Coming to terms with your own mental illness is easier said than done. From my perspective the only time that I remember learning about mental health when I was younger was during AP psych class and I was more concerned with which college was coming to speak with me during that class since I was being recruited to play college football. The one day we were learning about mental health in AP psych all I remember was looking at the textbook and seeing a couple sections on depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. That’s all I remember because I was pulled out of that class to speak with a football coach. Until the point where I had my first manic episode I really never thought that I would live with a mental illness.
When I was going through my first manic episode it did not cross my mind at all that I was going through a mental health crisis because I was never really open to the fact that it was a possibility for myself. This made it even harder on myself and my family for me to adapt to my oncoming diagnosis of being bipolar. Since it was so difficult me for me to accept the reality of being bipolar my first mental health crisis was much more difficult than it had to be. I was unable to have an open mind of what was going on in my life at the moment and did not want to listen to any professionals nor take any medication because taking medication at that time made me feel weak and different.
After going through a hospitalization and being diagnosed from a doctor in a Behavioral Hospital For being bipolar disorder it was much easier for me to accept this diagnosis and my mental illness for what it was my reality. Although it was very shocking at the time and very disheartening to go through such a tough process of a diagnosis and a crisis where I was extremely taken back and resistant to the idea of being mentally ill that much easier for me once I accepted that I was a person living with mental illness. As an acceptance grew stronger I realize that I was not alone and that it was very common for people like myself whether it is bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or anything else normal to have a mental illness and live life comfortably with that metal illness.
Now I’m really not sure what would happen if I didn’t fall so hard and then crashed so hard with a mental health crisis and end up into a hospital where the point where I was waking up in reality realizing that something was wrong and it was a mental illness that I was dealing with. I know it’s not as easy for other people to accept their mental illness. I always say that I was fortunate one to have people around me that was accepting to mental health open to it and really educated myself and my loved ones from the time was needed. Others aren’t as fortunate but the best way I can describe mental health is a simple analogy of understanding that it is a common illness that people live with and just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not common. If someone broke their arm you could physically see the pain and you can know exactly what to do to treat for it.
The more we are open to mental health as a society the better off we will be. As we go throughout life we will see people who have broken arms, who have colds or flu‘s and we will see people are going through challenging times with their mental illnesses. It is up to us to accept that is reality so far in the future if anyone is struggling with any type of mental health illness.
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