Schizophrenia is a malady that can be treated; this is what I read in a newspaper some time ago and until that morning, I had never, ever heard of anyone describing any other serious illness as a malady.
People with mental illnesses have been dehumanized by language, made to feel that their feelings need not be taken into consideration or even made to believe that because they suffer from a brain disorder, they do not have to be treated like the rest of us. In some cases, they are not always provided with proper health care. Worse still, some of the offenders are those who work in the mental health system.
When one of us is diagnosed as suffering from a physical illness, people rally around us. But, when mental health is the problem, so many of us steer clear. Mental illness is still trivialized and happiness and health are portrayed as commodities that can be bought at the corner store. Due to the stigma, consumers, people with a mental illness, are forced to bottle up their feelings or turn to alcohol or drugs. In many cases, they self-medicate with serious repercussions.
A picture is far better than a thousand words, so click on this link and watch a very short clip produced by the British Organization called Bring Change to Mind which explains the stigma of mental illness far better than I can.
People with mental health problems are our neighbors, our co-workers, a person working in a supermarket, members of our congregation or relatives. They are everywhere, all over the world. If we ignore their cries for help, we will continue to participate in the anguish from which those cries for help come. A problem of this magnitude will not go away. And, precisely because it will not disappear, we are compelled to take action.
It is time that we welcomed them into our communities, offered our hand in friendship, and most important of all, we need to banish the stigma associated with people who have a mental illness.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
The people in this clip have experienced paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and heard voices. They have had psychotic episodes and most have been through denial, anger and much later on, reached the stage of acceptance.
Follow the link below and see how these very brave people explain their symptoms so that the rest of us can learn more about s c h i z o p h r e n i a.
I am proud of you all, in awe of your achievements in spite of all the difficulties you have to face daily and I wish you all that you wish yourselves.
San Francisco – The Exploratorium
A lecturer told me that she uses the following technique: when she teaches her students about mental illness, this is what she asks them to do: “Please study the picture of these five teenagers and choose the one you think is suffering from a mental illness.” Not one student in the class was able to pick out a person with a mental illness. Why? Because they look exactly like the rest of us. One in five people suffer from a mental illness during their lifetime. What can be done to help them? I think that the only solution is to break the deafening silence. It is hard for me to understand that the stigma of mental illness is still around even though the year is 2014.
STIGMA is defined as a discrediting trait that can reduce a regular person into a tainted one and this brings me to a question I ask very often. What is normal? Who is normal? Webster gives the following: usual, ordinary, not strange, mentally and physically healthy. Oxford: conforming to a standard, usual, typical, free from mental and physical disorders. Many previously normal people exhibit psychotic symptoms after a few nights without sleep – while the Urban Dictionary states: normal is a word made up by our corrupt society in order to single out and attack those who are different.
While visiting San Francisco recently, I visited an Exhibition on mental illness at the Exploratorium, which is a science center for children (not the ideal spot, I thought) And it was names: The Changing Face of What is Normal. This exhibition asks visitors to put themselves in the shoes of others and to imagine how at one time or another, everyone feels different. Normality is a constantly evolving concept with a surprising range of definitions. The myriad ways we label each other has possible implications. Ultimately, this exhibition prompts us to use the understanding of mental health as a lens to examine the way we perceive ourselves and our relationships with others.
Here are two brains. The one of the left belongs to a patient with schizophrenia, while the one on the right side belongs to a healthy volunteer. Note the differences.
This clip comes from the organization Bring Change 2 Mind from England. It is self-explanatory and worthy of reblogging.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I hope that this four-minute clip will warm your hearts and introduce you to some members of the Bring Change 2 Mind Family. The film captures the powerful connection that these people have with one another, the common story that they share,as well as this uplifting message. I would like to thank them again for being an inspiration.
Please watch it. It takes a few seconds to get to the point!