Hug a person with mental illness

hug someone with mental illness

Whether you know it or not, everyone comes in contact with mentally ill people. There are 75 million Americans or about 1 in 3 that suffer from a mental illness according to psychcentral. [1]

With all the horrible news about what extremely mental ill people have done lately it’s important to remember all mentally ill people regardless of the outcomes are good people at the core. Unfortunately, their potential as fellow human beings can be overlooked and replaced with fear. These extreme cases are the exception and not the norm but unfortunately they get the most attention.

Fear is incredibly powerful to our psyche. Fear can cripple our thoughts and causes us to avoid what we don’t understand. Mental illness today is very misunderstood. First, the name. It’s an outdated term that seems to only be associated with the worst cases and if you’re mentally ill you’re doomed to a life of craziness and you can’t do anything to change it, just have to deal with it.

Wrong. Mental illness is not a life sentence. This one of the most common misconceptions. Also, there are mild, average, and severe symptoms. There is help including but not limited to talk therapy, medication, and a supportive network of friends and family.

If a mentally ill person has access to the above three forms of help they can and will likely lead a very full and wonderful life. The problem is the is a huge stigma that is stubborn and refuses to go quietly in our society.

Speaking from experience, the biggest barrier for people to get help for mental illness is unsupportive friends and family. This comes from the outdated stigma. Instead of trying to hide it, we must talk openly about it just like any other health condition. Another barrier is the shortage of psychiatrists. We must encourage more people to go into this field so people have better access. Lastly, we must support social safety net programs for the most at risk people for mental illness like the homeless.

I hope after reading this you’ll believe that mental illness is not something to be afraid of. Hug, love, and help support someone with a mental illness today!

About the author:
I also suffer from mental illness with average severity and have the support I need to lead a healthy and full life. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type II), anxiety, and ADHD. I take Celexa for the anxiety and Wellbutrin for bipolar. The medication doesn’t cure me, it helps make my condition manageable. Also, I talk with a therapist twice a month and have a loving and supportive family. Bipolar disorder is very prevalent in my family, so they are so supportive. One thing missing however is support from society. My family encouraged me to get help which made a huge difference. However, I still fear being judged by my mental illness and be treated like less of a person.

Read more about my personal struggle with bipolar disorder: Just another Manic Monday

[1] Source: John M. Grohol, Psy.D, Psychcentral.com

Image credit: Wikihow.com

20 thoughts on “Hug a person with mental illness

  1. This really hit a personal feeling in me. This post is very close to my heart and means a lot, so thank you for this. You’re wonderful. *hug*

  2. Good to see you speaking out on these issues and the unfair stigma that is at times associated with them, hope more people start taking notice of the sorts of things you’ve said in your post.

  3. Wonderful post! I have been “diagnosed” with BP Type II and treat myself with alternative methods to traditional pharmaceuticals; I also went to school to be a counselor and am five credits away from my Bachelor’s degree so I have the ability, knowledge, and desire to treat myself. It isn’t for everyone. I firmly advocate that people treat themselves in the way that is most suitable for them, we are all indviduals even those of us with similar or the same diagnoses.

    I have many thoughts on this subject, some valuable, some not – *smile* – but I’ll save those for a post. But, I will say,, having used the DSM-IV to make diagnoses for class that in many cases a “mental illness” is only a set of symptoms that have been observed by psychologists/psychiatrists in clients and given a “name”, a diagnosis. Often the neurological basis for the symptoms is unknown and without that knowledge we do not know what “mental illness” really is.

    Thank you for speaking up, I agree the 1st task for mental health advocates is to rid society of the stigma and the fear.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m glad you found a treatment that works for you and that’s wonderful you decided to go into that field. You’re right, the diagnosis process shows how far the science has come but still have a long way to go to understand the brain and how mental illness happens. I appreciate your perspective šŸ™‚

  4. Reblogged this on Intentional Unique Happenings and commented:
    Well written short essay on “mental illness” and the stigma associated with being diagnosed with a mental illness. I have much more to say about this but am winding down for the evening so it will have to wait until a later date.

  5. I agree with you heaps.
    The more we try to ignore something the more it’ll just become the elephant in the room. If you can talk about it freely and tell people, “this is what I have and this is how you can help me” then everyone knows and no one is scared, including the one with a mental illness!
    For me peace came when I didn’t try to hide it anymore, most of all to myself, because society made me feel “less.”
    Like you said, it doesn’t make me any less of a person even though it may cause me to loose control from time to time.

  6. Good Morning and may God continue blessing your journey. You are truly a beautiful soul. Just an fyi…there is an organization that Glenn Close started called BC2M (Bring Change to Mind) and it was created because her sister has a mental illness and Glenn wants to address the stigma that goes along with mental illness in the hopes of helping people see that stigma is what harms mental health people more than the actual mental health.
    I was labeled with Borderline Personality Disorder, finally, after 40 years of life. I participated in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy twice a week for a year. I am not “cured” of BPD, I have been taught skills that help me live a full, productive, med~free life. This way is not for everyone. I am grateful. I went from being homeless for 24 years to having my own home and paying my own bills for the last six years. Thank you again for sharing your story…we must keep talking about it. Bless you.

    • Thank you so very much for the heartfelt post and your story is absolutely amazing. You’re right we must keep talking about it until society accepts it as a normal and acceptable health issue to have. I envision a day when being diagnosed mentally will be no different than physically and people will be fully supported in the way physical disorders are now. Nami is also a great organization, I’ll have to check out the one Glenn Close supports. Bless you, we need more like minded people and we will make the world a better place šŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: Just another Manic Monday | Book of Mohs

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  9. Thanks for visiting my new blog, and thanks for speaking up about mental health issues. As someone who spent most of 61 years in anxiety and depression, I can testify that it’s a struggle–and the stigma is real. I don’t have the support system you describe, and can’t tolerate most meds–however, and this is Big, I have Jesus–my Light, Truth, Hope and Love. From what I see here on your blog, you’re doing an excellent job–I’ll keep you in my prayers.

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