ‘take the edge off’. More and more sick days are the result of depression and other mental health issues. However it never enters most people’s minds to seek professional help until they are in a crisis or even must be committed. There still is a stigma attached to mental illness.
Most of us who do seek help, gloss over our issues saying we go for counselling because any other label feels so damning.Post traumatic stress disorder, restless leg syndrome, depression, anxiety, sleep disorder, paranoia, panic attacks are labels that carry a terrible stigma. Often people become too ashamed to seek relief from professionals and it is no wonder that they do.
Society usually cannot fathom these unseen illnesses and resorts to age-old admonishments,
“Pull your self up by the boot straps.”
“Don’t be lazy.”
“What’s wrong with you, anyway?”
“You seem fine to me!”
I think that we try dismiss mental illness for several reasons. People are afraid of what they do not understand and perhaps even afraid that depression or anxiety is latent within themselves. So we yell at the ill, just like we are yelling at ourselves, hoping to out shout and shake our friend or relative as well as ourselves out of a funk.
Well I want to yell as well, only I want to yell from the roof tops that just like a person with poor eyesight need glasses and a diabetic needs insulin, some ordinary people have chemical imbalances and need prescription medicine.
It is that simple.
A simple matter of serotonin levels.Of course we all need therapy to tackle other underlying issues but such rigorous self-examination is only possible once we are in chemical balance again. Let’s shake ourselves out of the dark ages and realize that one in four of our neigbours, friends and relatives are suffering as you read this. In fact if three of your closest friends and relatives seem fine, you’re probably the one who needs help!