The Unseen, Unheard Deadly Illness

Hi, I’m very proud to be able to publish this new Guest Post, it’s written by an American young lady called Anya. Anya wrote this essay for an English assignment at school, she is 16 and I know by the time you have finished reading what she has written you will agree with me that she is amazing!!!!

The Unseen, Unheard Deadly Illness

Throughout my life mental illness has played a very large role. I believe that depression runs in my genes, and it will always be a part of my life. Certain situations have provoked my depression and brought it to the surface. Elementary school was the first time I truly felt depressed. Feeling depressed was a unique and unwanted feeling that I knew was unnatural. All of the kids were able to converse and they were happy, while I stood there not knowing what to do. I speak of this not to get pity or sympathy but to demonstrate how mental illnesses can change lives at any age and to anyone. As I grew up, I discovered that I wasn’t the same as other kids. It took longer for me to understand ideas, and learn the material that was taught in school. My mother brought to my attention that my birth mother was an alcoholic and I have alcoholism in my genes. The alcoholism created a small but noticeable learning disability. She told me I need to be careful with alcohol and other substances because of my addictive personality. This shaped how I viewed the world and myself. Throughout high school my depression became more of an issue, I told my friends but they were also struggling so no one voiced the need for intervention. Mental illnesses are much more common than we all would like to think. While continuing to struggle with depression, I went to a concert that helped me reach out for help. Demi Lovato talked about her own struggles and how important it is to reach out for help when dealing with mental illnesses. It doesn’t make you weak, but strong to be able to say “I need help”. Just by giving a three minute speech she changed my life. The next couple of months were very scary. Luckily, I reached out for help and I am currently getting the help I need. Sadly, this is something that so many people are afraid to speak out about. I didn’t say anything for about 4-5 years because of the fear of judgement from my friends and family. I didn’t want to be looked at as attention seeking or weak. I still am quiet about this because I feel that there are good things in life and those are the things that should be talked about, not the depressing things. I know that I want to change lives and although hard to understand, I have a purpose and I can make a positive impact on this world. Mental illnesses effect so many, and we can all play a role to change the destiny of how this illness will effect so many. Watch Consumed (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

My story is one of millions from people who have struggled with a mental illness. Mental illness is defined as a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder (NAMI). Mental illnesses do not discriminate; they can effect someone of any race, gender, and age. Sharing the important message like Demi shares at her concerts is important to demonstrate to others that mental illnesses are illnesses and the effect they can have on a daily basis. Some of our nations greatest leaders, inventors, and doers are struggling with mental illnesses. One of the nations greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln struggled with depression. He successfully put an end to slavery but he was still a slave to his own thoughts of suicide. With the sudden passing of Robin Williams, it shows how such a successful, highly productive man can be struggling so much. Others such as Beethoven, Isaac Newton, J.K. Rowling, Health Ledger and Kurt Cobain also struggled with various mental illnesses. With so many struggling, where is the public interest on this issue? Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for young people, between the ages of 15-24 (NAMI). Enough people have died to demonstrate that this is a deadly issue.

Mental illnesses have a tremendous impact on our society and our economy but very little is being done to stop this issue. With suicide killing roughly 40,000 people a year, the money raised for suicide awareness averages around $3.2 million. (CDC). Compared to Breast cancer, which kills roughly 41,000 people where as they raise about $257.85 million. We need to increase our investment in mental health significantly and we need to do it now. In 6 years depression will be the leading debilitating disease for women and children. Raising awareness about mental illnesses through education advocacy can set back this growing concern. Research shows the cost for mental illness prevention is greatly less than the cost of mental health treatment. Mental illnesses have cost the US economy roughly $148 Billion for all mental disorders (15). We have the ability to stop this issue by speaking up and talking about it, so let’s talk.

