I am one of the most mentally healthy individuals I know; yet (or maybe BECAUSE), I was diagnosed with a chronic mental illness over 25 years ago, with which I still struggle.
"How can one have a mental illness, yet be so mentally healthy," you ask? Let's compare it to someone who has a physical illness, yet lives a physically healthy life with that illness: for example, perhaps, someone who has been diagnosed with a heart condition. Because that person has been diagnosed with such condition, he or she decides to take every physical precaution to prevent the condition from escalating and/or reappearing. He or she may start eating more healthily, exercising more religiously, stop smoking, and whatever else he or she sees fit to do. That person, then, has a chronic physical illness, yet is living an extremely physically healthy life.
When one is presented with the challenge of having to live with a condition, he or she can either choose to (a) not get medicated and/or (b) not receive therapy for the illness. A wise person will hopefully choose what I feel is the right path and opt for both. Once one is medicated and has his or her illness under control, he or she can then begin to proactively keep himself or herself physically or mentally healthy, whether it be by strengthening muscles in the body (physical health), or strengthening the brain "muscles" (mental health).
Mental health is a key component to living a fulfilled life, full of solid relationships and love of one's self, which in turn helps to love others.
I am blessed with a loving family of my husband, 5 children, 2 in-law children, and 2 grandchildren. I feel so fortunate to have been diagnosed years ago, enabling me to do lots of introspection, self discovery, and self improvement, which ultimately leads me to be able live in the moment, fully enjoying my life: appreciating immensely all the good in my life and dealing appropriatey with the challenges.
In my opinion, it is essential that any stigma related to mental illness, or mental health issues (such as anxiety, anger, sadness, etc...) needs to be eradicated. The lay person needs to be educated about mental health/illness and be informed that it is just as important as physical health/illness. Thus, no shame whatsoever should be associated with experiencing mental health symptoms or mental illness.
My hope is that, together with all of you site members, I can help spread this message so that no one should be ashamed, looked down upon, or feel they have a weak character, due to mental health issues or mental illness.
- Board Member