Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental illness affects millions of people every year and yet a lot of the population still trivializes it. Since we designate this month to bring awareness to mental health, I wanted to share a story about someone I had met during my hospital stay. This may be triggering to some, so please proceed with caution.
My OCD journey began with a series of events that made me admit myself into the hospital. I won’t go into all the nitty-gritty details that led to this as I have posted them before (First Post!). I met quite a few people during my stay, but one person is permanently etched into my memory.
I am going to keep her name private, and we will call her Denise for this post. Denise was admitted to the hospital because her depression came to a boil and she became suicidal. Now, many people have depression, but hers stuck with me because she plead for help from her parents.
Denise had a history of depression. She told her parents how she felt and they blew it off. They treated it as if she was seeking attention. You might think, how can someone disregard this kind of thing? It is because mental health is treated like a second-class citizen compared to physical health.
I’m thankful for my time spent at the hospital, but when I got out, they passed me onto a talk therapist who did not know I had OCD. Not only that, but she asked if I was schizophrenic. As someone who just got out of the hospital for an anxiety disorder, this is probably not the first question you should ask.
All of this led me to the fact that I was truly on my own. It wasn’t like if you had broken your arm; they operate on you and then there is the physical therapy process, etc. Essentially, you have a team of healthcare professionals ensuring they properly healed you to the best of their abilities.
To swing back to Denise. They released her from the hospital a few days after I was. Our small group kept in touch with each other until Denise’s parents caught wind that she was talking to someone from the hospital. They cut her off from us because once again; they believed she was just going through a phase.
Don’t be discouraged by this post. The point is, mental health has been, and continues to be, trivialized. If you feel you need help, there are plenty of resources for you. If your family, or your doctor, doesn’t offer you the help you need, there are people out there that are trained in mental illness that will help you. Use Google. That is how I found out I had OCD and it set me on the path of recovery.
Always remember, you are not alone. Millions suffer from some form of mental illness. Everyone has their own demons and you can beat them. The world is a better place with you in it.
If you know someone that has a mental illness, please listen to them. Don’t be like Denis’s parents. Even if you can’t see it, or feel it, they are hurting if they ask you for help. Give them what they need and you may just save their life.