Mental health has always been a fascinating topic to me. Psychology was one of my favorite subjects in school. Over the years it has affected my life in many ways, simply by watching certain family members and a number of friends having to live with this illness. Sadly, it is still widely ignored as a disease perhaps of the fact that it is misunderstood. Like many things that are misunderstood, people tend to turn a blind eye to it. Hopefully folks will become aware that it is real. Here’s one story. A few weeks ago, a close family member blacked out at work, complaining of heart attack symptoms. He was rushed to the hospital to find out that his heart was fine, but he had suffered a major anxiety attack. Mental illness is not to be taken lightly. Saying it’s “All in your head”, “Snap out of it” and other phrases aimed at someone who’s suffering are pointless. It is a serious disease that can lead to a myriad of other medical problems including heart disease, addiction to many substances, and suicide.
Like any disease, there are various methods of treating, or rather maintaining the symptoms of the various disorders that fall under the category of “Mental Illness”. Here are some books available in the library system that can be very helpful in trying to either help a loved one, friend, or someone who is trying to learn more about this topic.
“Straight Talk About Your Mental Illness” by James Morrison, MD is a great starting place with many ideas, theories and options explored.
“Helping Someone With Mental Illness” by Rosalynn Carter is a book for family members, friends, and caretakers to help them understand the mechanics of mental illness, and is a very helpful guide for anyone who has a loved one suffering.
“An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison is a biography/memoir in which the author recalls her battles with Manic Depression.
Apart from books, the internet is yet another source for all kinds of information. The following websites may be of some help for anyone who is curious and seeking information, to someone who might be very ill.
These are two websites that offer information, links, and other resources for people from all sides – from professionals, to the patient, to friends and family seeking answers.
The key factor in helping someone who is not well is by showing compassion to them. Not knowing what to say is obviously a very common problem, but ignoring the problem will not help. Hopefully this will be of help to someone, and perhaps will save a life.