Here is my attempt to describe mental illness in my life, without offending anyone. And if you are offended then you should repent.
I have lived with mental illness most of my life, anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, oh I have lots of "letters" on my resume of mental illness. I have enjoyed (or not) many years of therapy. I have learned a lot about me and my triggers and causes and coping mechanisms etc. I have gained and lost many relationships to the disease. I take medication and with a saint of a husband, understanding friends and family I can function normally most of the time (but please just let me hibernate through Sept, Oct, Nov). I can joke about it. Though it is not a joking matter, if you have mental illness I say it is okay to joke about it. If you don't or haven't lived with someone who does don't tell me any jokes. It is a double standard I know. Sometimes humor is the best coping skill.
I whole heartily agree that one cannot truly understand mental illness unless you have it or have lived with someone that does. It is not rational or consistent. Hope is not helpful when you cannot feel hope. Neither is anything else when irrational thought sets in. Depression in unforgiving. Thank you to my friends that really try.
Some of my mentally ill friends call it THE DREADED DAMN DISEASE.
Mental illness is not the same for all and there is not just one way to fix it or that one pill that will cure it. It manifests itself different in everyone and the cause is oftentimes unknown. Our brains just work or think different for whatever reason.
My issues aside, I live with someone that has bipolar disorder. It has affected our family to the point that we have all been to therapy and lived, at times, with a very dark cloud that follows us around. We have contributed more to the pharmaceutical industry than most people will in a lifetime, and endured long painful hospital stays, that have crippled our finances for many years.
I have learned that you have to REMEMBER what hope feels like so you can remember it when you can't feel it. You have to rely on a support system that knows your needs specifically. Unsolicited advice is often offensive (I know I need to repent). Most importantly you have to rely on Heavenly Father and The Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our healing may not come in this lifetime, but it will come, because of His Atoning sacrifice. For this I am eternally grateful.
My favorite movie is, "As Good As it Gets." My favorite line is when Jack Nickolson walks into a waiting room of mentally ill patients and simply states, "What if this is as good as it gets." I have always wanted to do that. Also there is a quirky little movie that captures the essence of mental illness to those of us that understand. It is called "Matchstick Man." Nicolas Cage is very OCD and is talking to a therapist, while twitching and shaking, saying that he wants to blow his brains out, but all he can think about is what it would do to his perfect carpet. That is how mental illness makes you think sometimes. It is not rational. And that is all I have to say about it now.
Don't take this as depressing, just real life for so many people you may not even know. Just be kind and loving, that is all you can do for us. Every single time I pray about what to do for my daughter the answer is always the same: "JUST LOVE HER". He will make up for what we cannot accomplish.
Don't feel sorry, everyone has something to deal with. This is just one of my burdens. It is my lot in life, writing and talking about it helps a lot sometimes. So does staying in my pajamas all day if I so choose.
As you can see from my blog, there are very good and happy times too. The only thing I ask of you, is not to judge anyone for anything until you have lived their life.
More mental illness insights and funnies to come I am sure!