Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Think We Need a Bigger Flashlight

I've caught a little flack over the years for speaking out about domestic violence and mental health issues. I truly believe that it is in secrecy and isolation that these things are allowed to grow to astronomical proportions and affect generations far into the future.

Dealing with mental health issues, is difficult for the person suffering with the diagnosis and the family and friends who love and try to support them. Many mental health issues are chemical imbalances in the brain, that prohibit the 'proper' development and interpretation of thoughts. I believe there is a huge societal stigma against people who struggle with mental health issues. Once you have that diagnosis, it is hard to even get a doctor to look at a health issue without taking the mental health component into account. It was very frustrating to me years ago when I struggled with some post traumatic stress issues following a car accident and had problems with anxiety attacks. Once It was diagnosed as an anxiety attack and I was put on medication, I felt so much better and could cope a lot easier, however, every time I went to the doctor for anything they chalked it up to an anxiety issue.

If I had diabetes and needed medication, there would not be a stigma, guilt or shame attached to that.

My oldest son has chronic kidney failure and had a transplant when he was 16, he will be on medications for the rest of his life. Some of those meds cause some nerve damage and loss of some fine motor skills.

Many women have hormone imbalances and take various forms of hormone replacement therapy to keep them in balance.

When things are kept in secret, like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome, feelings of isolation, deprivation, guilt and shame abound. The chemical imbalance can be treated, when a light is cast on it and the patient is willing to seek care. The feelings of isolation come from thinking you are the only one and that no one could possibly understand what you are going through.

If you are struggling with a chemical imbalance that is leaving you feeling isolated, depressed, anxious, etc. . . . simply know that it does not make you weak, a bad person, unlovable or in any way evil. There is not guilt or shame. There is help for you and in helping yourself, you are showing compassion to those who love you.

I'm standing with a big flashlight saying come out into the light, you do not have to live in bondage. You are free to be who you were created to be, you are worthy of love and happiness.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Carolyn!! As you know I am a success story in this regard. I had a sad, anxiety-ridden life that was hell for me, and miserable and scary for my loved ones, up until I finally accepted medication and found the right one for me.

    I'll just add that finding the right medication is key, and you may have to try a couple of different ones (with your doctor's assistance of course!) until you find it.