There are so many myths about mental health and illness that it seems quite strange in the epoch of the utmost informational availability. However, people are still prone to stigmatization and are extremely wary of those who are experiencing a mental disorder. However, we suggest you look at things broader and refrain from your premature labeling.
In fact, a mental illness is not much different from a physical disorder in the conventional sense. You won’t be afraid of a person who has diabetes, cancer, or suffers from heart disease, will you? People going through mental illness also need empathy, understanding, and support. We suggest you debunk some myths about mental health and illness, which will allow you to be more affable and sensitive to those who need it most.
Myth 1. I’ll Never Have a Mental Breakdown If I’m All Right Now
We always want to hope for the best, although the statistics are inexorable. Studies show that approximately 1 in 25 US residents suffers from a serious mental disorder right now, and 1 in 5 may go through it soon.
We agree that some factors increase people’s predisposition to mental illness. However, no one can guarantee you don’t have them! Besides, many mental breakdowns develop under the influence of external circumstances. No one knows how you will behave in extreme situations or how your psyche will react to them, so arrogance is unnecessary here.
Myth 2. People with Mental Illnesses Are Dangerous Because They Are Prone to Violence and Do Not Understand What They Are Doing
Unfortunately, there is some truth in this statement. However, you should understand that there are a huge number of mental illnesses of various natures, and each has its own set of symptoms, conditions, and behavioral characteristics. Indeed, people with certain types of disorders can be aggressive. However, statistics show that people with mental illnesses are still more likely to become victims of violence because they are more vulnerable because of their lack of clear thinking and ability to analyze the situation.
Myth 3. Mental Illness Is Just a Licentiousness and an Attempt to Justify Bad Behavior
In fact, do not underestimate the seriousness of the mental illness and try not to stigmatize sick people who misbehave. Most physical illnesses still allow us to control our emotions, thoughts, and actions. However, ailing consciousness, thinking, and the soul are simply incapable of such a thing.
The development of mental illness really implies chemical changes in the brain’s structure. Because of this, the work of its parts responsible for thinking and self-control is disrupted. It is extremely difficult to restore normal brain activity, and yet someone does not even try, because he does not realize that something is wrong with him. Don’t be too self-confident with such people, because it’s really hard for them since they may no longer understand how to behave better.
Myth 4. Those Who Go Through Mental Health Problems Cannot Work or Communicate
In our minds, mental illness is associated with derealization and reclusiveness. In fact, many people suffering from mental problems are not outcasts at all and lead normal, active lives. Moreover, they can achieve success in their careers, and the mental disorder becomes a powerful incentive for some of them, although they may experience problems in other areas.
As for communication, people with mental problems may well be pleasant and attentive interlocutors, especially during periods of relative calm without relapses of the disease. Many of them keep their empathy and can become great friends.
Myth 5. Psychiatric Medications Cause Harm and Never Help
This is another stigma that underlies preconceived opinions and sometimes cruel jokes. Just as a diabetic cannot do without insulin or an asthmatic without an inhaler, mentally ill people will not be able to survive without appropriate medication therapy. Of course, these drugs will have a negative effect if you use them without a reason, a diagnosis, or any control from a doctor. However, those who need treatment for mental illnesses are a lifesaver.
Is It Possible to Avoid Mental Illness at All?
Let’s be sincere and say that there is no absolute guarantee in any aspect of our lives. Mental problems are one of the most poorly studied and difficult to understand and treat. They can come suddenly or doze off, for the time being, appear as unexpected cycles, or exhaust a person all the time. Sometimes people with mental disorders do not even understand how they got into this or that state.
At the same time, most illnesses occur because of serious mental overstrain, long-lasting stress, or deep depression. And these are exactly the states of mind you can avoid. Develop positive thinking, meditate, listen to relaxing music on The Relaxing Panda YouTube channel, and give yourself a regular rest. All this will help you enjoy life and maintain mental health, even in difficult periods of your life.