All mental illnesses, even the most severe cases, can be effectively treated. The earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is. Most people diagnosed will experience relief after getting help. Folks with a mental illness report that a combination of treatments, services, and supports works best to support their recovery (NAMI.com). Treatments for medical illnesses
include medications, support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and meeting with mental health professionals on a weekly/monthly basis. Medication is not an exact science, it can take weeks or even months to find the right medication/medications. Mental illnesses effect everyone differently therefore the approach for treatment can be different. Without treatment the consequences of mental illnesses are staggering. Unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide can occur without proper help. Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders are known to overlap with drug or alcohol addiction (dualdiagnosis.org). Stopping the issue before it gets to that point is essential to reduce the risk of further issues.

Having a support group can help with the success of the mentally ill’s recovery. Some feel as though they cannot help their family member or friend who is struggling with a mental illness but that is inaccurate. Family and friends can be important influences to help someone, with both the treatment and services they need. Family and friends can be the ones to reach out and know that they are not alone. Family and friends can help them access mental health services and treatment. Family and friends can help learn and share the facts about mental health. Family and friends can most importantly refuse to define them by their diagnosis, or using the terms such as “crazy”. Friends and family play a very important role in the whole recovery process.

Depression is not selfish, anxiety is not rude, schizophrenia is not wrong. Mental illness isn’t self centered any more than a broken leg or the flu is self centered. Mental illness is a problem and its time to open our eyes and make a change. Prevention for mental illness cost us much less than treatment for mental illness. We need to speak up against the norm of this issue.
Our children’s health is in our hands, and we need to stop this. The care and treatment for mental illnesses is evolving to help meet the needs of the mentally ill. Doctors, social workers, and therapists are learning more of how to lead their clients to a successful recovery. Now it’s our time to play our role and advocate for the millions that are struggling on a daily basis.

In conclusion, mental illnesses are on the rise, but there are affirmative actions we can take to slow this problem down. It is a difficult and frightening topic to discuss but 100% necessary. Research shows that there is an extremely high success rate in recovery once you reach out for help. We must all open our eyes to the ones around us and lend a helping hand. The mentally ill are not crazy, insane, or hopeless. I have experienced mental illness first hand, and I can personally tell you they change your life. There are many good positive life lessons I have learned from struggling with depression. Some which are simple and easy to understand such as “ it is what it is”, I was born this way and I deal with the hand I’ve got. Others which are more complicated to understand which is “why me?”, but in the end it all evens out. There is good in the bad and bad in the good, thats how life works.

Sources

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Statistics: Any Disorder Among Adults. From http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYDIS_ADULT.shtml

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.) The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. From http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml

Prevalence numbers were calculated using NIMH percentages (cited) and 2010 Census data. Census data is available at: United States Census Bureau. (revised 2011). “USA [State & County QuickFacts].” From http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

Stuart H (June 2003). “Violence and mental illness: an overview”. World Psychiatry

http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/

http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/mental-health/states/oh.html#.VCq85r4-A6U

WHO-CHOICE (2003). (Page 15) Cost-effectiveness of interventions for reducing the burden of mental disorders: A global analysis (WHO-CHOICE). GPE Discussion Paper (prepared by Chisholm D), Geneva, World Health Organization

NAMI http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness

NAMI- http://www.nami.org/factsheets/mentalillness_factsheet.pdf

I don’t want to follow that with any of my own nonsense, all I want to say is….

Anya, you are amazing, you say I have helped you a lot, but you need to know you have helped me a massive amount with your kind comments, you have confirmed to me that there is a point to me and exboozehound. You will go on to help others, and this essay is just the start for you xx

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

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2 thoughts on “The Unseen, Unheard Deadly Illness”

  1. Good blog. Really interesting facts and figures on the number of people affected and the difference in money raised between breast cancer and mental Heath !!! More is needed

    1. Hi Kev, thanks for your comment, Anya does proper writing with proper research, unlike me…. The figures are shocking and upsetting!!! Mental illness is a very silent killer….

      Keep going

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